The first impression all those mindless critic-believers would have about this movie is nothing more than a bulk of disbelief inspired by the support of the people who are paid to write, something which has plagued the movie world as a hellish hound spreading pseudo-love for movies as a plague which has exterminated most of the better movies which was released in the last few years, and supported senselessness. Sometimes, one would wonder if they need Tarantino’s name in the director’s column and only then can they give a good review; so goes the cynics, the masters of annihilation of the better ones. Unfortunately, this one is not even directed by Len Wiseman, the director of Underworld: Evolution, the previous movie which had Kate Beckinsale playing the same character. But that hasn’t affected this vampire-werewolf world too much. The same director and the same actress had the movie Total Recall working for them in the same year, and just like Mila Jovovich and her husband in the Resident Evil series along with The Three Musketeers, all of these movies having one thing in common – a gorgeous, stong and agile female protagonist who moves around kicking and punching the opponents, along with dodging bullets and arrows spinning around them as if she was a spinning delivery by Shane Warne of Muttiah Muralitharan.
This fourth installment in the Underworld series, and the major protagonist, Selene (Kate Beckinsale) is captured and imprisoned by the humans, and most of the vampire population has been exterminated with the few remaining blood-suckers living underground as survivors and rebels. The lycans are supposed to have been extinct for years, or so the world is forced to believe. Selene escapes from the medical facility where she was cryogenically preserved as a female vampire specimen. She finds out about Eve (India Eisley) a vampire-werewolf hybrid and the daughter of Selene and Michael. The vampire mother and daughter is escorted by David (Theo James) to his vampire coven where his father Thomas (Charles Dance), an elder vampire is sceptical about the whole thing. But the problem remains that the lycans had never been extinct and they are looking to develop a drug which could make lycans immune to the deadly effects of silver on them and also to enhance their physical abilities, for which they need to capture Eve and take her apart. Dr. Jacob Lane (Stephen Rea) and his son Quint Lane (Kris Holden-Ried) look forward to capturing the young girl and using her genetic code to achieve near invincibility for the lycan race.
So Kate Beckinsale’s Selene has returned to once again with that the skintight latex outfit, a costume which defines the movie outside its mythology, and it is one situation comparable only with Milla Jovovich’s Alice in Resident Evil: Retribution and also Sienna Guillory’s Jill Valentine in the same movie. Alice and Selene has so many things in common though, as both of them gets the infected other, the species who are leading her own to extinction, in black skintight costumes and displaying all the athleticism – the two leading actress portraying them married to the same director who directed their most popular movie series, and the three characters, Alice, Jill and Selene are portrayed by the actresses whose age difference in one as of this exact moment. Kate Beckinsale wins the battle of whom being the better destroyer for sure, which is why Underworld series survive. Just like Underworld and Underworld: Evolution, this movie revolves around her, and she is the undisputed sun of this solar system, even as there is a hint that another sun is to rise in the form of Eve, and this would be a system of not one, but two stars providing the resources for survival. The possibility of a Jill-Alice, Claire-Alice or Ada-Alice world or the combination of all is the next possible thing though, and this sharing of Underworld is rather distant.
Kate Beckinsale once again proves that she is the one suited for this role as Selene, one of the most attractive, gun wielding “good” vampires the movie world might ever bring to the human eyes. Lori, the undercover agent and the fake wife of Total Recall proves the same later, and what Anna Valerious proved in Van Helsing lives on with this version of the vampire named after the Greek moon goddess. Here, the superhuman powers make her close enough to a demi-god, even as the daughter of the Titans Hyperion and Theia wouldn’t dare to agree. There is no brother for this Selene in the form of the sun-god Helios, and there is no sister in the form of the goddess of the dawn, Eos. She is still that nocturnal creature, despite of her ability to move around in sunlight. She is also the hunter, Artemis and also almost Aphrodite in beauty. As we consider the fact that she was a cryogenically frozen female vampire specimen until waking up, there is the multiple assertion of her continuity from where she stopped, as she has not changed a bit from her earlier appearance which was six years earlier through Underworld: Evolution. She didn’t seem to have a aged a bit, and there is absolutely no loss of touch with the character which has been the most popular lady vampire for quite a long time, and Isabella Swan’s transformation into a pale creature won’t change a thing.
Selene’s atheleticism and vampiric nature is perfectly portrayed by Kate Beckinsale as defends the hybrid daughter and her own kind against the lycans and humans with such fury and aggression which can make even Count Dracula passive. Along with the blue eyes, that face and all the expressions in the movie points to that one mythical creature only, the vampire, or as John William Polidori would say – The Vampyre. Forget Vacancy and Click, as this is the movie which she would be identified with, and that blue-eyed face and the short black hair falling on the face at regular intervals; that is the image which comes to the mind with the name Kate Beckinsale, and it is that impact that Selene has created from this wonderful actress, and that beautiful awesomeness of a gorgeous vampire lady is her gift to Selene in return. That wouldn’t make her any less attractive not as Selene, but the vampire lady is the one archetype which would stay there for a very long time. It has to be something all the lunar goddesses of history have to approve. None of those action movies Underworld, Van Helsing, Underworld: Evolution, Total Recall and Underworld: Awakening has recieved a Rotten Tomatoes rating above 40 percent, which is a sign of not the weakness of these movies, but the lack of strength in the critics to take them to the soul.
The action sequences and the 3D support Kate Beckinsale in her quest to get Selene to new heights, and they are of incredible power with that dark background. There is the excellent usage of the visual imagery and the special effects, and it had to get the maximum out of the fight sequences which it does. One can still complain about the story being ordinary and the movie being too short, but those have helped in making this one more interesting for those who haven’t seen the earlier movies of the series. There is no special talks about the motivatios and inspirations of the two species, and there are no long dialogues about the origins and history. It might have gone unnoticed, but India Eisley also scores within the limits of her character, as Eve has only begun. We haven’t seen enough of that one vampire hybrid for sure. Michael Ealy and Theo James plays the role of the allies of Selene, with the expected results. Stephen Rea has that powerful existence on the other side of the realm, unlike his vampiric presence in Interview with the Vampire, then to become a European vampire who becomes an enemy of the main vampire character, Louis de Pointe du Lac, and here to become the rival of the beautiful vampire protagonist, Selene. Kris Holden-Ried makes another powerful villain who makes one feel that he is never without lycan effect at any moment. Charles Dance scores with his presence as the Vampire Elder alone.
When Underworld: Evolution and Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance had the same rating with critics, and The Lone Ranger managed a better rating, there was always something wrong, and the former was a pure eye-opening moment for this Vampire Bat looking for the “movies of the soul”. Even Snow White and the Huntsman had a rating near fifty percent which created that realization that all these paid reviews are just for a specific group of people, and there is a bigger division of people who are misguided with the same, thinking that these are for them. This higher rating for the movie will make for the lies which have haunted this movie and the whole series as a whole. If the critics rating is seventeen percent and I give it a ninety two percent, that should make the situation a healthy ninety nine, with that remaining one percent donated to charity. It is the duty of the Vampire Bat, and his honour as part of the “movies of the soul” to immortalize Selene, and that vampire world which righteously fights the lycans long before Twilight came up with such an idea which would pervert the vampire world and destroy the image of all vampires before the humans. It is on this realization that this review has originated, and with that idea, it shall wind up. There will be a fifth movie in the series, and the Vampire Bat shall eagerly wait for it – there is nothing of humanity and there exists no critical force that can end his craving.
Release date: 20th January 2012
Running time: 88 minutes
Directed by: Måns Mårlind, Björn Stein
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, India Eisley, Sandrine Holt, Theo James, Michael Ealy, Stephen Rea, Charles Dance
@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.