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UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING 3D

SYNOPSIS:
When human forces discover the existence of the Vampire and Lycan clans, they launch a war to eradicate both species. The female Vampire warrior Selene (Kate Beckinsale) leads the battle against humankind.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
More creature feature than vampire movie, this fourth edition of Underworld tries to emulate the stylistics of Len Wiseman's 2004 original, with Wiseman leading the writing team. Kate Beckinsale as Selene is as likeable now as she was then, but there is a jarring jumble sale approach to the film, with too many derivatives. As in the financial markets, movie derivatives are fake products that have been bent out of shape in the act of repetition.

Garbled from the start, the story pits humans against the werewolf Lycans and the competing vampires. The humans have declared war on these freaks. But like Seline, they are all bullet proof and generally indestructible. The problem this causes the film's dramatic tension is that she can get shot in the head and the bullet wound heals as we watch. So what's at stake?

We are told that what's at stake is the future survival of the vampires; since the films take their point of view, the humans are cast as the baddies, along with the lycans. This is borne out by one particularly callous metropolitan chase scene in which innocent taxis and other civilian vehicles are mere collateral damage.

The evil scientist character is played by Stephen Rea, who is working on a super-creature more powerful than any hybrid - of which there are still only two, Selene and her boyfriend, who disappears at the beginning of the film.

Rea is surprisingly good in this genre excess, playing it for drama and not trying to be all superior. Charles Dance is less impressive as the ageing lycan leader who is out of touch and weak - but proud.

The violence is bloody and loud; the grotesque lycan creatures morph back and forth, the process effectively captured on screen. These and the hand to hand combat battles are the film's staple, with not too much attention paid to dialogue, character or to telling a powerful story.
First published in the Sun Herald



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING 3D (MA15+)
(US, 2012)

CAST: Kate Beckinsale, Michael Ealy, India Eisley, Charles Dance, Stephen Rea, Theo James, Kris Holden-Ried, Sandrine Holt

PRODUCER: Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg, Len Wiseman, Richard S. Wright

DIRECTOR: Måns Mårlind, Björn Stein

SCRIPT: Len Wiseman, John Hlavin, J. Michael Straczynski, Allison Burnett

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Scott Kevan

EDITOR: Jeff McEvoy

MUSIC: Paul Haslinger

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Claude Pare

RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 26, 2012

UPCOMING EVENT
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre, Parramatta, Sydney.

Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.







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