Saturday, January 21, 2012

Underworld: Awakening Movie Review |

'Underworld: Awakening' Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello

Directors: Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein (‘Shelter’)

Starring: Kate Beckensale, Theo James (TV’s ‘Downton Abbey’), Michael Ealy (‘Takers’), India Eisley (TV’s ‘The Secret Life of the American Teenager’) and Stephen Rea

Creating a successful horror-action film is never easy, as the director and screenwriter has to perfectly balance an entertaining plot line with entertaining stunts and frightening emotional and physical scares. But filmmaker Len Wiseman did just that when he co-founded the ‘Underworld’ franchise, which focuses on the centuries-old epic battle between Vampires and Lycans. The new fourth installment in the series, ‘Underworld: Awakening,’ sees the return of the first two films’ main star, Wiseman’s wife, Kate Beckensale, who effortlessly embraces the role once again after six years. The actress once again performs unique action sequences while giving an emotional performance as the vampire Selene, which makes up for the second sequel’s surprisingly and unfortunate lack of plot-line.

‘Underworld: Awakening’ picks up six months where its predecessor, the series’ first sequel, ‘Evolution,’ leaves off. Selene is captured by humans, and government officials and the public learn of the Vampire and Lycan species. Humans began a crusade to eradicate both immortal species by wiping out the infections that create them. Selene is separated from Michael (portrayed by Scott Speedman, shown through archived clips from the first two ‘Underworld’ films), her Lycan-Vampire hybrid love, and is imprisoned in cryogenic suspension for 12 years.

After waking up and discovering that both immortal species have been virtually eliminated by humans since she was imprisoned, she manages to escape the facility where she was being held, Antigen. The facility is run by Dr. Jacob Lane (played by Stephen Rea), who claims to be ridding the world of both immortal species. Helped by fellow vampire David (portrayed by Theo James) and Detective Sebastian (played by Michael Ealy), who was once married to a vampire, Selene manages to fight off Dr. Lane, save Eve (portrayed by India Eisley), the hybrid daughter she never knew she had with Michael, and search for her love.

The plot-line in ‘Awakening,’ the second sequel in the franchise, following the 2003 original film, 2006′s ‘Evolution’ and 2009′s prequel, ‘Rise of the Lycans,’ unfortunately fails to live up to its three predecessors. Wiseman, who directed and co-wrote the first two films and produced the prequel, returned to the series to produce and work on the script for the fourth movie. The filmmaker created an in-depth, memorable explanation surrounding the conflict between the Vampires and Lycans in the original trilogy.

The first three ‘Underworld’ films were also effective in the fact that they only used action sequences to build upon the Vampire and Lycans’ hatred for each other, and their determination to kill off the other species to make up for the wrongs their enemies had committed. With the human race discovering the existence of both immortal species in ‘Awakening,’ as well both species wanting to protect Eve from the other, Wiseman had more than enough material to create another detailed, constructive storyline.

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