Underworld: Blood Wars
How many bad films does it take to kill a franchise? Apparently, if they make even minimal profit, they will keep being produced. The Underworld franchise has always been an array of B-movies that have had big financial success in Asia. Their latest installment Underworld: Blood Wars is surprisingly a step up from the other duds in the franchise, although that is not saying much.
Underworld: Blood Wars finds the vampires and werewolves back in their constant war. The new leader of the werewolves (or Lycans as they’re called in the films) is a cunning Marius (Tobias Menzies) who is hunting down Selene (Kate Beckinsdale) who is believed to have information that could end the war.
Surprisingly this film might well be the best in the franchise, mostly due to the villain: Marius. The previous villains of Underworld were all superficial clichés that were wasted on good actors such as Bill Nighy and Michael Sheen. But Tobias Menzies is great as Marius, which is crafted by the creative team by not interfering too much: he’s not given a backstory, minimal emotional motivation, and overall keeping things simple.
Beckinsdale is brought back and proves to be a constant delight as an action star, but it’s the other characters that are a problem. The previous film Awakenings had already had the task of cramming too many new characters to revitalize the franchise, and this film tries to build on that as well; tangling too many subplots that later are scrapped in a few seconds of the finale.
The film is made watchable thanks to some efforts from a new creative crew, but unfortunately it’s not enough to lift this film and its franchise into a level of respectability… yet.