Underworld Blood Wars review: Kate Beckinsale returns for the fifth film in the popular franchise, but is there still a thirst for this vampire/ werewolf action-horror feast?
Read our full Underworld Blood Wars review below.
Kate Beckinsale returns for the latest in the long-running and extremely popular horror-action series, the fifth (!) in the series, Underworld Blood Wars, a film that quite literally does everything that it says on the tin – bloody violence and stylised action drenched in moody, moonlit-blue hues.
This time around, Kate Beckinsale‘s death dealer Selene, once again finds herself caught in the middle of the continuing war between the vampire and the Lycans. After banishing her daughter to the unknown to protect her, Selene is enticed back to the vampire clan to train a future army of blood-suckers. There, things aren’t exactly what they first seem, and she immediately runs into the mysterious Semira (Lara Pulver) and her young lover Varga (Bradley James). With a pack of the Lycan wolves on her tail, led by the vicious Marius (Tobias Menzies), who is intent on tracking down her powerful daughter, Selene must question who to trust and put to bed this epic feud once and for all, even if it calls for her to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Along with the similarly-themed Resident Evil series, the Underworld series is one of Sony’s most enduring modern franchises, and has somehow managed to retain a key audience demographic, and more importantly, bag up millions of dollars at the global box-office (over the various films it has amassed a staggering $500 million-plus). Underworld Blood Wars kicks off with a very brief montage of footage that attempts to recap some of the key information from the last few films, particularly the history of Selene and her daughter, a key element to this film. Sadly, it is not quite enough to retain new audiences to this loud, extremely violent effort as the story relies on previously-told plot points a little too heavily.
After five films, it feels like every bit of blood has now been drained from this franchise. It’s severely over-cooked, and despite the relentless action sequences, most of which offer nothing news, this film feels about twice as long as it actually is. Saying that, ‘Blood Wars’ is firmly targeted to the fans who contributed to that half a billion or so box-office dollars, and rightly so. It is one of those films were those coming into it will know what to expect. It’s a loud, action-packed, bloody, violent affair with vampires and werewolves blowing the crap out of one another all of the way through, all set against gothic backdrops in what appears to be Eastern Europe. So, exactly like the other films in the series – but if the formula works, why change it?
Beckinsale looks largely bored in her lead role, as does Theo James, but with the presence of the hammy musings from the ever reliable Charles Dance, and a vampy turn from Lara Pulver’s dominatrix-like cradle-snatcher Semira, things become slightly more interesting.
Overall though, this is a paint-by-numbers action sequel that feels nothing more than a cash-in, but hardened fans may still might have a taste for its offerings, and will probably not be let down by it all. But let’s call this the last one though, eh?
Underworld Blood Wars review by Paul Heath, January 2017.
Underworld Blood Wars is released across the UK from Friday 13th January 2017.