Directed by: Mans Marlind, Bjorn Stein
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Stephen Rea
Someone recently said to me “you either get the good Underworld movie or you get Kate Beckinsale”. This of course insinuates that the star of three of the four films has yet to portray the character in a well written, well-made film. She and her husband, creator of the series and writer of some of the scripts Len Wiseman can laugh all the way to the bank at the naysayers because the franchise has obviously made enough bank to continue churning out films.
This film jumps some time into the future where humans are now aware of the existence of vampires and werewolves and they look upon these creatures of the night as carrying a plague that must be eradicated. So our heroes, the vampires now have war on two fronts. Selene (Beckinsale) has been frozen along with her half werewolf, half vampire boyfriend for study by a human scientist seeking a cure to the virus that causes them to be what they are. Circumstances of course unfreeze Salene and she discovers that her boyfriend from the first film has also been unfrozen and that their daughter may hold the key to everything.
From here the film just turns into a jumbled mess of action scenes and poorly executed storytelling. The werewolf characters, who seem to just hate everyone, get no depth or development. They play off more like tools for action scenes than elements of the story that truly matter. The human characters feel like B movie cardboard cutout characters with no soul at all. Sure, this is at its heart just a B movie but this is also the fourth installment to the franchise. Isn’t it time that the filmmakers got this whole formula right? Also, why constantly refer to the Scott Speedman character and show the character in shadow so much if the actor isn’t going to be in the film? Or just go the soap opera route and completely replace the actor and make the character mean something in the story so all of the references don’t feel like wasted time?
Ok so yes Beckinsale is pretty cool as this character and she looks great in the circa 1990 Hot Topik leather but that’s just not enough to carry a film. Also, she carries these huge pistols but her choice in outfits never allows for a place to put them so they always have to just be in her hands. That seems like bad planning to me. Some of the fights are ok and the 3D is also just ok. Basically the Underworld movies have their audience and if you aren’t sold on them by now this installment is definitely not going to be the one that grabs you. Sadly though, if you are a fan you still may find yourself a little disappointed. The 3rd film, sand Beckinsale, remains the best of the franchise. There’s room for this sort of B movie sci-fi/horror hybrid to really do something cool but the Underworld films just aren’t good enough, neither are the Resident Evil films for that matter. We need Robert Rodriguez on this situation stat! That man could deliver us a cool sci-fi vampire movie. Of that I have no doubt!