The fourth movie in the Underworld series proves to be the best in the series yet: a less convoluted plot, more action scenes, a bit of drama, and lots of Kate Beckinsale in skintight leather. And a hot new male protagonist to boot, played by Theo James.
To cut a long story short, this movie is set twelve years after Underworld Evolution, and Selene finds out Michael is dead and that she has a daughter, who is taken captive in the same facility where she had been locked in for twelve years. Much of the movie focuses on her escape, her discovery of one of the remaining vampire covens, and her attempt to rescue her hybrid daughter from the Antigen facility.
If you want a more detailed story, you can read on to the bottom of this post but beware of spoilers!
This movie has a very simple plot and doesn’t require you to think too much. It also doesn’t require you to watch the previous movies, although of course, it would be a plus if you know the back story. I found the 2nd movie a bit too ambitious, trying to be artsy with all its dark lighting cast in blue (think CSI Miami which is filmed using blue filters, except that Evolution is much, much darker and you get the picture), and it felt confused in its storytelling. So I appreciated very much that the 3rd one has a simpler storyline.
Funny thing, the hubby and I almost blurted out at the same as we were exiting the cinema:
Hubby: I was expecting the story to be a bit more complicated.
Me: That movie has a less convoluted plot than its predecessor (referring to Underworld Evolution)
So I guess it depends on your preference (although hubby has never seen the 2nd movie and could not possible compare its convoluted plot to this one).
The movie is quite lacking in memorable dialogues but one of the best lines is from Selene, as a response to her daughter’s reproach on her lack of emotion and being as cold as someone dead (although of course, she IS dead, being a vampire): “My heart is not cold; it’s broken.” I felt a bit teary eyed as she said this, saying that she fell asleep and the next day she finds out twelve years have passed and the man she loves is dead.
Action-wise, this movie is also superior to its predecessors: it’s better choreographed, has more fight scenes, and ultimately gorier than the past movies combined. I couldn’t get over all the blood spatter as Selene fights her way out of Antigen in the beginning, and during her rescue mission at the climax. I couldn’t help but wonder – did she really have to kill all those humans? I know she’s a Death Dealer and all but I used to believe she has a softer side, having been orphaned as a human.
In any case, I must say Kate has not aged a bit. Can you believe it’s been ten years since the first Underworld movie? And she’s still as fit as she was then (though hubby says he can see some wrinkles, ha!). And the only one I can think of who looks just as good, if not better, in skintight leather is Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman (Anne Hathaway had better do a good job in this summer’s Batman flick). And that’s one hell of a compliment.
As for the acting, well, this movie doesn’t require much acting – it just requires its leads to run from one action sequence to another and Kate has perfected the poker-face look of her pop-icon character. I couldn’t make up my mind whether I like Charles Dance’s portrayal of Thomas – the coven leader who cowers from the Lycans. I don’t know if I like his “weak” character or if I would have loved to see some defiance somewhere underneath his cowardly stance. Personally, I just don’t like seeing vampires who are unsure of themselves.
Michael Corvin is largely MIA from this movie and understandably so, as Scott Speedman has not expressed interest in reprising this role. But, hot stars are a requisite of a vampire movie, so Theo James substitutes as David, the son of Thomas. I must say he is better looking vampire than Speedman was as a hybrid.
A bit of trivia: I was a bit curious as to the actress playing Eve, India Eisley – she looked vaguely familiar, and of course, very pretty, so I looked her up a bit and found out she’s the daughter of Oliva Hussey. Now, the name might not sound familiar to most of you but I’m sure you all know Hussey: she played juliet in Franco Zeffirelli’s 1969 film, Romeo and Juliet, arguably the best adaptation of the Shakespeare tale.
|Olivia Hussey as Juliet
This is not the best action movie or vampire flick ever. In fact, it reminded me too much of Milla Jovovich’s B-movies: Resident Evil, Ultraviolet, etc. But, it did keep me awake the entire time and kept me interested, which is more than can be said of Jovovich’s movies. For that, I would recommend that you watch this. And if there’s another movie in the offing, I’d go watch it too.
SPOILER – A SYNOPSIS
Set some twelve years after the events of Underworld Evolution, Selene (Beckinsale) finds herself locked in a glass prison full of cryogenic fluid at the Antigen compound. An unseen person, with whom she appears to share telepathic links with, sets her free, lowering the temperature on her cryogenic prison, allowing her to wake up and break out of the cell. She manages to slaughter most of her captors and flee the compound.
Along the way, we’re treated to flashbacks and back stories of the night she was captured: vampires and lycans have been exposed to humans and the latter have unleashed a hunt to extinguish both races. Selene and Michael Corvin, the first vampire/Lycan hybrid and her lover, plan to leave and hide together but were caught and imprisoned on the night they were about to leave.
After her escape, Selene meets another vampire, David, and finally locates the person whose visions she sees: a vampire child known only as Eve, Subject 2 (Selene is Subject 1 at the Antigen facility). An ambush by a pack of rabid lycans leaves Eve hurt and unable to heal, prompting David to take them to his coven. There, they discover that Eve has no origin bite marks and the reason she doesn’t heal as she should is because she has never taken human blood. David’s coven, particularly his father Thomas, is less than pleased at having Selene, the infamous killer of vampire elders and a traitor to vampires, and Eve in his territory. Selene soon realizes that Eve is in fact her child with Michael when she sees her eyes transform like Michael’s eyes as she was fed blood by an elder vampire.
Thomas’ agitation is aggravated by the immediate assault of lycans to retrieve Eve. David gets killed trying to protect Eve and his father surrenders Eve in an attempt to prevent the total slaughter of his coven while Selene is knocked unconscious by a lycan who is twice the twice of an ordinary lycan and superior strength and healing abilities. Selene manages to revive David by giving his a heart a couple of tugs and sending some of her Corvinus-strengthened blood into his bloodstream.
Finding a human ally in a detective who has watched his vampire wife burned by the sunlight during a house-to-house checking of the government to kill vampires and werewolves, Selene soon also finds out that Lycans have been running the Antigen company and that Eve’s genetic code is being used to make lycans immune to silver and possess instantaneous healing.
Selene then launches a one-woman assault on the facility, discovering Subject 0 – Michael, himself locked in cryogenic fluid like Selene and of course, but short on time, she just shoots through his cell, assuming that he’ll be able to free himself like she did. She manages to kill off the super lycan, who is actually the son of Antigen’s big boss and the product of an experiment, and rescue her daughter with the help of the revived David.
The last scene shows Eve seeing another point of view than that of Selene: a sign that Michael is also alive and free.