FILM UNFILTERED - ‘Underworld: Blood Wars’ is worst in the series

FILM UNFILTERED - ‘Underworld: Blood Wars’ is worst in the series

One star

We’re heading into the time of the year where many of the studios start to unload some of their less desirable fare. The winter months predominantly see middling to unimpressive theatrical releases that will be one dollar rentals by St. Patrick’s Day. Filling one such void this week is “Underworld: Blood Wars” starring Kate Beckinsale. This is now the fifth film in this long-running “Underworld” series and by far the worst. Kate Beckinsale must have had some bills to pay to take the paycheck for this film.

Now even if you’ve never seen any of the previous films, don’t worry, the filmmakers have gone out of their way to encapsulate the last few films in the opening moments of this one. It’s effective enough and it also might bring you to asking yourself why you’re sitting in the seat watching this. Just remember I warned you.

Beckinsale plays Selene, a vampire death dealer who has been battling an ongoing dispute between different factions or covens of vampires and the werewolf Lycans. Coupled with all of this drama is that she has sent her only daughter into hiding since both groups want to get their hands on her because she is a hybrid child. I’m still trying to determine how a vampire which by definition is an undead creature can even birth a child. It’s all quite confusing and balks at the traditional vampire lore.

Selene is captured by and brought before the Eastern Coven leader Semira (Lara Pulver) who wants her to train her vampires to be effective fighters. Selene is formidable gun toting one woman force and therefore her talents are sought. Semira also has a bone to pick with the current vampire council and she also is seeking to use Selene’s blood to make her more powerful. It’s all quite confusing and this is only the first 45 minutes. Into the mix comes David (Theo James) who may be the true heir to the coven and is positioned here perhaps to be a romantic interest for Selene.

This movie is full of double crosses, power plays and a heavy mix of confusion. There’s also more illicit love affairs going on between lycans and vampires. Marius (Tobias Menzies) excels as the leader of the Lycans and spews all sorts of vitriol towards Selene. Honestly, this is a film series that wore out its welcome and originality two films ago. On a whole as well, this also feels like a retread of the “Twilight” series. More aptly, this is like “The Matrix” melded with the “Twilight” films.

There’s more leather going on here than a rodeo. There’s a big showdown at one point between these long-warring species and they’re all using weapons. Apparently, being a ferocious werewolf and a blood sucking vampire is not enough of an amazing trait. You need some serious firepower too. This film also drags out all the baggage and backstory of the previous films to mind numbingly boring lengths.

Regrettably, this whole film just feels like a season finale of the infinitely better and decades old “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” TV series. The first two films in this “Underworld” mythology were decent, but this coupled with the last two doesn’t introduce anything new or interesting.

Rated R.

Kate Beckinsale stars in “Underworld: Blood Wars,” the fifth film in the long-running “Underworld” series.