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‘Underworld: Awakening’ arrived in theaters on January 20 with a quickness that surprised fans. It is the quickness that would spell doom for the hope of the series as this newest installment seemed to drag on and on with inconsistencies. The back-story and development were handled loosely and too much of it seemed improbable.
In the same vein as the recent rash of ‘Resident Evil’ movies, ‘Underworld: Awakening’ seemed to be all flash and no substance, lacking the purpose and drive that the first movie had. There are logic trains that are too easy to exploit, and things in the beginning are explained away too easily.
The rise of Antigen seemed to come out of nowhere, protecting the Lycans and hunting the Vampires. In the first movie, the Vampires already had a foothold in the medical world with secure facilities and a steady supply of blood. Is it possible that the Lycans had been saving up huge amounts of money and support, yes, but if the Vampires were already doing this, there should have been a conflict with the Vampires and Werewolves, even as the humans hunted them down.
2. Antigen Escape
Furthermore, the movie sacrificed plausibility for a surprise, lackluster twist with Antigen being a Lycan-run facility. How was Selene, played by Kate Beckinsale, able to escape at the start if many of the guards were Lycans? If it was necessary to let Selene go in order to find subject two, they could easily have found subject two just as they did later in the movie while attacking the Vampire Coven.
If time was the essential problem and the reason why Selene was released, then how was Selene found in the first place for that Coven Attack? The use of Antigen as a Lycan facility seemed cliché and convenient, rather than surprising and plausibly explained.
3. Michael Corvin
The exclusion of the real Michael Corvin was a disappointment for fans since he was in the first two movies. Hopefully, he will be in the next movie because there is sure to be another film now that we know he escaped and that his daughter can track him. This seems to be both a plot device for another movie and to save face from an actor not really appearing in the film. Neither CG face, nor frost-covered iterations of actor Scott Speedman do the role justice.
4. Vampire and Lycan Discovery
Previously, the Vampires and Lycans were heavily protected and knew how to stay out of the media, so how were both discovered when hundreds of years had previously passed, and they had been able to stay safe? Questions remain about a leak to the human authorities.
It would have made sense for Antigen to have been formed before the purge and for them to have tipped off the human authorities, so that the humans could hunt the Vampires for the Lycans as part of their species war, but then why hurt the other Lycans at all?
There is also a lack of reasoning behind how the human hunters within the ‘Awakening’ film did not find the coven of vampires that remained hidden when others were found quite easily. Regardless of doing sweeps of every home in America, there is reason to believe that many more covens exist and that the Vampires who willingly surrendered were simply law-abiding citizens.
5. Lackluster Combat
There was little combat, and the brief conflicts were inelegant and brutish. A lot of flash and no real substance, combat seemed chunky with poses and quick strikes, but no real form of elegance. Swinging a sword is not the same as dancing with a sword in choreography, just as firing a gun does not equate to Matrix-like gun fights.
Unlike the grace of the first movie, there is little in this movie that can be described as beautiful, besides Kate Beckinsale herself. Yes, a werewolf is lumbering and brutish at times, but even then as a supernatural species, those in perfect health should have been able to fight with some form of grace just as the first movie showed.
In conclusion, while ‘Underworld: Awakening’ was a decent movie, it suffered from a narrow perspective. The beginning of the movie has very few scenes that show the Vampire and Lycan perspective and only show the human media side of the story. There needed to be footage of the other perspective, of the Vampires and Lycans going into hiding and running in the dark of night, rather than the resulting witch hunt that took place.
The movie would have been better served showing the Lycan and Vampire escape, showing the science behind the birth of subject two, and most importantly, showing how Antigen came into being.
For all its good points with creating a wonderfully gritty and post-apocalyptic world where Vampire and Lycan alike hide from humans, there needed to be more to this movie than chasing after subject two. Feeling more like a series reboot than a fourth sequel, the ‘Underworld: Awakening’ crew needs a serious wake-up call if the fifth movie wants any success at all.
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