Friday, May 25, 2012

Underworld: Awakening (2012)

     Loud, poorly lit, and clocking in with less than 80 minutes of real movie, Underworld: Awakening (2012) is a prime example of a sequel that comes about not because there is a compelling story to tell in the existent setting but because there is still money to be made from attaching the title to it.  Other than Kate Beckinsale still looking good in the leather outfit and (one would assume) not complaining about the generous amount of wire work necessary for the stunts, I cannot say that there is much going for this movie.  But I could say that about all of the Underworld (2003) movies. 
     Seeing as how I am more than a decade removed from the last time I played or ran a White Wolf Storyteller System game – Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mage: The Ascension, Wraith: The Oblivion (very under-loved), or Hunter: The Reckoning were the ones I considered worth playing – it should not be surprising that I don't have much passion left for the general high-energy vampire vs. werewolf concept.  These are beings that live quite a long time and can act rationally, but we never get to see clever politicking or subtle manipulation of the enemy.  Everything is machine-pistols, weird swords, unbelievably dangerous (to the user) whips, and bouncing off the walls.
     I remember the first movie at least being consistent within itself and setting up a coherent story.  Then Underworld: Evolution (2006) introduced the problem of geography (just where exactly were these characters?) and relied heavily on the something is after the heroes device to eat up screen time with chases and fights.  I skipped the next film (I guess I really do just want to see Beckinsale in the outfit) because I assumed that by going into the past, it would simply be going over material that the audience already thought they knew enough about.
     The only positive thing I can say about this movie is that it shows that Charles Dance was wasting his talents in The Golden Child (1986), where he was the best actor in the cast.  He again shows that a skilled actor can take over a scene without needing CGI or a tight leather outfit.  Not that I want to bash Beckinsale.  I have seen her act in movies and know that she can do better than this.  I just think Underworld: Awakening offered a better paycheck than Snow Angels (2007).

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