Wednesday, January 11, 2017

REVIEW: "Underworld: Blood Wars" is a entry too many for this franchise.

Underworld: Blood Wars Review
Believe it or not, I have a soft spot for the early days of "Underworld." Yes, its a goofy riff on "Romeo and Juliet." We are literally just swapping Montigues and Capulets for werewolves and vampires. The special effects have never, even in the early days, been extraordinary. But Kate Beckinsale was a good lead, and she always helped the audience buy into the absurdities of this world. The stories kept things simple, kept things lively and the early movies were confident in themselves that the people kept going back to the theater to see them. But just as some people think that all television shows should have a 4-5 season limit, I would argue the same needs to be made with movie franchises. This is the fifth movie in the "Underworld" franchise, and at this point, it just feels like they are treading water. They clearly don't care that they are at this point as well.

"Underworld: Blood Wars" begins with over-wrought introduction of all the history of the last films. I guess when you have five films in a franchise, you need time to catch up. I would have supposed that if you are interested at in this franchise, then you know your Underworld history, so I must ask why this little introduction was needed? Anyway, we get caught up, and we learn that Selene (Beckinsale) is wanted by both the vampires and the lycans. However, the vampires are quickly dying out, and the covens need to come together. The lycans are quickly organizing under a new leader Marius (Tobias Menzies) and they are growing in number and staying strong.

Selene is brought before one of the last coven stronghold. Semira (Lara Puvler) betrays Selene to steal her blood, in order to gain her power. Selene is rescued by a Vampire/werewolf hybrid named David (Theo James), who takes her away, where they regroup with different vampires. Selene and David must destroy the vampire traitors as well as the upcoming threat of Marius and his werewolf horde. Yadda, yadda, yadda. It's been the same thing for five movies now. There is some plot revolving around kidnapping a person or stealing some kind special blood that by the fifth movie feels too familiar to matter. That's what happens when a franchise does the same thing for five straight movies, especially with this franchise. I feel like somebody could show me an image from one movie in this franchise at random, and I wouldn't be sure which movie it would be from.

I have seen Theo James in a few things now, and I feel with all my heart that he is just a guy who reads lines off a script. He brings zero personality to his roles. He fails to create a compelling or worthwhile character in movie I have seen him in. Theo James' David is completely unconvincing as a good guy, lacking in charisma or character depth. He is a huge blank all movie long, and he takes me out of the movie. I feel Kate Beckinsale has become Selene at this point and she continues to bestow confidence in her character. Tobias Menzies does exactly what he was asked to do here, but his character is never really that interesting. Oh, and there is some special effect work done on Menzies, where his human face is imprinted on the body of a werewolf. Oh my goodness, you are going to laugh your ass off when you see it. Its so ridiculously goofy that I could hardly believe what I was looking at.

The action scenes of the film are passable. They're fine, just in a war between vampires and werewolves, they aren't remotely interesting. The movie is more involved in the petty, plastic "characters" that we barely see any action at all. It just CGI mobs we are looking at anyway, so why should we be asked to care? 

I am hoping this franchise can be finished now. This one ended with an ending that put a nice finish on the franchise as a whole. So why burden an otherwise fine ending? I'd leave this alone, for good.


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