The only film to come to our little Canadian Village this week was Underworld: Blood Wars, so I went to see it. I’m glad I did. The Underworld series is right in my wheelhouse: I love the supernatural action films, especially when it’s monster-on-monster and the good guys are also monsters. And the theater was packed for this one too, I hadn’t realized the Underworld series had such a following. But turns out writer Cory Goodman had also worked on The Last Witch Hunter (which I loved) so it makes sense this would resonate.
I have to feel for Selene, the main character of the Underworld series. She can’t catch a break. She has to deal with the absence of her daughter and protect her, avoid getting captured and/or killed and then gets roped into saving her people (who previously betrayed her) from a devastating war in the process. I get the feeling every day is a busy day for her. With so many different motivations and conflicts, how would you react to… pretty much anyone, at any time? Well Kate Beckinsale gives us our answer – with cool bad-ass resolve.
Good gracious there was a lot of male skin shown on this film – more even than Gods of Egypt this time last year. Theo James is beautiful, Tobias Menzies (even with scars) was beautiful, Bradly James was beautiful, and they all showed a lot of skin. Oliver Stark was also beautiful, though alas he kept his shirt on. There were also some great performances by Charles Dance and Lara Pulver, who brought to life the intrigue of the vampire court and a real sense of Old World versus New.
Even if you don’t enjoy all the things that I enjoyed, Underworld: Blood Wars is just a joy to watch. The sets were magnificent – I loved the gorgeous vampire stronghold, and there was a castle in the north that was nice as well. Every shot was carefully done. It’s a shame the whole thing took place at night, which limits the color palette to gray-scale and blue (even the blood was black) but what they did with even the limited color range was impressive and gorgeous.
I loved the way the Blood War portrayed actual combat. Technology advances during war time, as does battle tactics, and not every advantage gets rolled out evenly. That’s why, when Vampires and Lycans (who have used only melee weapons for centuries) behaved exactly like actual historical armies when both were introduced to the gun: they just lined up in front of each other and just shot it out. The old world characters found themselves reaching for a sword even when the other team had guns because that was what they were comfortable with and better at. And they were good – the fight scenes were well choreographed and the stunts were excellent.
So is Underworld: Blood Wars worth watching? If you’re a fan of the series, then the answer should be obvious: Yes. Blood Wars reminds me of nothing so much as Terminator Genisys: it’s a capable reboot in the series that still has the capacity to surprise me. Unfortunately my calculator for movie ratings is down at the moment so I have to rate this film manually, but I feel absolutely comfortable giving this 4 stars. It’s a worthy edition to the Underworld line.