Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)

(On Cable TV, August 2017) I thought that the fourth entry in the Underworld series was a promising step up—modern, relatively well-directed, with interesting action sequences and an interesting push in the future of the series. Unfortunately, fifth instalment Blood Wars is a return to worse form for an overwhelmingly dull series. While director Anna Foerster manages a few interesting images along the way, the script she’s using seems intent on stomping further on material than had become flat by the second movie. Vampires versus werewolves again?! Regrettably leaving behind recognizable urban landscapes in favour of increasingly fantasy-based locations, Blood Wars is either dull or silly depending on how much you care about the material. Shot in the same boring black-and-blue scheme, it has little to offer to set itself apart from its predecessor—although some of the Nordic snow-and-ice stuff is occasionally promising. Kate Beckinsale herself is noticeably older than in the archival footage shown from the previous films, but she can still rock a skin-tight bodysuit as well as anyone can. Elsewhere in the cast, only Lara Pulver makes an impression as a competing vampire—the rest of the characters are as interchangeable as they can be. Blood Wars doesn’t amount to much more than instantly disposable entertainment, but it has the distinction of being slightly above average for the series, somewhere around the first film but far better than the snooze-inducing second and third volumes. There will be another sequel, we’re told. I’ll watch it out of misplaced completionism, but won’t expect much.

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