Underworld: Awakening (2012)

Mind numbing action that was convoluted with mediocre SFX and casting but redeems itself with fated lovers however lost they were able to open another chapter for a new species to awaken!

Underworld Awakening

Screen Gems and Lakeshore Entertainment in association with Sketch Films present…

The story so far…

Creatures of the night, scarred by hundreds of years of hatred and vengeance had never found its way to redemption! Masquerading endlessly through a conflict where no faction can be seen as a clear victor, the repercussions of a seemingly paradox ripples out from both bloodlines…they say history repeats itself! From Sonja and Lucian to Selene and Michael, lovers who cannot escape fate or was it destiny?

The film makers brought in a new breed of hunters who can definitely run around amidst the feuding clans, humans as they are called seem not to fully understand what they’re up against! A saying goes “don’t bite more what you cannot chew” unlike the latter, their newfound enemies have a different point of view, let’s just say they have a more voracious appetite!

Directed by Marlind and Stein, they were able to shed more light for the franchise to ante-up the level with not just focusing on the love affair of the two main protagonists but keeping audiences happy with fan service intricacies more so with a post-modern society take on this on-going war while dragging a third party with them! Swedish Directors Mans Magnus Marlind and Bjorn Stein (Shelter) has collaborated for the past ten years serving the general public with commercials though shortly timed gives compelling and thought provocative messages with strong brands names like Reebok, Nike, IKEA and UNICEF!

If there is Kate then there is Len Wiseman (Die Hard 4.0) at her side! Only now he’s in the film through Producing, Story Telling and Screenplay assignments! With the help of John Hlavin (Flattered), Allison Burnett (Resurrecting the Champ) and multi-media Writer from comic books, TV series and films J. Michael Straczynski (Changeling). They all pitched in to bring the series into the same platform with the slightly different concept of a chaotic world where vampires and werewolves are not the only creatures in the planet! The plight for extinction is growing thinner for both species hunted down, exposed to the public and thus creating martial law was inevitable!

The action was fast paced you can feel that the story is getting straight away! It was more surreal, direction, lighting and camera angles. To add levity to the environment which was done in an urban landscape, they were able to mix it with CGI and wirework which was definitely obvious but it worked nevertheless! The story’s premise was intentionally violent even for “The Purge” that commenced was absolute, cold and brutal! Bouncing back and forth with the military’s operations, furthermore the news reports does set in the backdrop involving a scientist in a verge of a cure but suddenly the project collapsed!

It was a mixture of “Daybreakers” another vampire flick in 2010 and “Resident Evil” which stars another action heroine in her own right Milla Jovovich! I still enjoyed it in spite of obvious flaws from producing the era’s angst, violence and gore leading the way to rebellion not just for their respective species to continue the fight but more importantly for their survival!

Obviously Scott Speedman who played Michael Corvin was not around for the fourth installment seeing that he has better things to do than run around with the love of his life Selene, leaving her hanging dry but on the contrary she was left cryogenically imprisoned and was freed by a certain “Subject 2”! Speaking of waking up at the wrong side of the bed, Selene thawing from the ice, quickly suits up her leather spandex to do away with her nuisance detractors in just in a wink of an eye! Besides her traditional outfit, Kate Beckinsale (Whiteout) was able to bring in her British attire just to cover up for the cold nights ahead! Lost and alone (sob, curse you Michael!) in a city where she needs to find the answers of how she can stay alive in this “brave new world”!

Actigen, a laboratory that delves into years of research for a vaccine unknowingly to the public it has a more sinister clandestine operations brought forth by Dr. Jacob Lane the Director for Research! Stephen Rea (V for Vendetta) lives a double life, flawed by a tragic history he and his son shares has been conspiring for years that would serve a greater purpose, unfortunately for the humans and vampires if you know what I mean! While “an apple never falls far from its tree”, Kris Holden-Ried (A Broken Life) is the genetically altered monster Quint who gives enormity of ego a juxtaposed simplicity to what he has become!

After more than 20 minutes of backstory, mass cleansing, capture and escape, the mood settled down to contemplate on research from Michael Ealy (Never Die Alone) he portrays the “always looking up” Detective who seemed too serious while the camera pans in to the crime scene and then he answers an incoming radio dispatch with a gallant voice “Detective Sebastian”, I hate it when they introduce characters this way especially for the heroes it’s so cheesy! On the other side of town, once they were a proud race of aristocrats’, they tackle their own concerns with new “visitors” holding the possible key to end this bloodshed (how ironic). India Isley (Headspace) is the 12 year old daughter of Selene, her name is Eve! She serves as the eyes for her Mother in the early scenes to see what’s truly happening around them!

Supporting actors Charles Dance (City and Crimes) and Theo James (The Inbetweeners Movie) is Thomas and David gone in separated paths. Reclused from the outside world, the former mighty coven of the “Death Dealers” humbled and no longer with wealth and power live beneath a Dam like rats in a rotting hole! Thomas’s cowardly demeanor abhors his son while they stand up and fight against a horde of Lycans gate crashing in…

Editing needs a lot of work, even coming from the simple cuts from the fight scenes while transitioning from dialogue as well in another sequence was lazily done! Editor Jeff McEvoy (The Long Kiss Goodnight) needs to assert himself on the given time frame and deadlines being met, the rough cuts were abrupt and unnecessary! It was still commendable enough though not as efficient in using their finances wisely!

They employed stop motion capture for the werewolves to move around the streets and to at least not hamper production over budgeting! I remember these monsters in the fan favorite and classic films of the 80’s “Evil Dead II: Army of Darkness” and “Ghostbusters” as well! To add, I applaud the action sequence director who delivers enough exclusive takes combining slow motion capture while adding on it a very unique delivery!

I really thought that this was going to blow the franchise out of the water; it was alright nothing was absolutely spectacular especially the CGI effects that was mediocre coming from a limited source of Producers. At least they made it happen; they also kept the history intact although a significant better half was missing! Another thing to consider was they evolved it from lovers to a mother and child tandem instead which I like personally since the paramour effect does not “sink in” anymore!

I believe (of course it’s obvious) that there will be a fifth outing in the series, hopefully Kate can still handle the wire work and dish out the quick kills otherwise India is next in line to look at the future whether if its bane or bastion…wake me up until then!

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