© Sony Pictures Releasing GmbH

Underworld: Awakening
U.S.A. 2012

Opening 2 Feb 2012

Directed by: Måns Mårlind
Writing credits: Len Wiseman, John Hlavin, J. Michael Straczynski, Allison Burnett, Kevin Grevioux
Principal actors: Kate Beckinsale, Stephen Rea, Michael Ealy, Theo James, India Eisley

This fourth installment of the Underworld series has been a big box office hit in the USA since its release on January 20. It has irresistible elements its cult followers will enjoy. Kate Beckinsale the Vampire Queen is back after sitting out the third episode. In this action horror film humans have finally discovered the existence of both Vampire and Lycan (werewolf) clans, and are determined to purge both species as Vampires and Lycans are hell bent on eradicating each other. All this blood, guts, and gore is brought to you in living 3D.

Kate Beckinsale is stunning as the gorgeous kickass vampire Selene dolled up in her Sunday go-to meeting clothes….a tight black spandex bodysuit and a black leather bustier. A flashback at the beginning of the film shows her and her lover Michael, the first Vampire-Lycan hybrid, being pursued and then blown apart underwater by human law enforcement officers. Fade out…..Twelve years later, a buck-naked Selene is literally thawing out in a smashed-in glass case in an Antigen lab. Luckily her wardrobe has also been preserved nearby, and when she defrosts a bit and slips out of the case she can quickly suit up in her SM Vampire duds. Though she has been kept cryogenically frozen in the lab for more than a decade she regains all of her powers and immediately begins annihilating scores of guards as she escapes from the lab. Selene searches unsuccessfully for her lover Michael throughout the rest of the movie and unexpectedly finds she has given birth to their daughter Eve (India Eisley) during her sojourn packed in ice. She rescues Eve from the powerful Antigen chief Dr. Jacob Lane (Stephen Rea), who plans to use the girl as an unwilling DNA donor; Eve is a living hybrid of yet another new species, Vampire/Vampire-Lycan. The plot is rather irrelevant as Selene, this pistol packing mama, runs, leaps, flips, slides, and rips out throats of Lycans and humans alike. She battles a giant hybrid Lycan, a new breed of werewolf, or was it a hybrid Lycan-King Kong-Godzilla. Was I the only audience member who had to swallow my chuckle of disbelief upon recognizing the probable origin of this gigantic creature? Two other characters are introduced but never given much of a chance, Detective Sebastian (Michael Ealy) as a sympathetic cop and hunky Vampire David (Theo James), as a potential love interest.

For fans of the Underworld series, this movie must be great fun. The 3D certainly enhances all the murder and mayhem. Kate Beckinsale mesmerizes even the most reluctant viewer. If you liked the other Underworld movies, you’ll just love this one. Don’t be sad it was such a short movie, over in just eighty minutes. Episode five must be cryogenically frozen in the script writers’ freezers right now just waiting for a chance to break free. Directors: Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein. (Pat Frickey)

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