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Kate Beckinsale is back and she’s backier than ever in “Underworld: Awakening”, the fourth entry in the horror/action franchise, but only the third one with Beckinsale in the lead. As you’ll recall, the lovely Miss Kate decided to take a flyer on the third film and was replaced (of sorts) by Rhona Mitra. (Same accent, pretty enough, and she even looked a bit like Kate Beckinsale, but not Kate Beckinsale.) Find out what vampire warrior Selene has been up to in “Awakening”, which arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on 5/8 courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING brings a stunning new dimension to the epic battle between Vampires and Lycans, as the first film in the franchise to shoot in 3D. This time, vampire warrioress Selene (Beckinsale) escapes imprisonment to find herself in a world where humans have discovered the existence of both Vampire and Lycan clans, and are conducting an all-out war to eradicate both immortal species.
Let’s face it, the “Underworld” franchise has always been about pleasing the genre base. It’s got it all — action, horror, and Kate Beckinsale in skintight movie pleather. “Awakening” fulfills all those three elements, and then some.
Beckinsale returns as Selene, last seen fleeing from her vampire brood and some tough werewolf types after falling in love with a human. Since the events of the first two movies, the human race has uncovered the existence of vampires and werewolves, leading to an extermination of sorts of the two species. The vamps now exist in small, huddled covens underground, while the werewolves, we’re told, are all but extinct. (Though not really.) Some vampires want to fight back, but for the most part they’re content to hide away from human eyes, even if it means, literally, going underground to do it.
Selene wakes up, sans her human/werewolf hybrid lover Michael, to discover a radically changed world. Discovering that she’s been the lab rat for one of those evil pharmaceutical companies for the last decade or so, Selene promptly escapes, but soon realizes she wasn’t the only one to break free from her prison that night. A young girl name Eve has also escaped, and unless you’re super duper dense, you will figure it out pretty fast that she’s Selene’s daughter. As Selene hunts for her missing baby daddy, the humans close in and the werewolves, supposedly extinct, is in fact still around — and more powerful than ever. It’s a good thing, then, that Selene still remembers how to fight, shoot, slice, and wipe the floors with anyone who points a gun or a claw in her direction.
Here’s all you need to know about “Underworld: Awakening” — if you liked the first three movies, then you’ll love the fourth film. It’s like the “Resident Evil” series in that regard — more of the same, and nothing less — or beyond. So yes, “Awakening” more than delivers if you know what you’re getting into, which is plenty of Kate Beckinsale in pleather, lots of high-flying action, and enough blood splatters to make even gore fiends giddy. The main draw, as it’s always been, is star Kate Beckinsale. Six years removed from the last “Underworld” movie, and Beckinsale doesn’t miss a beat.
“Underworld: Awakening” is due on DVD and Blu-ray, but we only got the DVD for review. The only special feature you’ll find on the standard DVD format is an audio commentary track that features co-directors Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein, along with two producers and an executive producer (who is also the special effects supervisor). I’m not a fan of cramming in too many voices into one audio commentary track, which is what happens here. All five guys are in the same room and they do a pretty good job of not talking over each other, which was a surprise. And it’s pretty easy to tell the directors from the producers — the guys with the accents are the directors. As to which director is which, and which producer is which? Your guess is as good as mine.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen a movie in standard DVD format (nowadays it’s Blu-ray or bust for me), but “Underworld: Awakening’s” DVD disc is decent. I mean, it’s not Blu-ray, but you know, it’s not a bad option if you don’t feel like shelling out the extra bucks.