Old Meat, New Blood
January is a weird time to release a brainless action flick about sexy vampires punching gross wolf people… yet on some level it’s also the perfect antidote to the heavy going Oscar bait that is currently flooding the cinemas here in the UK.
Blood Wars is an entertaining yet wholly unsurprising addition to the Underworld series. The film focuses around the eternal conflict between vampires and lycans touching upon the internal power plays of the two factions and shockingly Selene (Kate Beckinsale) is sandwiched between right in the middle. Again.
When you break it down to the bare bones this is almost the same film as the last two or three and once again only progressing the storyline and characters in small increments. Normally that would be a damning critique but Underworld sticks to what it’s good at: kicking ass in style.
It is still has excellent production design. It still has the familiar plot threads as outlined above. It still has hoards of werewolves. It still has Kate Beckinsale looking hot in tight leathers for us Neanderthal males (Theo James for the Neanderthal ladies). It still has some really well choreographed fight scenes.
There’s arguably only two surprising elements to Blood Wars. The first of which is Clementine Nicholson who plays Lena – a high ranking vampire from a different covenant.
Nicholson manages to capture your gaze whenever she is on screen. I mean, sure, it helps that she is strikingly beautiful but there’s more to it than that. She exudes star power which isn’t uncommon in Hollywood but Blood Wars is her first ever feature film. It’s an impressive role to snag as a debut. She didn’t let the casting team down.
New blood and a talent to look for in the future. You heard it here first.
The other surprising part about Blood wars is how little the plot moves. The crux of the whole film is that Marius (Tobias Menzies) – head of the l – wants to get his hands on Selene’s half-vamp half-lycan daughter. Selene doesn’t know where she is. They have play a game of fisticuffs and… well… that’s about it.
Selene’s daughter is one of the most important threads that weaves Blood Wars to it’s predecessors. It starts with “I don’t know where she is” and ends with “I don’t know where she is… meh, maybe I should!?”.
As far as pushing forward an overarching narrative goes it would be like you upgrading from a 2 bed house to a 2 bed house… with a shed. Or living in a city suburb then going on a holiday to the city centre for two weeks.
Underworld Blood Wars is nothing to get excited about unless you are a fan of the series. It does enough of what it’s good at to keep such fans from feeling disenfranchised and although Clementine Nicholson injects some new blood into the series the real meat filling is the same old stuff you’ve had before.
The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:
+ Decent action
+ Clementine Nicholson debut
– Nothing new
– Plot doesn’t really go anywhere