There’s something incredibly entertaining about the action film genre.
The main points are all there: you have the kick-ass protagonist, the explosions, the final showdown, so on and so forth. What people, especially critics, seem to disregard about the action movie is that it’s an action movie. I know, how simplistic! Really though, Underworld: Blood Wars may not shake up the genre, but I don’t know what you’re expecting from it if you’re going in with more of a mentality then ‘vampire fighting lycan, lycan punchy kicky back.’
With that rant out of the way, I’ll say this much: Underworld: Blood Wars is a decent action flick, but it certainly doesn’t turn the series on its head. No, I still hold Underworld: Evolution as the film that wears that particular title if only because I’m slightly mad. Blood Wars is still good on its own merits, however. If you’re a fan of the series, you’ll certainly enjoy what it has to offer. Flushing out the backstory of vampire elder Amelia and continuing to prove that Kate Beckinsale does what she does best – kick ass. That being said, I actually found Kate Beckinsale’s Selene more intriguing in Blood Wars than in any of the other films. Perhaps it was because her character had a lack of focus instead of being centre stage that made her more endearing. Strange to be sure, but it definitely felt like Selene was just that much more vulnerable in this film.
Unfortunately, other than Kate Beckinsale, there isn’t a whole lot to be talked about in the way of performances. The one that stuck out the most to me was Lara Pulver as Semira. The level of villainy that Lara displayed on screen was quite enjoyable to watch and was pulled off seamlessly from start to finish. In fact, Semira could have easily been the film’s primary antagonist instead of Marius, the Lycan’s new leader (portrayed by Tobias Menzies.) To be fair, though, I can definitely understand the idea of going with a villain whose main trait is brute strength. Therefore, you actually have somebody who can pose a threat to Beckinsale’s Selene. Yes, while all this is well and good, a sinister and seductive villainess like Semira would have been very interesting to see go up against Selene in a battle of wits. This is wasted, however, as, near the conclusion of the film, brawn is eventually beaten with…more brawn? Wishing not to spoil the ending, the final fight in Blood Wars finishes with what I can only describe as a Mortal Kombat fatality.
Enough about the performances, though; how about the film itself? Well truthfully, there were more times then not that I found myself falling out of the film. The major one taking place during a particularly comedic scene where, and I swear this is true, Marius and Selene communicate through grunts…come again? One could chalk this up to performances, but I choose to fault the script for this mishap. Another moment worth mentioning was when Marius and David (played by Theo James) begin shooting at each other point blank, neither being affected by the gunfire, after which they both proceed to toss their guns aside and roar at each other. I don’t know who on Earth thought this was a good idea, but they’re making more than I am, so what do I know about film?
To move away from poor script writing and unintentionally funny moments, visually, Blood Wars is an incredibly appealing film. I’ve personally always loved the Underworld series’ use of color and effects, and this latest installment continues that success in all the right ways. Stunts and choreography are also used to great effect, which should come as no surprise to fans of the older films.
All in all, Underworld: Blood Wars may not hit all the right notes, but it does a service to fans by continuing to explore the world that is Underworld: a decent action film that chooses spectacle over story, Blood Wars does what it sets out to do and does it just well enough. Take it or leave it, it’s here to stay.