“I happen to like vampires more than zombies” – Martin Scorsese
There’s just something about vampires that’s sexy. It’s the same reason why women go for the bad boy – you want them but you shouldn’t have them – Nina Dobrev
The original Underworld opened in theaters more than 13 years ago. The fifth film in the franchise, Underworld: Blood Wars and like the four movies that preceded it, it will be a commercial success. Franchise fans will undoubtedly enjoy the return of “Selene” (Kate Beckinsale) and “David” (Theo James) along with the requisite battle sequences.
The vampires are in danger of being erased from existence by the Lycans. But both groups are searching for Selene because they want to find her daughter, Eve. Because Eve is the child of Selene and “Michael” (Theo James), her blood is being sought by both the vampires and the Lycans. “Marius” (Tobias Menzies) has become the Lycan leader and he is convinced that Eve’s blood would make him invincible.
David is wounded saving Selene from capture by the Lycans and as she is helping him, vampires led by “Alexia” (Daisy Head) arrive with an offer of amnesty. Seems that one of the members of the Council of the Eastern Coven of Vampires, “Semira” (Lara Pulver) wants to bring Selene back into the fold to train new “Death-Dealers.”
But Samira, aided by her right hand “Varga” (Bradley James), betrays Selene. Her real purpose was to take Selene’s blood and drink it, to make her more powerful. David and his father “Thomas” (Charles Dance) rescue Selene and she and David flee to the only remaining sanctuary for vampires, the Vador Coven in the far north.
The Lycans attack Vador and when Marius learns that Selene really doesn’t know where Eve is, they fight and he kills her. Or does he? After this, the Lycans go to the Eastern Coven and launch what they hope will be the final assault.
This movie contains a lot of exposition, mostly in flashback but some in dialogue. It is necessary for anyone who hasn’t seen the first four films in order to attempt to follow the convoluted story. There is betrayal within betrayal and layers of evil, which sounds like it would make a great plot. It doesn’t. Underworld: Blood Wars isn’t a great action flick, it isn’t a great horror flick and it has none of the camp that might have made it more enjoyable for the audience. Kate Beckinsale, a tremendously talented actress, is a kick-ass action star but even her presence doesn’t lift this above the level of barely bargain matinee material. Semira might have had some potential as a campy vampire but she sinks into a miasma of megalomania worthy of a particular president-elect.
Perhaps some great SFX and CGI would have helped, but those aspects of this movie are mediocre compared to other movies of this era. You can’t do a lot with a movie on the visual front when it’s always dark and the majority of the actors are clad in black. The Nordic niceties of Vador are a bit of a diversion and the physicality of the action is impressive.