Underworld: Blood Wars (2017)

Rating: *
Review Date: 1/7/17
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Theo James, Lara Pulver, Charles Dance

"Underworld" (2003) has yet to generate a decent sequel, and this may be the worst film in the series. Vampire Death Dealer Selene (Kate Beckinsale) is in hiding once again, since everybody wants her dead. A new lycan uprising is in the works, and the key to their victory is the blood of Selene's child, who is hidden so far away that not even Selene knows her whereabouts. In order to prepare for the impending lycan attack, the vampire high council extends an olive branch to Selene to come back and train their inexperienced recruits, which turns out to be a ruse in a convoluted power play. So much for trying to make amends... On the run again, Selene and David (Theo James) head for a remote vampire sanctuary with the lycans hot on their heels. This escalates to an all-out lycan assault on the vampires' main stronghold, and a newly upgraded Selene rushes in to save the day. The film teases the possibility of another sequel, but much like the increasingly ridiculous "Resident Evil" series, it's time for this franchise to call it quits.

It's really sad when not even a leather-clad, gun-toting Kate Beckinsale can save a film from utter disappointment. She looks great (naturally), but stumbles through the film with precious little to do. The majority of the film revolves around Theo James, whose bland character and limp delivery are woefully uninteresting. The film's biggest and most welcomed surprise is Semira (Lara Pulver), a sensual aristocrat who is drop-dead gorgeous and seductively wicked. She radiates sexually sinister energy and brings the entire screen to life whenever she appears. Charles Dance adds a much needed touch of class as an elder vampire who falls victim to Semira's twisted ambitions.

The entire film is underlit and shot through blue filters for a cold and sterile look. Overall, the film looks pretty, but dull. The visual effects are unimpressive, uninteresting, and often times just plain bad. The music is loud, percussive, and instantly forgettable, and the aggressively edited fight scenes are poorly realized. The story is a complete mess of half-baked ideas and nearly all of the dialog is cringe-worthy. The outrageously violent coup de grâce made me laugh out loud, which probably wasn't the desired response. It's not often that a film's incompetence actually makes me angry, but this one did. It's best to just forget this entry altogether and watch the original instead.