Friday, January 13, 2017

Movie Review: Underworld: Blood Wars

The culmination of the Underworld series so far feels like just another episode and though there is really nothing new despite the insistence that there is by the characters, it is still an enjoyable ride for loyal fans. I happen to have a strong affection for R-rated genre action films so I'm willing to except some major flaws and still have a decent time at the theaters. One aspect of the Underworld films that has increased through the series is the length as each film feels shorter though I don't know the actual run time for each movie. This film felt extra short.

Selene (Kate Beckinsale) returns as a renegade chased by both vampires and lycans. With the help of David (Theo James), Selene escapes from the wolves that hunt her. The lycans rallied from the events of the previous films with a new leader, Marius (Tobias Menzies). Menzies has been fun to watch lately especially in his role in Outlander as Black Jack Randall. He's got the vicious villain look down and brings that to this short film.

David's father Thomas (Charles Dance) bargains with a new coven to forgive Selene for killing an elder in the original. Dance is a great actor to watch as well and he makes the politics backstabbing and dealings of the vampires that much more enjoyable, though that is still the dullest part of these films. The coven's leader Semira (Lara Pulver) has her own plan for Selene and her ambition leads her to drastic measures. 

The movie strives to have an epic feel despite a budget halved from the previous film and a brief runtime that makes for a rushed narrative. The director Anna Foerster, who has worked on Outlander as well, makes the most she can out of the wars in the title with several battles that pit the powerful vampires and lycans but still makes room for the primary characters.

Blood Wars does not look to be the end of this series about immortals and could even continue on without Kate Beckinsale if they can't convince her to return. This movie setup several stories that could follow into spinoffs of other characters. The films followed the formula and stray too far from the establish norm of these films. Plenty of threads were left untied and could easily fill out more story in the future. 

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