Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Underworld: Blood Wars

Out now on blu-ray is the presumably final film in the Underworld franchise starring Kate Beckinsale and your man from game of thrones. After her daughter has voluntarily gone missing, Selene (Beckinsale) has been hunted as the blood of her daughter holds a secret strength allowing lycans and vampires alike to gain strengths and benefits the world has never seen. No real reason is given for this, it’s just the way it is damn it. Due to an impending titular war she gets welcomed back into her original coven from whence she came and was previously banished from, having decimated the face of an elder vampire. She is entrusted with the training of all the young vampiric people to deal death to all the lycan people, as she is a death dealer; she deals death… It isn’t unusual for a film to inject a bit of telegraphed conflict at this point and I wasn’t surprised to find that exact thing happen.

What did surprise me is that the film was written in a way that every decision that was made seemed perfectly reasonable. I can’t think of a single moment where it seemed oddly convenient for the plot to move ahead, though the reasons were sometimes a little vague. The conflict in question is that Selene ends up being framed for the murder of a lot of people, as part of a plot to get her blood and to find her daughter, cos the bad guys want her blood for finger painting or something. 

I was surprised to find my video review counterpart on the CEX youtube channel was so wholeheartedly disgusted by the quality of this movie, as I thought it was incredibly well paced.  Sure it covered a lot of the ‘vampire vs werewolves’ generic plot points, but I think it was impressively watchable.  The first film didn’t pretend it wasn’t a Vampire version of the Matrix, and this one doesn’t pretend it isn’t a Vampire version of Game of Thrones. Despite constantly wearing their influences on their tight leathery sleeves, the film surprisingly still found time to have some incredibly fun action sequences, really gruesome in a video game way that made me very happy and sweary.

The lack of imagination in the plot could let it down, and it certainly isn’t winning an oscar for depth despite side stepping a lot of easy bad writing mistakes.  The pace is so incredible in the film, it doesn’t fuck about with melodrama, which sometimes left me feeling that characters were getting over traumas maybe a bit too easily.  While every second of the film had a moment that would’ve left me sitting in a dark room listening to Mad World for a few hours on repeat, the characters shrugged off the death of their recent family and friends with less irritation than you would with a friend that dropped a biscuit on your rug. 

Overall the film reached a point where it felt like Nathan Drake, Ciri and a less strong but still fun Daenerys had a big old lovely massacre to cheer themselves up after being at the wrong end of a forced blood transfusion and massacre of their own.


David Roberts

Underworld: Blood Wars at CeX

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