Friday, February 10, 2012

REVIEW: Underworld - Awakening (2012)

Well... at least Twilight: Breaking Wind part II won't be the only lousy Vamp/Wolf film this year. But let me start by saying I liked the original Underworld; laughingly bad dialogues and cardboard-cutout characters, but it was awesomely stylish, sexy and had some creative matrix-inspired action pieces. Wasn't funny, wasn't scary, but still very entertaining which is what I'm looking for to unwinde from a long week of 99-percenting it for the man.

Though THAT is the extent of my appreciation for this franchise. The first sequel was a gruelling 90-minute sitting exercise, and the following prequel had nice period costumes. I understand what they were trying to do here -make it not just modern/Gothic but also dystopian/futuristic- but I kind of wish they'd brought back one-hit wonder Kevin Grevioux (the big black dude from the first and third who actually wrote the first movie) to write this one as well; he was on to something there for a minute. Or simply allow Kate Beckinsale's once promising career to die in piece peace and NOT do another sequel.

"..Red hot mama, Velvet charmer, Time's come to pay your dues .."

The story sees Beck's vamp character Selene and her beau Michael trying to get out of dodge when humans learn of the two supernatural races then try to eradicate them. Michael is presumed dead while Selene is caught and kept frozen for over a decade. When she wakes up, she learns that Vampires have cowarded into hiding underground while the Lycans are said to be all but gone (LIES!!!). She'll need to find out why she was being stored in a fridge, why vampire Charles Dance doesn't like her at all,  but more importantly why a Linda Blair clone is calling her mommy. And that, you teenage hormone-freaks waiting for Megaupload to come back so you can download it, is what this film is about.

That franchise isn't meant to dwell into the horror genre so fittingly it ain't remotely scary (aside from, you know, being bad) but it does offer up a healthy dose of gore which some might appreciate while others (moi) will simply find uselessly gratuitious. The pretty much whole movie consists of set-ups to profile elaborate sequences of equally-gratuitous violence and magic gun-play (how DO those guns carry SO much ammunition?) which isn't all that interesting after the first 2 or 3 of those. It mostly limps from one action cue to another without really carrying any point or interest. Luckily, that kind of pace with a 90-something-minutes runtime helps it not fall into the overly boring territory.

Don't know which is the freakiest - her eyes of the fact she needs two guns to hit an 9ft tall rotweiller.

Kate Becksinsale, back after sitting out the prequel, looks just as good as you expect her to, but little more; she's given very little to work with in terms of character development, and this entry forgoes the sexy so she just walks around in her black leather outfit (pointless, put good looking) and shoots at anything that moves a thousand rounds at a time. In her defence, she doesn't look nearly as bored out of her skull as does poor Stephen Rea who once long ago took part in a much -MUCH- better Vampire flick. Michael Ealy and newcomer Theo James do their best with generic support parts, and Charles Dance seems to be quite eager to go back to filming Game of Thrones. Oh, and Scott Speedman's bare chest makes a quick appearance here and there, just like Wes Bentley who gets off'd after his second or third line (why even bother casting him then?!?).

I guess my perception of Underworld: Awakening (who got paid to come up with THAT title? and how much!) comes from high expectations of living up to the first one, though the early-February release date should've been a friggin sign. I don't regret having watched it (it's actually a step up from part II) and it's not the worst way to kill some time on a boring afternoon, but this franchise revival is all but dead on arrival.

Final Word: 4/10

N.B: If you wanna see what Stephen Rea can do with a well-written villain, check out the recent BBC thriller The Shadow Line. Chilling and masterful performance.

No comments:

Post a Comment