‘Underworld 4’ a Rude Awakening (Movie Review)

I remember a handful of years back when word got out that a third Underworld movie was in production. Then word arrived that series star Kate Beckinsale would not be a part of the film. I, along with many other fans, felt the unfortunate sting. Thankfully, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans was a great-fitting prequel spelling out the history of the werewolf/vampire rivalry. With a trilogy in the books, fans still wanted another movie, but this time with Kate Beckinsale. I give you Underworld: Awakening.

This film is probably my most anticipated of 2012…yes, even more than The Avengers.  The Underworld franchise is easily one of my favorites, although the lack of press screenings for the fourth installment was a bit disconcerting at best.  The concept of the film focuses around humans finally discovering that vampire and werewolf races actually exist which is followed by a genocide of the supernatural species.  Beckinsale resumes her role as the centuries-old vampire Selene who finds herself on the run from a group of well-armed soldiers, whom she quickly and creatively dispatches.  Her heightened abilities (and über sex factor) are highlighted to the Nth degree as she weaves, slides and slashes her way to the man she loves; werewolf-vamp hybrid Michael Corvin.

Corvin is played once again by Scott Speedman and with his character are where my complaints begin.  When we last left the Selene-Michael pairing, they were madly in love and on the run into a future unknown.  The new movie takes on a different direction as Speedman’s character is in the movie for just mere seconds.  He doesn’t even have a line in the film.  Strike one.  Eventually, Selene finds herself awakening (hence the subtitle) from a cryogenic-induced slumber in a labratory.  Her escape ultimately leads to a connection with a young girl who happens to be another vampire-werewolf hybrid.  Along the way, Selene befriends a cop and another vampire as she progresses her search of Michael, the lab that held her, and just who this young girl is.

Sadly, Awakening doesn’t feel like an Underworld movie…at least not all the way through (strike two).  The acting is at times atrocious and the story is consistently hurried (strikes three & four and this inning’s long over).  It is impossible for someone to say they thoroughly enjoyed this movie because there’s not enough quality content to warrant use of the word ‘thorough.’  Plot issues (science builds a better werewolf) and a case of too many cooks in the kitchen (two directors & close to half a dozen writers on the script) equalled to one disappointing film, which ultimately tainted the series.  Is there entertainment value here?  Yes.  Will it make a good rental?  Yes.  Is it worth the price of cinema admission?  Heck no.

The ending is left wide open for a sequel, which I’m all for, despite the empty feel of Awakening.  Here’s a chance for the series to redeem itself if and when a fifth film comes to fruition.  Bring Selene back, bring Michael back (in a greater capacity than just a few growls) and put Len Wiseman back in the director’s chair.  In a nutshell, Underworld 4 is ultimately The Phantom Menace of the franchise.  Here’s hoping for a return to the original feel that made Underworld that wicked film it was.


19 Responses to “‘Underworld 4’ a Rude Awakening (Movie Review)”

  1. Gerard Iribe

    I agree, Gregg. It was atrocious. BTW, Scott Speedman wasn’t in the film. That was an awkward looking CGI/Double.

  2. Brian White

    Alright…here’s the deal. I went not this film with such low expectations from all the critics bashing it that I actually walked out of the theater with a big smile on my face. Sure, it’s not the best of the series (worst IMO) and it feels like a completely different movie from the other 3 (such was the case of boring…yawn…Pirates 4), but it delivered on what I wanted. It gave me a Resident Evil like non-thinking experience of just watching sexy Kate Beckinsale in all her black goodness, kicking a$$ after a$$. I loved it! Will buy on Blu-ray. I think my Underworld movies go in this order of liking: 1, 3, 2, 4.

  3. Gregg

    @Brian, I still didn’t care for it, but I will say my order of preference of these films is exactly the same as yours.
    @Gerard, you’re kidding me. What the hell were these directors thinking?? They should not be allowed to touch this franchise…EVER.

  4. Aaron Neuwirth

    The fact that this was your most anticipated film of the year is the biggest laugh I’ve had this week.

  5. Kori Kemerer

    I have to agree with you on this one Gregg. Like you, I’m a Huge fan of Underworld, but I was very disappointed when I left the theatre.  I was expecting so much more. There were good parts of the movie yes, but overall it did not meet up to my expectations. I really hope they make up for it with #5. 

  6. Gerard Iribe

    Even the worst of RE flicks is better than the 4th entry of Underworld.

  7. Brian White

    Ouch Aaron…LOL

  8. Gregg

    @Aaron, now take that reaction, multiply it by ten and that’s how I felt after reading your Captain America rating.

  9. Brian White


  10. Aaron Neuwirth

    Just to be clear, The Avengers, Dark Knight Rises, Prometheus, and Step Up 4 were nothing to Gregg, compared to “Underworld 4: Yep This Is Still A Franchise”

  11. Gregg

    Aaron talking in extremes and making stuff up.

  12. Aaron Neuwirth

    From this very review: “This film is probably my most anticipated of 2012…yes, even more than The Avengers.”

  13. Gregg

    Good grief, lad. You’re dealing in some distorted absolutes which don’t even apply here. To say whatever an individual’s most anticipated anything is doesn’t mean they discard all other options. That’s like me saying if you bought a Honda, you must hate every other car maker in existence. Of course I’m looking forward to Avengers and Dark Knight Rises. However, I love the Underworld series more than most other film franchises out there, thus, this was my most anticipated film. Unfortunately, it stunk.

  14. Brian White

    Guys, guys, guys…LMAO

    Only a Sith Lord talks in absolutes and extremes.

  15. Aaron Neuwirth

    I like that we’re arguing about a film you hated in a film series that I don’t care about at all.

  16. Gregg

    And they lived happily ever after. The End.

  17. Lily

    I completely agree with everything you said in the review. And I really hope therell be a fifth one with Speedman back. They need to clean up the mess they made with this one.
    Btw that vampire David (Theo James), I mean I seriously wouldnt mind if Selena didnt revive him. Did anyone else find him kinda annoying?

  18. Ann

    It’s just not underworld without Selene and MICHAEL.

  19. Gregg Senko