Star Rating:

Underworld: Blood Wars

Director: Anna Foerster

Actors: Kate Beckinsale, Theo James, Lara Pulver

Release Date: Friday 13th January 2017

Genre(s): Action, Horror

Running time: 91 minutes

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

There are very few films that start with such a prescient piece of dialogue as Underworld: Blood Wars does. In the black, ultra-Goth world of Underworld, Kate Beckinsale's character remarks that she "has lived too long" and that her time is coming to an end. If only words made it so.

Right from the get-go, it's clear that Underworld has not only ran its course, it's now retreading the course and hoping that someone is still watching. While Underworld's mix of vampire fantasy and Wachowski-inspired aesthetics might have been unique and inspired in 2003, the intervening years have not been kind. More than anything, Underworld: Blood Wars looks, sounds and feels cheap and dated - probably the worst thing you could say about any sci-fi action film. In fact, it's all become so watery and inconsequential that you'd wonder why anyone is still involved with the film.

Kate Beckinsale's characterisation of Selene has all the depth and pathos of a black bin bag whilst Tobias Menzies' character, Marius, comes across like a Dealz version of Bane from The Dark Knight Rises. Theo James' smell-the-fart acting chops just about to keep him from embarrassing himself whilst Charles Dance rattles off pages of exposition with perfect diction and zero interest. Lara Pulver, meanwhile, is the only one who seems to be having fun as the vampire queen Semira. Nevertheless, it's all done in such a hammy and embarrassingly cheap way that you're watching the performances through your fingers to stop the cringe from getting in.

Anna Foerster, making her film debut as director, has sadly been handed a franchise that's long passed its sell-by date and told to make it shine again. There's very little that can be done here and, despite her experience as a cinematographer and a TV director, there's something very amateurish about how it all looks. Whether it's blatantly reusing footage from the same film or just the hokey, PlayStation 2-era CGI or just the lack of imagination in general, it all adds up for a wholly unremarkable experience. The screenplay, from Cory Goodman of The Last Witch Hunter fame, has all the faux gravitas you'd expect and absolutely no characterisation of any kind. In fact, there's so many gaping plotholes here that you could fly a 747 through them.

Unremarkably shit.