Director: Anna Foerster
Screenwriter: Cory Goodman
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Theo James, Lara Pulver, Charles Dance, Tobias Menzies
Runtime: 91 mins
Genre: Action, Horror
Review by Dave Griffiths
When we all sat down to watch the original Underworld movie way back in 2003, it didn’t seem likely that this was a franchise that would somehow go on to span five movies. Yet here we find ourselves in 2016 sitting down in cinemas to watch Underworld: Blood Wars, the fifth instalment in the adventure and one that has obviously been heavily impacted by what is popular today – television shows like Game Of Thrones and Vikings.
Picking up a little while after the fourth film both the Lycan and Vampire clans are desperate to find Selene (Kate Beckinsale – Pearl Harbor) as they believe she will lead them to her daughter… whose blood has the power to end the war that has raged for thousands of years. The only problem is not even Selene knows where Eve is now.
That doesn’t stop the clans coming for Selene, and the new Lycan leader Marius (Tobias Menzies – Casino Royale) has made sure that the Lycans are now more technologically advanced than ever before and feels that finding Selene would be the ultimate weapon they need to destroy the vampires. This fact isn’t lost on sultry vampire Semira (Lara Pulver – Edge Of Tomorrow) who wants to not only crush the Lycans but lead the vampires herself and Thomas (Charles Dance – Game Of Thrones) who has swallowed his pride and decided that Selene is the only person that can save the vampires now. In a bid to recruit her back to their side he sends his son David (Theo James – Divergent).
Now I really do I have to put a warning out there for everyone. If you’re a fan of the Underworld series or have never seen any of the other films, then there is no way you are ever going to be able to follow what the hell is happening here in this film. Director Anna Foerster (Outlander) and screenwriter Cory Goodman (The Last Witch Hunter) don’t waste any time going into detailed flashbacks to show what has happened in the past – nor should they have because of course, we all saw how that kind of thing ruined the last Resident Evil movie.
In fact, as a team Foerster and Goodman don’t waste any screen time at all. This is one film that certainly doesn’t overstay it’s welcome – they literally get into the story, the battles happen, and they get out… in fact, the ending seems to happen a little too quickly and seems to hint that there will be the sixth instalment in cinemas soon as well. Having said that though you also don’t feel like there is anything missing from the film either. Surprisingly there is a decent amount of characterisation around characters like Semira and Varga (Bradley James – Fast Girls), more than you would normally expect in a film like this. There are also more than enough twists in the screenplay to keep even the hardened Underworld fans happy as well.
Of course what most Underworld fans want to know though is what are the battle and fight scenes like throughout the film, and I have to say they are pretty decent. Working on shows like Outlander means that Foerster knows how to handle the action sequences and she delivers some great one-on-one fights for Kate Beckinsale while the bigger scale battles do feel like you are watching an episode of Game Of Thrones.. enhanced by the fact that Charles Dance is part of the cast as well.
Of course going into Underworld: Blood Wars you aren’t going to be expecting a film of high art, but if you go to the cinema expecting a fairly decent action flick.