Underworld: Blood Wars Review

Underworld: Blood Wars is a 2017 supernatural action horror film directed by Anna Foerster, starring Kate Beckinsale, Theo James, Lara Pulver, James Faulkner, and Charles Dance.  Serving as the fifth installment in the Underworld franchise the plot follows Selene (Beckinsale) who’s on the run from both the Vampire Coven and the lycans led by the powerful Marius (Menzies).


Positives:

  • Good performances
  • Great cast
  • Interesting story
  • Great characters
  • Good action
  • Great use of make-up effects
  • Great costume designs
  • Good score

Negatives:

  • CGI could be better
  • Flat antagonists
  • Uneventful story

Plot:  One thing that stands out about the plot is that there is a bit more complexity than in previous films.  Selene is on the run from both vampires, who want execute her for killing Viktor and Markus, as well as the lycans who want her blood to find her daughter, Eve.  The story goes at a pretty good pace and the film does come to a satisfying, yet rushed ending.  There are a lot of twists in the story that definitely keep the story engaging though some are pretty predictable and follow the typical Underworld troupe. (3 out of 5)

Characters:  Selene is the main protagonist of the film, and is on the run from both vampires and lycans.  She is tough but the film does open up her vulnerabilities when it comes to the heartache she feels at having lost her love, Michael, and her daughter, Eve.  David (James) is actually getting pretty likable.  True, he isn’t Michael but he does manage to hold his own as a character.  Even with more of his backstory being revealed as well as more interactions with Thomas (Dance) who shows a great deal of depth himself.  Marius (Menzies) is the new Lycan leader and the film’s main antagonist as well as Semira (Pulver), the film’s secondary antagonist.  Marius and Semira are good antagonist, both with personality, yet they are both cliches of the typical Underworld villains.  There’s little to no motivation revealed for either characters actions which makes them incredibly flat characters. Alexia (Head) is one of those characters that could’ve played a bigger, more important role.  Definitely had potential.  (3 out of 5)

Cast:  Great job by Kate Beckinsale.  She does a great job of giving Selene more emotional depth while keeping her strong.  Theo James does a pretty good job and does a work well with Beckinsale.  Charles Dance is really good and actually is able to contribute more to the story.  Tobias Menzies and Lara Pulver are great and give the antagonists a lot of personality. Other good performances include James Faulkner, Bradley James, Clementine Nicholson, Peter Andersson, and Daisy Head. (4 out of 5).

Visuals:  This is a visually good looking film.  Maintains the traditional Underworld Gothic theme that reinforces the dark tone.  The costume designs look really good more specifically the vampire clothing, a mixture of medieval lore as well as modern fashion.  The Lycan designs look cool although some of the CGI could’ve been either handled better or exchanged for more practical.  The vampire make-up effects look really good. (3 out of 5)

Score:  The music is pretty good and definitely gives the film a lot of edge.  Michael Wandmacher definitely deserves a thumbs up for a good job.  (3 out of 5)

The Writing:  The writing is good but there are some things that could’ve been handled a bit better.  When it comes to exposition on the bureaucracy concerning the Vampire Coven the film does a really good job. Semira and Marius are good antagonists but they are poorly written in terms of character and motivation.  The action sequences are pretty decent but they don’t feel intense.  Anna Foerster does a good job with the directing just not a great job.  The film lacks intensity, it lacks scale, it lacks high stakes.  There is some pretty good action, and some of the shots make it look great. (3 out of 5)


The Verdict: In the end, Underworld: Blood Wars is a good film just not a great one.  True, the mixtures of the blood and vampire lore is better emphasized however the film does lack intensity, the main antagonists are completely flat, the story is interesting yet uneventful, and some of the visuals could’ve been better.  The film does have great performances by Beckinsale, Menzies, Dance and Pulver, an interesting story, good visuals, good characters, good action, and a good score.  Underworld: Blood Wars gets 3 out of 5.

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