Thursday Night Movie Club
Underworld: Awakening
star rating graphicstar rating graphic
Release Date: 20 January 2012

Directors: Måns Mårlind, Björn Stein
Kate Beckinsale
Stephen Rea
Michael Ealy
Theo James
India Eisley
Sandrine Holt
Charles Dance
Kris Holden-Ried
Jacob Blair
Adam Greydon Reid
Catlin Adams
Dr. Jacob Lane
Detective Sebastian
Officer Kolb
Med Tech #1
Underworld: Awakening movie poster #1 Underworld: Awakening movie poster #2
A new day has dawned in the Underworld. A lot has changed in the 10 years since Selene last walked the night air. The existence of Vampires and Lycans has finally been uncovered by the human population. After all of the public violence from parts 1 and 2, this was inevitable.

Vampiress Selene and lover Lycan Michael have been captured by the authorities and placed in cryogenic freeze for future study in the war. Vampires and Lycans have been reduced to mere fractions of what they once were. But, each has survived. The Vampires are a bit healthier while the Lycans have been starved into decrepit, ravaging monsters.

Selene is suddenly awoken into this new world. She quickly dons her "super hero" costume and the fight is on. Before long, Selene is clad in her full leather, skin-tight garb, guns at her hips, and long, black trench coat. It's amazing what you can find laying around a research facility.

After blasting her way to freedom, Selene is faced with more questions than answers. What happened to her? Where is her lover Micheal? What happened to him? Why are the police being secretive after an obvious confrontation between Selene and the remnants of the Lycans? Who and what is the young girl Selene takes away from the research facility to protect?

With all of these questions and others to be answered, what has gone wrong with the Underworld franchise? Underworld: Awakening has the right elements for an interesting, captivating film. Instead, the screenwriters borrowed a quote from Neo (The Matrix), "I need guns. Lots of guns." Underworld Awakening is just an excuse for extravagant fight, chase and mayhem scenes. Vampires vs. Lycans vs. Humans and the cross-breed young girl conceived by Selene with Michael as the father. All this and the screenwriters couldn't come up with a better script. The story, in brief, is excellent. When the script was fleshed out, the result was more "flushed" out.

There are two major plot twists in the film. One involves the mysterious genetic research facility and the other revolves around Detective Sebastian. Sorry, no spoilers here.

Underworld: Awakening is a short movie. One can't help but wonder whether a good 30 pages of plot development were deleted due to budget constraints. The movie steams straight ahead with no deviation. Selene's answers come fast and furious. She basically says "hi", has a few confrontations, and then people tell her what she missed in the past 10 years. Here is the basic plot structure: Bang - Bang - Bang - Talk - Repeat.

On the topic of "repeat", the franchise is getting repetitive. The plot seems more interested in where to put Selene so that she can use her two guns to shoot an escape route in a wall or floor or elevator or whatever. Not to be missed is Selene leaping and spinning in the air, flying over her adversaries, landing and firing away with her weapons. Yes, these are both in this film also.

Of course, as anyone who has seen the first two installments in the franchise, Underworld: Awakening ends with the obligatory setup for the sequel. As long as the producers put Kate Beckinsale in skin-tight leather, there will be a large market for more. Better would be a good place to start.