Movie Review: Underworld: Blood Wars (2017)

The fifth entry in the vampire vs werewolf horror-action franchise, Underworld: Blood Wars once again stars Kate Beckinsale as the perennially pouting death dealer Selene. Theo James reprises as vampire/werewolf hybrid David, and Lara Pulver (Sherlock‘s Irene Adler) joins as vampire leader Semira, with Bradley James (Lowell from season 1 of iZombie) as her toughest warrior. Tobias Menzies rounds out the core cast as Marius, the leader of the Lycans, searching for Selene’s daughter from the previous film in order to create an army of vampire/werewolf hybrids. The film is directed by Anna Foerster in her feature film debut.

+ Kate Beckinsale is the same sultry, dangerous Selene. Tight leather, long cape, guns and swords etc. It’s the same as ever, but in this case that’s not a bad thing. Pulver is a highlight as the ambitious and viscous vampire leader Semira; all of the cast seem to enjoy their roles, with none of them taking things too seriously
+ Charles Dance (Game of Thrones‘ Tywin Lannister) again adds some much needed class, following his appearance in the previous film. The series really does miss Bill Nighy in this similar sort of role
+ there are some nice twists and turns in the plot to keep things interesting, although it does sometimes mean throwing out lots of build up from earlier scenes

– I personally thought the fourth film was unnecessary, but it looks like a masterpiece compared to this. The loosest plot, thrown away for twists (as interesting as they are) seem to be nothing but checkpoints to start action sequences. The new additions to the lore of the Vampire/Lycan war are unwanted and only have a negative effect
– so much of the plot seems to only slightly mention the previous movie, with Selene’s daughter, Eve, used as little more than a mcguffin to keep characters moving. I don’t even know if she appeared in the movie
– despite the actors knowing it is a silly sort of movie, and the previous movies all being just on the right side of serious/camp, it seems like no-one told director Foerster that these are not super serious movies. “No fun allowed” might as well be the tagline, even when various creatures are exploding in blood or having various limbs and/or heads cut off

Should you see this film: In many ways, this was much the same as oft-compared Resident Evil series’ sequel I have recently reviewed. But where the Resident Evil series has begun to rot like the corpses it portrays, but shambles on regardless, this one had none of the bite that vampires are known for, and not much werewolf bark either. Don’t bother seeing this.

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