Underworld: Awakening

2012

Underworld: Awakening

Critics Consensus

There's more vapid action and less story in Underworld Awakening than previous installments, making the whole affair feel inconsequential.

27%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 75

62%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 98,487
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Movie Info

Kate Beckinsale, star of the first two films, returns in her lead role as the vampire warrioress Selene, who escapes imprisonment to find herself in a world where humans have discovered the existence of both Vampire and Lycan clans, and are conducting an all-out war to eradicate both immortal species. -- (C) Official Site

Cast

Stephen Rea
as Dr. Jacob Lane
Michael Ealy
as Detective Sebastian
Jacob Blair
as Officer Kolb
Adam Greydon Reid
as Med Tech #1
Robert Lawrenson
as Waterfront Cop
Lee Majdoub
as Desk Guard #1
John Innes
as Medical Supervisor
Tyler McClendon
as Scientist
Panou
as Old City Cop #1
Ian Rozylo
as Old City Cop #2
Benita Ha
as Surgical Nurse
Christian Tessier
as Security Guard #1
Kurt Max Runte
as Troop Leader
Mark Gibbon
as Announcing Guard
Richard Cetrone
as Lycan Creature #1
Dan Payne
as Lycan Creature #2
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News & Interviews for Underworld: Awakening

Critic Reviews for Underworld: Awakening

All Critics (75) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (20) | Rotten (55)

Audience Reviews for Underworld: Awakening

  • Jan 18, 2017
    Upping the scale doesn't always mean a better film. 'Awakening' finds Underworld at its bloodiest and perhaps most action packed, but there's once again little under the surface of a vampire-action flick. At this point in the franchise, you pretty much know what you're going to get. Selene leads the war against anyone who opposes their kind. This time, however, it's humans who are on the opposite end of the stick. This premise felt a lot like when the old Planet of the Apes franchise ran out of ideas so they made a time jump and brought the humans in as the antagonists. In fact, it touches on a lot of the same social issues that 'Escape from the Planet of the Apes' did, experimentation on creatures for one. The problem is, it's only touched upon. Just like the new relationship Selene has with a young girl named Eve isn't totally the focus either. I mean, I guess we can give 'Awakening' a little credit for not continuing the bland romance between Michael & Selene, and giving her someone new to care about. But there's a way to write characters into the story without overwhelming each scene with blood and guts. Heck, it's also pretty hard to root for Selene considering she slaughters every human in sight. This film absolutely doubles down on the series' heavy genre aspects, instead of trying to usher in a broader audience. Theo James & Charles Dance are brought in to essentially replace roles taken by Bill Nighy and Scott Speedman. Both actors give more grounded turns than the others did, but even they can't turn awful dialogue into something worth caring about. I'm not so sure Daniel Day-Lewis could even do it. Although the dialogue is still horrendous, the characters are still shallow, and the plot continues to get more ridiculously contrived, these films can be entertaining. The action is better choreographed than any of the other films and at least the run-time is short, right? +Action is amped up +Performances are more grounded -More blood & guts doesn't always mean the quality rises -Characters are still hollow 5.3/10
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • May 17, 2016
    Arguably the least terrible in this series. It's short, brutal, and relatively straightforward . . . it's also dumb but not in an entirely fun way.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 10, 2013
    Aw yeah, it's vampires and Lycans against humans, and I can't blame them, because after years of "Twilight", it's time that these people get a lesson on how vampires and werewolves really throw down, in a hardcore fashion with hot English chicks and... a plot that's not too much less trite and dumb than that of "Twilight", though still not as lame. Seriously though, just when you thought that this series' installments could't get any more generic with their titles, they go off and do more than just pick up this film's pace, but hey, I reckon I'll run with it, as the "subtritle" (Get it?) "Awakening" fits this film like a glove, seeing as how, with this film, the filmmakers really wake up, as well they should, because they don't have time to slow down in this 88-minute opus. I don't know why it took them two directors and four writers - one of whom is J. Michael Straczynski, who wrote for Clint Eastwood's "Changeline" - to write this brief blockbuster that has even more action, somehow even less plot and an even thinner runtime than its predecessors. Shoot, I say, "somehow" in front of, "even less plot" as if this series hasn't tried a bit too much to have plot, of which, there is quite a bit in this fun little flick, though not so much that it's not too hard to see them just going ahead, saying, "Forget it", and having the next film be the ultimate vampire action film crossover between this franchise and "30 Days of Night" and, of course, "Blade". Hey, you may think that I'm joking, most likely because I am, but it's not too hard to tell that is what's next for this series, because they made Kate Beckinsale's Selene character a daywalker (Not the same thing as a streetwalker, so calm down, you creeps) in this film, knowing that even a vampire would have trouble finding, much less fighting Wesley Snipes at night. Seriously though, if Snipes does, for whatever reason, show up for "Underworld: Insert Generic Subtitle Here", it will fit perfectly in his schedule, as he will be out of prison by the time they make that film in, like, twelve years. Now that I think about it, these "Underworld" installments do take way too long to come out to be as not-so worth the wait as they are, because as entertaining as these films... after the mediocre first one have been, and as particularly entertaining as this film is, each installment tends to get messy, with this installment being most certainly no exception. Disregarding this film's direct predecessor, the particularly plot-driven "Rise of the Lycans", it would appear as though this series is thinning out its plots with each installment, because if you thought that "Evolution" was, as Elvis would put it, "a little less conversation, a little more action", this film really leans out substance for the sake of deliciously meaty style, though not so much so that you don't still find a reasonably firm grip on this film's story, and with it, many a derivative plot note, as not even this film can escape the story conventionalism that has plagued this saga from the beginning, made all the worse by more than a few trope-heavy set pieces within the script's structural execution of the same-old-same-old story concept in question, which isn't to say that the story structuring faults within Len Wiseman's, John Hlavin's, J. Michael Straczynski's and Allison Burnett's script ends there. At not even a whole hour-and-a-half, this film is the shortest in the series thus far (I say, "thus far" as though the next installment can get any shorter before it fails to reach the minimum runtime for theatrical feature films), and can back up such briefness more than something like the should-be-lengthier "Rise of the Lycans", and yet, even though this film doesn't quite warrant the length of this series' blandly overlong first installment, story structuring still gets to be quite heavy-handed, hurrying things along by tightening certain things up a bit too much and even glossing over quite a bit of exposition. There's an adequate degree of engagement value to this film's substance, yet flesh-out nevertheless stays faithful to the final product's runtime's being a touch too thin, thus diluting resonance that was never going to be too meaty, but still suffers noticeably at the hands of both mishaps with substance and, of course, perhaps too much abundance in style. This film isn't quite as action-packed as I was expecting it to be after I heard that they particularly went all-out with pumping this installment up with blockbuster goodies, but make no mistake, this latest outing for the "Underworld" saga turns in even more action, which is good and all, though still detrimental to the final product, because it gets to the point where action, or at least sheer momentum, take over a large chunk of a plot whose length doesn't give this film too much time to propose too many hefty chunks, leaving storytelling repetition behind stylistically dynamic action to ensue. This film's set pieces are entertaingly stylish and all, but the final product is almost entirely set piece-driven, with not enough exposition to truly bring the set pieces to life as supplements to substance and, by extension, engagement value. The result is a kind of emotional distance that isn't quite as intense as the emotional distance that ruined the first "Underworld", but still does damage to consequence and the evenness of this film's style-substance ratio, while profoundly emphasizing substance's being too thin and derivative for its own good in the first place, thus making for a barely consequential blockbuster that was never going to be much, but still stands to be more than what it ultimately is. That being said, what this film ultimately is is a fun flick that doesn't offer much in the way of genuine compellingness, but consistently entertains as much as any "Underworld" film, and does so with a story that isn't entirely disengaging. This film's story is about as conventional as any of its predecessors' and is thinner than ever, being messily executed and not really with all that much to it to begin with, yet it's not as though substance has been thinned into obscurity, being underdeveloped and messy, but still interesting enough in its general structure and noble attempts at sustaining continuity to establish a reasonable degree of immediate intrigue, kept alive by Måns Mårlind's and Björn Stein's lively direction and, of course, Kate Beckinsale, who, as usual, does more than just look good. This film presents an arguably more brutal Selene character, though not quite enough motivation to fully back up our protagonist's even more intense take-no-bull attitude, thus making for a lead who, on paper, isn't too terribly compelling, but engages through and through when brought to life by Beckinsale's striking charisma and once again snug fit into her character's leather catsuit-I mean, presence. Beckinsale's charm once again crafts an intriguing protagonist to compliment a thin yet still reasonably interesting plot, but really, when you get down to it, while this film isn't entirely style-over-substance, the final product is driven heavily by style that, by itself, doesn't stand a chance of making a terribly rewarding film, but livens up much, including visuals, or at least to a certain extent. If it's not plot, then it's Gothic style that has been thinning out with each one of these films, as each installment has been creeping further and further from distinctly somber grit and into more traditional and noisy style, with this film going so far as to essentially purge itself of Gothic artistry, as reflected by Scott Kevan's cinematography, whose all too often plummeting into averageness and rarely being all that lavish when it does, in fact, get to be particularly striking make it easily the least impressive photographic effort presented in this series thus far, though hardly to where you can't appreciate what is done in Kevan's photography, which is still handsomely well-defined, with occasions of striking depth to color to compliment quite a few clever moments in shot staging. Visually, the film could hit harder, but still hits pretty hard as a handsome stylistic piece, as sure as it hits pretty hard as a commendable technical piece, which delivers on clever editing and immersive sound design, while turning in what might very well be this franchise's finest collection of visual effects, which are seamless, dynamic and altogether dazzling in their highly intricate and believable designs, being unafraid to really meditate on technical advancement, and with enough upstanding skill to back up noble audacity, whose fruits are, as you would imagine, at their sharpest when action falls into play, as it very often does. Again, action isn't so abundant that it all but claims the entirety of this film, yet it does get to be excessive, and as a component to set piece storytelling, it proves to be problematic, but when it comes to being a component to thrilling style, this film's action delivers on some of the series' best, with elaborate staging and dynamic choreography that, when complimented by technical proficiency and gore whose intensity isn't quite as hefty in quantity as it is in the other "Underworld" follow-ups, but is still pretty effectively hardcore, engages with genuine tension when it's not engaging with thorough entertainment value that makes this blockbuster reward as, if nothing else, a nifty portait of violence. As far as substance is concerned, this film, well, as expected, doesn't really reward all that much as a comeback for a series that has never really rewarded all that much when comes to substance, but when it comes to entertainment value, this film brings as much of the goods as any other "Underworld" installment, boasting enough charm, style and thrills to keep you going, even with investment issues. To conclude yet another chapter in this saga, this film's story goes plagued by conventionalism, when not thinned out considerably by heavy-handedness that expends much exposition for the sake of style that, as a storytelling component, gets to be repetitious and goes into molding the emotional distance that makes this film an underwhelming one by its own right, but cannot fully battle back the adequate degree of story intrigue - livened up by a charismatic lead - and richness in visual style, technical sharpness and thrilling action that make "Underworld: Awakening" a consistently entertaining blockbuster that provides plenty of visceral satisfaction, even if satisfaction in substance is lacking. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Aug 22, 2012
    [img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img] Since it's rough beginnings i've always been a huge fan of the Underworld saga and i've entirely devoted myself in defending it from the huge amount of people who have always had many reservations for it and seem to think otherwise. I know for a fact that the series is not as unintelligent as people think. I've always loved it's absolutely beautiful gothic visuals, the convincing lead performances, and the well choreographed action sequences. I believe that Selene is portrayed brilliantly by Kate Beckinsale and in that role she is simply badass. Selene is a very interesting and likable heroine whom you can easily relate to in reality. But most people really dont view the series the same way I do. Those who constantly criticise the film for it's lack of dramatic depth and character study dont seems to enjoy pointing out that the spectacle and set pieces in the film's are designed incredibly well. I often argue that the previous films do in fact have depth. However even myself, a massively loyal fan to the series, found some elements of Awakening problematic. Their is less of a focus on Selene and characterisation of the supporting characters in this 4th installment. I felt unengaged with them unlike a lot of the characters in the previous films and i'd be lying if I said that it wasn't a let down for me. The plot of Awakening is very thin, but nevertheless interesting. If any sequels are made I hope they take the opportunity to develop it into something unique and unexpected. But even though Awakening has a few problems that were not present in the previous films it has fast paced action that doesn't fall short and an elegantly intimidating performance from Kate Beckinsale that we've all come to expect, but still entertains me. It stands out from other installments by throwing in some interesting ideas into the mix that work very well but even though it's dissapointingly weaker than the previous chapters i'm still very confident in thinking it wil please the Underworld faithful, and as a fanatic of the Underworld franchise, I was entertained all the way through.
    Directors C Super Reviewer

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