Underworld: Awakening (2012)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 1/29/12
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, India Eisley, Sandrine Holt

Entertaining and exciting, but utterly ridiculous and completely indistinguishable from a "Resident Evil" (2002) movie. As absurd as it sounds, after avoiding the attention of mankind for centuries, Vampires and Lycans are finally "discovered" and humankind decides to eradicate them all. This sends Selene (stunning Kate Beckinsale) and her biologically hybrid lover Michael into hiding, but she eventually ends up getting captured and taken to a lab where she is placed in cryogenic suspension. Twelve years later, she is awakened and freed by an unknown entity and manages to escape the lab. Her liberator turns out to be Selene's daughter (India Eisley), who she didn't even know existed. The Lycans are VERY interested in this young hybrid girl, and will stop at nothing to get her. But then again, they've never had to deal with Selene before... And so the vast majority of the film boils down to Selene's desperate attempts to protect her child and all of the collateral damage that ensues.

It's a good looking film and the breakneck pacing helps keep your mind off of the complete lack of sense and logic. Kate Beckinsale looks fabulous and handles her action scenes with fluid grace and fierce conviction, but her frosted lipstick is visually distracting and a constant annoyance. The film throws her around A LOT, and the stunt work looks impressively hard hitting. Selene's action scenes feature a lot of loose and sloppy wirework, and while it works for some of the combat scenes, her jumping and landing shots look ridiculous. Her infinite-ammo repeating machine pistols are also ridiculous and caused me to laugh out loud. The car scenes are surprisingly good and I was pleased by the amount of vehicular mayhem and destruction. Related to that, while I know it's convention to wet down streets when you film them, having an indoor parking garage that's completely wet looks absurd. What's the point? For the most part, the Lycans are all computer generated critters, and as such look pretty silly and unconvincing. The amount of graphic gore is a bit unsettling, as well as disgusting. I was actually a bit shocked and repulsed by some of the more gruesome scenes.

But really, the entire point of the film boils down to exactly one thing: Seeing Kate Beckinsale strut around in black leather and vinyl, and raining destruction upon all who get in her way. She is awesome and does not disappoint (apart from the lipstick), and whenever she was onscreen, I was happy. It will be interesting to see how many more ludicrous sequels they'll try to wring out of this franchise.