Underworld: Awakening (2012)
Main cast: Kate Beckinsale (Selene), Michael Ealy (Detective Sebastian), India Eisley (Eve), Theo James (David), Kris Holden-Ried (Quint Lane), Charles Dance (Thomas), and Stephen Rea (Dr Jacob Lane)
Directors: Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein


Underworld: Awakening is basically a reboot of sorts, since Selene seemed to have found her happy ending with the hideous hybrid creature known as Michael by the end of Underworld: Evolution.

There can't be a happy ending if the sequels are to keep coming, however, so in the six months since we last saw these two, the humans discovered the existence of lycans and vampires, so the whole world unite to eradicate these non-human folks. Selene and Michael tried to flee, but Michael went down thanks to a silver grenade and Selene, in her attempts to rescue him, gets caught as well. That is the prologue.

So, we then cut to twelve years later, when Selene is awaken from her cryogenic suspension to discover herself held in a research facility owned by a company called Antigen. She escapes, bumps the friendly handsome neighborhood vampire David while bumping off lycans in the sewers, and discovers a young girl, Eve, who claims to have broken Selene from her frozen captivity.

Catching up, Selene discovers that Eve is actually her daughter with Michael - created by genetic manipulation, I'd guess, since this movie never explains how Eve came to be about - and the neighborhood vampire coven, led by David's father Thomas, is one of the few left that have been forced to go into hiding. Lycans, thought to be extinct by the humans, are slowing making a reappearance, apparently stronger than ever.

It gets better - the head researcher of Antigen, Dr Jacob Lane, and his allies turn out be lycans who have infiltrated the humans, and they are using Antigen as a cover to create a drug that will make lycans immune to silver while boosting their physical capabilities. Judging from the performance of the test subject, his son Quint, the drug is working - frighteningly well beyond expectations. Quint is a really big werewolf now. These guys need Eve's DNA for the final countdown, however, so now they want to get Eve back in their clutches. But now if Selene has anything to say in the matter!

Selene is now not just a gun-totting acrobat, she has also been taking kung-fu lessons from Resident Evil's Alice as she now jumps up and down while delivering kicks and punches like she's Chun Li and Neo all mixed into one petite package. Looking pretty in the predictable black leather, cloak, and corset ensemble, Selene does the kung-fu and bullets thing with style while pouting and looking all cold and surly because her beloved Michael is MIA. It's quite hilarious how for the most part she doesn't give a damn here about the vampires or the lycans - she just wants Michael back and she'd keep Eve too, thanks, while the world can go hang for all she cares. Given how both species had treated her in the past, I don't blame her.

Underworld: Awakening is a prime example of a movie with paper-thin plot using non-stop action scenes to keep the momentum going. This one is best watched when expectations are kept to minimum, and really now, anyone coming here expecting a work of art really needs to re-examine his outlook in life. However, that doesn't mean this movie is great. Absurdities pile high, and there are so many questions left unanswered. But the action scenes are pretty slick and nifty, and for what it is, this one is pretty entertaining.

It's quite amusing how this movie tries to skirt around Scott Speedman's refusal to show up in this movie as Michael though. He must have seen how ugly the CGI effects made him look in previous movies, heh. The right thing to do here would be to just kill off the character, as Eve is basically his replacement as they both fulfill the same role. But no, these folks have instead a stand-in play Michael and have the poor guy's face morphed to resemble Mr Speedman if I squint a bit. Selene spends the whole movie talking about needing to find Michael, Eve wants to find her father too, but of course, Michael is always one step ahead of them, missing the reunion due to contrived circumstances reminiscent of how they kept mentioning Fox Mulder on The X-Files TV series once David Duchovny quit his role, only to have Dana Scully somehow just missing that guy whenever they are supposed to meet. I guess they need to keep the door open in case Mr Speedman discovers that his pursuit of artistic integrity is not making enough to pay his rent.

At any rate, this one delivers about an hour and a half worth of mind-numbing action scenes, and it does its job competently. So watch this one for exactly just that, and there would be no bruised expectations at the end of the day.

Rating: 72


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