Director: Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein
Screenwriters: Len Wiseman, John Hlavin, J Michael Straczynski and Allison Burnett
Runtime: 88 mins.
Australian release date: 26 January 2012
Directed by Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein (their previous collaboration being Shelter in 2009) and a posse of assistant directors, Underworld: Awakening is the fourth film in the franchise. It is a welcome return for the Lycan hunter Seline (Kate Beckinsale), after being held in captivity in a cryogenic chamber for twelve years. Anyone held in a chamber for that period would let loose and she does, clad in skin tight vinyl and armed with not one, but two impressive firearms and a variety of other dangerous weapons. Seline manages to hold what must be a record body count in the 88 minutes it takes her to rip across the screen in this very over-the-top live-action video game, shot in 3D by Scott Kevin.
The effects are simply stunning and totally in your face. There is blood and guts galore and a robust score by Paul Haslinger. The soundtrack is so full-on that you feel as if you have been sitting in a torture chamber having your ears lacerated by razorblades. Who cares about the plot? Suffice to say, it revolves around a mad scientist, Steven Rea, genetically breeding a super race of… well, to say more would be to give it away.
This is a totally visual experience and not to be missed if you are a fan and, judging by the US opening box office figure of 9.4 million dollars on the first day, it is apparent there are plenty of ‘em. Underworld: Awakening makes that other vampire/werewolf battle series, Twilight, look like a children’s drama!