Underworld: Blood Wars Review

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Vampire warrior Selene (Kate Beckinsale) is still caught up in a war between bloodsucking factions and a pack of werewolves. She also agonises about her missing daughter Eve.

★★★★

Unlike the regularly-scheduled Resident Evil saga, the Underworld series has slowed – an unwieldly ‘Previously’ montage is required to get the muddle of plot dropped five years ago in Underworld: Awakening started again for this fifth entry. Kate Beckinsale follows up her personal triumph in Love And Friendship by getting back into the spray-on britches and a corset which can’t be as tight as the contract which binds her to this franchise. She traipses between monster factions who plot gloomily in Czech castles, caves and railway yards. Selene’s character growth includes a trip to the afterlife which grants her a new hairdo.

Tragically bereft of the pulp verve this nonsense needs to be tolerable.

Charles Dance (wishy-washy Dracula stand-in), Tobias Menzies (werewolf terrorist with Giant-Man powers) and Lara Pulver (Disney villainess vamp with a leather and lace wardrobe) recite unspeakable exposition, giving the impression that a BBC quality drama cast are trying to work out the rules of a poorly-translated fantasy role-playing game. With dire scripting from who-the-hell-hired-them-again Cory Goodman (The Last Witch Hunter) and Kyle Ward (Machete Kills) and ponderous direction from cinematographer Anna Foerster, Blood Wars is tragically bereft of the pulp verve this nonsense needs to be tolerable. Given the slightest chance to have fun, this cast ought to be able to deliver at least entertaining tosh – but everyone has been told just to get it over with and tread water till Underworld Six.

Action is repetitive and CGI heavy – with monsters hacking and shooting each other at close range to little effect. A supposed master plan by a fearsome werewolf force to assault a fortified vampire stronghold involves driving three vans into a courtyard.

The weakest entry in a generally mediocre franchise.