Movie Trailer Review: Underworld: Blood Wars

Playing major theaters starting in January 2017. Unrated but probably worth a R rating because of all the whining parents out there that don’t want their kids to hear English accents.

Underworld, the movie series that was created so that men could convince their girlfriends that there’s a Twilight-like movie that they can both enjoy is getting one more entry. Sub-titled ‘Blood Wars,’ this movie doesn’t take place in a Red Cross clinic, but instead sees the beautiful heroine/professional phlebotomist Selene fighting to preserve her blood. If this sounds like an interesting plot-device, you’re probably an idiot, because even regular people manage to succeed in keeping blood inside their bodies. Then again, vampires and werewolves aren’t hunting down most people.

In ‘Underworld: Blood Wars’ Selene’s blood, as well as that of her daughter, is an essential element in helping the vampire-baddies defeat the Lykan-baddies (‘Lykan’ is Underworld-speak for ‘werewolves we can trademark’). Whoever wins, we lose, and all that cliché nonsense is also in here too. What left me scratching my head is whether the vampire-baddies are well trained and properly versed in the art of blood transfusions. I mean, I guess there are night schools out there that pretty much cater to teaching vampires a number of useful vocations, but I’m stuck connecting the dots about Dr. Sharpteeth and his medical background. Maybe this essential part of the story will be explained in an extended cut version of the movie.

Kate Beckinsale, now aged 43 years old and still looking as hot as ever in her black leather, is still up to her old tricks as Selene. In order to preserve her $16-million net worth, Beckinsale mimics a number of other action-hero tropes. She pulls a Neo, from the Matrix, in the number of steely-faced slow-motion shootout scenes, there’s a Mission:Impossible II homage with a John Woo styled motorcycle chase and shootout, and of course, a vampire movie just isn’t a vampire movie without some Blade-inspired sword-play.

So ‘Underworld: Blood Wars’ is best described as a movie that takes the wonderful gift of a sexy white woman, complete with revealing outfits and an English accent, (I mean, really what action-heroines sport a thick Texan accent? Outside of my fantasies, of course) wrapped up with a bunch of copy-cat action sequences from more successful, and more interesting movie franchises.

If the movie seems uninspired it may well be because it features far less of that certain Len Wiseman flair. Wiseman, aka Beckinsale’s husband, is the genius who helped with props in such great movies like ‘Men in Black,’ ‘Godzilla,’ ‘Independence Day’ and ‘Stargate.’ In recent years he’s strayed away from the art department and tried his hand at writing directing, which led to the dark and broody Underworld series, along with the dark and broody TV shows Sleepy Hollow and Lucifer (which is actually two separate shows and not a hilarious sit-com about Ichabod Crane and Lucifer). Oh yeah, and he did ‘Live Free or Die Hard,’ which was pretty cool.  but it seems Len is getting bored with the dark and broody theme and is focusing his attention more towards the upcoming ‘Die Hard Year One,’ rather than ‘Blood Wars,’ which looks very much like a repetitive jaunt in the Underworld series.

One particularly confusing part of the trailer is when Selene is asked to trek north, where her true potential as a vampire death-dealer is realized. She emerges as a super-fast, ultra deadly vampire and Lykan slayer, but loses all ability to portray emotion via facial expressions. Or maybe that’s all that Botox that Beckinsale did.

In the end, there’s a lot to like about ‘Blood Wars,’ especially the very limited part about the daughter, which is brought up with little to no explanation or follow through, which is a good thing because parenting is a total bitch. 18 smelly beer burps out of 20.

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