Directed by Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein, Underworld Awakening begins with a narration by our vampire protagonist, Selene, telling of a ‘purge’ initiated by the humans to destroy all supernatural beings after attaining knowledge of external species, having labelled them as ‘infected’.

The action-horror film began with the vampires and wolfmen – better known as Lycans – battling it out with technologically advanced humans, differing from the past few wars in the series, where the battles are limited to the werewolves and Death Dealers.

Cryogenically frozen for 12 years by biotech corporation Antigen and kept as one of the infected subjects, Selene was thereafter rescued by young female ally Eve (India Eisley). The favour was soon returned as Selene stumbles on telepathic linkage with young Eve – similar to that with slain partner Michael Corvin (Sadly, a stand-in actor doubled for Scott Speedman who didn’t reprise his role this time) – and saves her from bloodthirsty Lycans circulating in a sewer-like drainage. The pair soon face greater danger when both Lycan and Corvinus clans take an interest in Eve’s mysterious abilities and origin. The substantial role of the villain is played by Dr Jacob Lane (Stephen Rea), the director of Antigen. Capturing Eve after a struggle and many lost comrades, he sets out to develop an antidote that could develop immunity against silver for the Lycans to make them stronger.

With the return of sexy vamp Kate Beckinsale as Death Dealer Selene after being absent in the previous movie, Rise of the Lycans, the 90-minute fourth installment to the Underworld series seems to have regained the series’ allure.

Clad in her iconic black bodysuit with thigh-high boots, Beckinsale’s poise and chic demeanour wins one over instantly when she appears on the big screen as she butchers one Lycan after another in a compellingly violent fashion.

Though Underworld: Awakening recaps its story quickly with significant flashbacks to the past installments, viewers without prior understanding of the previous 3 movies will find it difficult to follow onscreen events without a quick googling of the series, to be honest.

Sadly, despite the brutal conflicts between the humans and the ‘infected’, the movie failed to emphasize on the basis of the war at all, and the oppressive humans are kept to the sidelines. Unreasonable character deaths also result in a lot of questions by the end of the film, and the violence looked gratuitous and unrealistic. Fans might have hoped to see more gory details rather than animated and cartoonish-looking graphic headshots and seppuku-parallel disembowelment.

Granted, Underworld Awakening might not be the first vampire versus werewolf movie sequel, but the bloody and gory sequences – a far cry from the twee romance seen in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series – is a sure-win for fans of the genre, who would probably look forward to the next installment of vampire-werewolf discord.

Movie: Underworld Awakening
Rating: 3/5
Opens: Feb 2
Duration: 88 minutes
Language: English
Age Rating: M18
Genre: Action, Horror, Fantasy

Directed byMans Marlind, Bjorn Stein
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Stephen Rea, Michael Ealy