So, the fifth iteration of the Kate Beckinsale-led, Len Wiseman-conceived film franchise is out, effective yesterday:
Underworld: Blood Wars
Directed by: Anna Foerster
Written by: Cory Goodman
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Theo James, Charles Dance, Lara Pulver, Tobias Menzies
Vampire death dealer, Selene (Kate Beckinsale) fights to end the eternal war between the Lycan clan and the Vampire faction that betrayed her.
That sounds vaguely familiar to fans of the previous four films, doesn’t it?
Always running around, and if each side isn’t trying to exterminate each other, then their trying to find a way to “end the war,” normally through some weird, smearing of the bloodlines together.
Well, now we’re at it again, with one small (or major, depending) difference: Celine (Kate Beckinsale) doesn’t want to be involved.
I wonder if that’s meta, in any way…?
Machiavellian machinations, deceptions, plans, ruses, forbidden love, a heretofore unknown coven resurfacing…
This film has it all.
But we’ve already seen it all before.
Beckinsale’s Celine pouts and whines her way through the movie, pining for the daughter she gave up (she keeps saying she “lost her”), and how she doesn’t want to be involved with the war between the vampires and lycans anymore. It’s almost like Beckinsale didn’t want to be there, either.
Even the most intriguing plot point–the whole “Celine must become more than she already is” (which is more than any vampire or lycan already)–while she’s at the Northern Coven, which is some monastic, pacifistic, spiritually forward coven, whose adherents can basically die, learn a bunch of stuff, and then come back, is glossed over when Celine dies and is presumed dead.
Nothing about what happened to her, what she learned, how she can now move like a ghost….
And the runtime on Blood Wars is only 90 minutes. you couldn’t spare TWO MINUTES to add some pseudo-metaphysical BS to explain that stuff.
We’d believe it, whatever you did.
We’re watching a movie with vampires and werewolves, for Pete’s sake; we’ll believe you. Go ahead and take a shot…
Director Anna Foerster has a history of directing female-centric films and television, having done episodes of Army Wives, Outlander, Madame Secretary, Unforgettable, and now Blood Wars, so you would think that a heroine as strong as Celine would be right in her wheelhouse, so to speak…
But Blood Wars is still little more than a lackluster entry in an otherwise entertaining franchise.
Overall, I’d rank Blood Wars as the fourth or fifth least entertaining of the Underworld, franchise. It’s battling with Evolution for the bottom spot on my list.