• Underworld: Blood Wars

    Underworld: Blood Wars
    Released by: Sony Pictures
    Released on: April 24th, 2017.
    Director: Anna Foerster
    Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Theo James, Charles Dance, Lara Pulver, Bradley James
    Year: 2017
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    The Movie:

    It’s hard to keep a series fresh five installments in, but you’ve got to give the powers that be at Sony credit for trying with the Underworld films. Unfortunately this fifth entry, Underworld: Blood Wars, crashes and burns.

    The story once again revolves around sexy vampire assassin Selene (Kate Beckinsale). This time around she’s in trouble not only with the Lycan clan that wants her dead, but the Vampires as well. There are only two people she can trust – her old pal David (Theo James) and his dad Thomas (Charles Dance). However, one of the vampire leaders, Semira (Lara Pulver), offers her an olive branch – they’ll forgive her for her past transgressions if she helps to train a new group of vampiric Death Dealers. Selene agrees, unware that Varga (Bradley James) has been tasked by Semira to kill the new recruits and Selene alike.

    Selene escapes, thanks to David, but the trainees do not. Now blamed for the slaughter, with nowhere to hide, they head north to meet up with the Nordic Coven and prepare for the inevitable war that will soon break out…

    While introducing the Nordic Coven is admittedly a mildly interesting twist, the rest of this movie feels very much like the other Underworld movies. It uses the same blue tinted hyperactive visual style, features the same type of costumes (not that anyone is going to complain about Kate Beckinsale in a leather catsuit!) and features the same sort of Matrix-inspired bullet time effects work that fans have now seen play out in five different installments (there’s a sixth on the way so evidently someone out there must be into this stuff). Unfortunately, while that familiarity might appease the franchise’s fan base, those looking for anything different or even interesting will be left wanting.

    The movie is slick, it is glossy and it has nice production values so long as you don’t mind an overabundance of CGI. There are vampires and werewolves, so the movie has a fairly high ‘monster’ quotient, which is never a bad thing. The violence is incredibly stylish, Beckinsale is very watchable in her part and the movie goes at a good clip, rarely suffering from even slight pacing problems. But it’s not enough. It’s watchable enough and you won’t hate yourself for watching it, but once it’s all over and done with? Meh. It’s forgettable. It’s neither terrible nor remarkable, it simply is. It’s the very definition of mainstream Pablum, comfort food for the ADD crowd.


    Underworld: Blood Wars arrives on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 2.39.1 widescreen on a 50GB disc. As you’d expect from a brand new transfer of a studio backed film shot on high end HD video, it looks immaculate. There is some very tiny macroblocking in a couple of spots but if you blink you’ll probably miss it. Otherwise, this is a top notch effort that shows excellent detail and texture, fantastic color reproduction and really strong black levels.

    The English language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track on this disc is stellar. There’s fantastic channel separation throughout the film, the levels are perfectly balanced and the track is crystal clear – just like you’d expect from a brand new major studio production. It’s an aggressive and involving track that really brings the action scenes to life. Optional English SDH are offered as are subtitles in English and French. There’s also a French language dub track presented in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio as well.

    Extra are made up primarily of a few short featurettes, starting with The Evolution Of Selene, an eight minute piece that basically just explains how the series’ lead character has evolved over the course of the Underworld films. In the six minute long Old & New Blood we get quick snippets that offer up some insight into Thomas, David, Vidar and Lena while in The Evil Evolved we spend six minutes talking about Cassius, Semira, Varga, Alexia and Marius. None of these are that interesting – they explain to fans of the series what they already know about the characters that inhabit the films.

    More interesting is the twelve minute Building A Blood War featurette that talks about how the film ties into the first in the series before then going on to talk about the direction, the effects work, the costume design, the casting and more. It’s not super in-depth but it’s something. Rounding out the extras on the disc is the Underworld: Blood Wars Graphic Novel (basically a comic book presented in slideshow format with music from the movie’s score playing underneath it) and trailers for a few other Sony properties available on home video. Animated menus and chapter selection are also included and inside the keepcase alongside the Blu-ray disc is an insert card for a digital HD version of the movie.

    The Final Word:

    Diehard fans of the series might appreciate this but otherwise, Underworld: Blood Wars is a pretty tepid, by the numbers sequel that brings very little of interest to the franchise. Having said that, if the disc is light on extras it does look and sound like a reference quality release – and hey, Kate Beckinsale in a leather cat suit.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Nabonga's Avatar
      Nabonga -
      I've seen almost every one of these films. I remember absolutely nothing about any of them.