Franchise Weekend – Underworld: Blood Wars (2017)

underworldDirector: Anna Foerster

Writer: Cory Goodman (Screenplay) Kyle Ward, Cory Goldman, Kevin Grevioux, Len Wiseman, Danny McBride (Story/Characters)

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Theo James, Tobias Menzies, Lara Pulver, Charles Dance, James Faulkner

 

Plot: Vampire death dealer, Selene (Kate Beckinsale) fights to end the eternal war between the Lycan clan and the Vampire faction that betrayed her.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Final Nail in the Coffin

 

Story: Underworld: Blood Wars starts with backstory of Selene’s (Beckinsale) story and now that she is alone in the battle with nothing left to live for, she is hunted by the Lycans stills but does still have an ally in David (James).

With a new leader, Marius (Menzies) the Lycans want to put an end to the war with Semira (Pulver) the leader of the vampire covenant bringing in David’s father Thomas (Dance) one of the elders to bring Selene back into the fold to train the new vampire recruits ready for the war.

After what seems like a pointless training exercise, it turns out to be pointless training exercise as Semira has bought Selene into take her blood but when David finds a way to save Selene she must once again go into battle against both vampire and Lycans.

 

Thoughts on Underworld: Blood Wars

 

StoryOne of the biggest problems with the last film was that the story was difficult to make work, now we try to bring this out of sequence storytelling to the next chapter. This does feel like some part remake of the original and in the end the story does try to bring a bigger picture of a world we have finally had enough of now.

Action/HorrorMindless action and no horror, well that is the genre in a nutshell really.

Characters/PerformanceSelene is back yet again but you just don’t feel she is the kick ass heroine we have seen in the past, David continues to be just another leading man with nothing much going on, Marius does make for a slightly more interesting villain but again nothing special with Semira just being another power-hungry vampire character.

Performance wise it is nice to know Beckinsale has enough money now to go and make films she will be able to perform in, James has never proved himself as a leading man yet, Both Menzies and Pulver have studied up for the roles and just borrowed everything from the previous film without bringing an ounce of originality to their performances.actors

SettingsWe have the isolated style settings, I am not going to lie, I am confused with the timeline now, I thought the last film was in the future and nothing looked futuristic for the genre and returning to the coven war while good feels like nothing has evolved like the franchise should have.

Special EffectsWe have the special effects we have all come to know for this film, it isn’t on the strongest level with wildly over the top action, annoying amount of flashbacks through drinking blood memories.genre

Final ThoughtsHow has this series turned into an Uzi battle between vampires and Lycans, that is the biggest questions out there.

 

Overall: Painfully awful sequel that we didn’t need.

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Franchise Weekend – Underworld Awakening (2012)

underDirector: Mans Marling, Bjorn Stein

Writer: Len Wiseman, John Hlavin, J Michael Straczynski, Allison Burnett (Screenplay) Len Wiseman, John Hlavin (Story)

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Stephen Rea, Michael Ealy, Theo James, India Eisley, Sandrine Holt, Charles Dance

 

Plot: When human forces discover the existence of the Vampire and Lycan clans, a war to eradicate both species commences. The vampire warrior Selene leads the battle against humankind.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Action Packed Sequel

 

Story: Underworld: Awakening starts with back story in case you missed the first three films Selene (Beckinsale) explains to us the audience where we are in the story now, the story she thought she had won, but no humans are now the enemies. Humans are now tracking down both vampires and lycans killing any they find.

After being captured Selene returns to where she last remembers being only to discover it was 12 years ago, and her beloved Michael is missing. Selene goes on a killing revenge mission to discover the truth behind the reason why the humans kept her alive all this time. Selene works with fellow vampire David (James) as she learns just what remains of both species now.

Underworld: Awakening brings a new enemy in humans only to forget that issue quite quickly into the film by going back to the vampire and lycan battle. We get a massive middle finger to what the originals had by just going fully blown Resident Evil mode by having genetically enhanced lycans for the bigger opponent in battle, come on really? The special effects actually feel like a step back from the first films too while the action is just wildly over the top like before.

Beckinsale being back is a huge plus because she is just as ruthless as we remember her to be. James is just a poor replacement for Michael but that is down to character development no James’ performance, much the same could be said Ealy’s cop character who just helps with a solo scene to explain and no rival cop to contend with either and finally Stephen Rea is the doctor character you expect him to be, Charles Dance gets added for an experienced elder character while the rest are just generic almost extras.

 

Overall: All action no story with a love character just thrown into this story.

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Franchise Weekend – Underworld Evolution (2006)

underDirector: Len Wiseman

Writer: Danny McBride (Screenplay) Len Wiseman, Danny McBride (Story)

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Tony Curran, Derek Jacobi, Bill Nighy, Steven Mackintosh, Michael Sheen

 

Plot: Picking up directly from the previous film, vampire warrior Selene and the half werewolf Michael hunt for clues to reveal the history of their races and the war between them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Fun Sequel

 

Story: Underworld: Evolution starts as we go back to the beginning of the battle as Viktor (Nighy) Marcus (Curran) must deal with the reckless behaviour from William (Steele) giving us a look back at the battle with swords and crossbows. In this we learn more of Viktor’s turn on Marcus imprisoning him for all time.

Selene (Beckinsale) along with new hybrid Michael (Speedman) are now the enemies of both sides must locate Marcus to put an end to the battle once and for all, but he is just as evil as Viktor and with Corvinus (Jacobi) also after Michael it is down to Selene and Michael to work together to escape the hands of both sides of the war.

Underworld: Evolution continues the war between vampires and lycans but this time we have a new species evolving that is both vampire and lycan. We get plenty more action this time around with blood flying and bodies piling up all around but it the looks into the past that drives the film to the next level as we learn why the battle lines were first drawn. The settings all look to generic for the story too without any being memorable by the end of the film.

Beckinsale continues to show her kick ass side in this performance even if she does have to show a vulnerable side too. Where this film struggles are by making such a point out of the Selene character the rest all just seem to fall into generic forgettable characters for the series. This really disappoints what could be yet another brilliantly fun action fantasy film.

 

Overall: When it comes to sequels this is extremely watchable even if not very memorable.

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Franchise Weekend – Underworld (2003)

underworldDirector: Len Wiseman

Writer: Kevin Grevioux, Len Wiseman, Danny McBride (Screenplay) Danny McBride (Story)

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Michael Sheen, Shane Brolly, Bill Nighy, Erwin Leder, Sophia Myles, Wentworth Miller

 

Plot: Selene, a beautiful warrior, is entrenched in a war between the vampire and werewolf races. Although she is aligned with the vampires, she falls in love with Michael, a human who is sought by werewolves for unknown reasons.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun, Over the Top Action Fantasy

 

Story: Underworld starts by taking us into a world where vampires and lycans where the vampires have the upper hand with the lycans on the edge of extinction. We meet Selene (Beckinsale) one of the most elite vampire warriors against the lycans who finds herself learning of an uprising of lycans waiting to come back into the battle.

As Selene investigates the encounter she learns that the lycans were targeting a human Michael (Speedman) but the reason is unknown to her, but this doe draw out Lucian (Sheen) the leader of the lycans and the old battle is starts once again. When Selene’s decision to save Michael only begins the war once more as the vampires await the rebirth of Viktor (Nighy) the lycans plan to take over the world.

Underworld is the fast-paced action fantasy film that brings us the war between vampires and werewolves in a style unlike anything we have seen before. We do have to go through a lot of the politics of the vampire world which at times get rather boring but when the action is unleashed it is all bullets and blood.

Beckinsale shines in this leading role showing she can kick ass like the best of them, it is the rest of the cast which don’t get the full effect out of their performance with Speedman looking lost most of the time, Sheen coming off too smart to be in the role he is given and Nighy being your typical elder character. In all honesty, this is purely fun and just switching your brain off you will enjoy it all.

 

Overall: Popcorn vampire flick that is easily enjoyable.

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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – Vacancy (2007)

vacanyDirector: Nimrod Antal

Writer: Mark L Smith (Screenplay)

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Luke Wilson, Frank Whaley, Ethan Embry, Scott Anderson

 

Plot: A young married couple becomes stranded at an isolated motel and finds hidden video cameras in their room. They realize that unless they escape, they’ll be the next victims of a snuff film

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Thriller

 

Story: Vacancy starts as Amy (Beckinsale) and David (Wilson) travelling cross-country, we see early on their relationship has been tested before learning the truth about what has happened the loss of their child. The two find themselves lost in the middle of nowhere with car broken down. With no other options the two spend the night in a motel run by Mason (Whaley).

The night for Amy & David is only just beginning as they find out they are in the real danger as they discover snuff tapes taken from the room and now they find themselves being the next targets of the killers. The two have to uses their brains to make it out of the situation alive by outsmarting the killers.

Vacancy really bottles down to one of the simplest of all the horror genres. Put two characters in an isolated location with nowhere to run against a group of killers which all works for the genre. Having the organised crime being used shows that the killers know what they are doing and careful plan their kills. Saying this I find it extremely annoying that we have what would be consider the couple somehow outsmarting the experienced killers. The build-up leaves us in a non-stop position which works for us as the audience throughout the film without being too believable.

 

Actor Review

 

Kate Beckinsale: Amy Fox is the wife of the couple, she is struggling after the death of their child having to take a cocktail of pills just to get to sleep. She has become distant towards David but now has to turn to him to save her. Kate isn’t as strong as we are used to in this role.girl

Luke Wilson: David Fox is the husband who is trying to keep his marriage together after the death of their child. He is putting in a big effort to save their marriage but seems to being coming up short every time. He does everything he can to make sure she is safe during the events of the film. Luke is solid in this role in a genre we haven’t seen him in before.david

Frank Whaley: Mason is the hotel manager who has been running a snuff film racket, he offers his guests a certain room only to have his crew kill them off. Frank makes for a creepy character in the film.manager

Support Cast: Vacancy has a supporting cast that only includes the fellow killers or victims.

Director Review: Nimrod AntalNimrod does a solid job directing this by keeping us on edge from start to finish.

 

Horror: Vacancy has good horror elements with two people trying to escape human killers.

Thriller: Vacancy does keep us on edge as the film is set over one night.

Settings: Vacancy keeps the couple in one location stuck in the motel area for one night with nowhere to run too.
Special Effects
: Vacancy has good effects when needed but would rather give us the tension.

Suggestion: Vacancy is on for all the horror fans to enjoy. (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Tension building.

Worst Part: One couple brings down the whole ring.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $19 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

Tagline: Once you’ve checked in… The terror begins.

 

Overall: Horror that is easy to watch that is filled with tension.

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