Underworld: Blood Wars


I may have ranted out this particular lament before, but who the Hell insists on watching the Underworld movies enough to the extent that we keep getting fucking sequels? At least with that other, cartoonish, overly stylised franchise known as Resident Evil, it had a legitimate brand name to entice fans already indoctrinated to withstand its flashy emptiness – all the Underworld movies have ever had is a continuity that vanished deep up it’s own butthole years ago and the sight of Kate Beckinsale in a catsuit.
Still, the powers that be still managed to squeeze yet another installment out into cinemas with all the dignity of a cat relieving itself into its owner’s shoe for reasons I still can’t quite fathom – so let’s gird our loins and make our way through the blank performances and pointlessly complicated backstory in order to finally (hopefully) put the Underworld franchise to rest.


Ex Death Dealer and catsuit wearer extraordinaire (doesn’t she own a single pair of sweatpants or something?) Selene has nothing left after nearly a thousand years of being a vampire. Hunted by both Lycans and vampires for various crimes against both species, her lover, the vamp/Lycan hybrid Michael is still missing and their similarly superpowered daughter, Eve is in hiding lest someone attempt to take advantage of her unique, genetic code, Selene is in a constant fight or flight mindset in order to keep her pain at bay. However, the vampire race is in similar dire straits as the war against the Lycans has the entire species on the ropes as the egotistical, fanged beings aren’t especially great at changing with the times.
However, council member Semira hits upon a novel situation: instead of trying to kill Selene, why not bring her back into the fold an get her to train a whole new batch of Death Dealers in order to aid them in the inevitable war with the Lycans?
Along with David, the forward thinking son of stuffy counsel elder Thomas, Selene returns into the fold but finds out that the whole idea is a tiresome ploy by Semira who aims to both utilize the Death Dealer’s super-blood and gain revenge for the death of Vampire leader Viktor who bit the farm four whole movies ago – wow, I guess vampires really can’t move on.
However, this in-fighting couldn’t be happening at a worse time as a new super powered Lycan leader by the name of Marius is planning on last push to eradicate the uptight blood suckers once and for all. Can Selene – with the help of a hidden, Nordic coven – thwart both Semira’s treachery and the Lycan’s big push while trying to find out what happened to both her lover and her daughter?


Well, let’s get this over with shall we? I feel I’ve been fairly lenient with this entire franchise up until now despite giving the majority of its installments a measly two stars, but it seems my patience has finally run out. I’m not sure exactly what it was about Blood Wars that was the straw that not only broke the camel’s back, but made it crumple like some poorly put together flat-pack furniture; but rest assured that I have a list.
Maybe its because I’m finally sick of emotionless, dreary female action leads who have all the depth of an empty swimming pool during a drought? Maybe it’s the fact that they clumsily attempt to give her a tragic extra dimension by having her annoyingly fawn over her lost family in a voiceover that suspiciously sounds like Beckinsale is being put to sleep by her own inner monologue? It’s also probably because I’m resoundingly bored of the movies desperately trying to keep its risible backstory in order despite some of the major players (Scott Speedman) still being an understandable no-show to the point where it finally kills them off – in a freaking flashback that’s as moving and emotional as a recorded voice message concerning your car insurance. I’m also done with the fact all the Underworld movies look utterly the same with the same blue hue, broken by the same white flashes, set in the same ornate chambers/rain slicked streets/snowy countryside and if you were to show me a photo of a Lycan from any of the five movies, I honestly couldn’t tell you which movie it’s from.


Anna Foerster, in her feature debut, isn’t really given a lot to work with, unable to manuever within an unyielding backstory, hamstrung by its stunningly dated visual style and lumped with a plot that alternates solely between flatly edited action and a sheer metric ton of even flatter exposition. In fact, the only fundamental changes the movie seemingly allows her to make is providing yet another hulking, Lycan villain with an awful gimmick (wouldn’t a werewolf with a human head be a wolfwere?) and mixing up Selene’s signature look by adding a white winter coat to her usual ensemble.
Still, if Blood Wars has any kind of plus point, it’s the first Underworld movie that mercifully has anything close to a definitive ending while keeping any excruciating sequel baiting to a minimum that sees Selene, the overwhelmingly dull David and some Nordic rando take their places as three new elders of the entire vampire race in a surprising display of closure for a franchise that’s usually so one dimensional that if all five movies turned sideways, you wouldn’t be able to see them.


As of writing, we are still yet to see a sixth episode take shape although series co-creator, Len Wiseman threatened another installment back in 2017 with the awful confidence of a man who seems genuinely unaware of how “meh” his franchise truly is, but maybe the unbelievable happened and someone has since paid him a ransom to not make another sequel.
What should have been a franchise with a can’t-miss concept (how do you screw up werewolves vs. vampires multiple times?), Underworld finally seems to have mercifully run its course after nearly 20 years of having next to no effect on popular culture whatsoever after steadfastly putting the “suck” in bloodsucker.


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