Zombos Says: Fair
Too Loud, with murkiness obliterating screen detail, with laughable post-production 3D, with lazy art direction, Underworld: Awakening is a disappointing sequel to Underworld: Evolution.
Kate Beckinsale's Selene is on autopilot as she evades humans and lycans, kills humans and lycans, and evades them some more. In a script rework off of Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Selene is put on ice, experimented on, thawed out, and royally pissed because David (Theo James) is missing in action. Replace clones with one offspring named Eve (India Eisley)--no, really, she's named Eve-- and add nefarious Andigen Corp run by evil, and near comatose, Dr. Jacob Lane (Stephen Rea) hatching a dark plan just as nefarious as Resident Evil's Umbrella Corp, then see Selene run, kick high, land gracefully, and run some more. With her seemingly inexhaustible automatic handguns firing away at everything in motion, I began to wonder just how stupid those lycans were as they jumped, howling in rage, into her hail of bullets again and again.
Lost in this iteration of the Underworld series is just that, the gothically moody underworld. Much of the action takes place above ground at Andigen, or on the dark city streets, where lycans chase Selene, car-hopping their way closer and closer to her van, close enough so she can shoot their brains out. Again.
While she's not pointing those handguns--now they spit out a gazillion bullets per second--she's pouting, waiting for the story to catch up with her. The open montage--two actually--at the beginning, rushes the backstory to bring us up to speed, then rushes us by the pre-story, where Andigen and Dr. Lane purge the world of vampires and lycans. Or are they?
Directors Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein must have watched too many video games, trying to emulate their exhiliration by steam-rolling the opener and much of the movie with monster-fighting-monster scenes. Had they actually played those games, then maybe we'd get more drama and suspense in the breathing spaces between all that huffing and puffing. Too many directors and too many writers (more than a handful) add up to a rote actioner that never forgets its CGI. Huge lycan towering over Selene? Its here. Two-fisted gun fire to blow out the bottom of a descending elevator? It's here. Thin Selina piroueting and gliding in tight leather, looking sleak and sexy as she deals death and destruction in rapid motion to screeching music and loud booms? It's here.
Selene's discovery of a vampire coven provides the only visually interesting moment when a call to action brings the immense, wrought iron, candle-dripped candelabra down from the ceiling to retrieve their weapons cached within. This moment of gothic surprise is brief, and not even the coven lair's dripping stonework sustains enough fashion sense reminiscent of the earlier Underworld movies.
Given the vapid approach taken with Underworld: Awakening, I recommend they slap Twilight and Underworld together with a cat fight between Selene and Bella, otherwise this series is kaput.