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Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)

There Won’t Be Blood

Attempting at resurrecting the lifeless corpse of Kate Beckinsale’s career, Underworld: Blood Wars (thereafter Blood Wars) looks and sounds like someone made a terrible mistake and injected it formaldehyde instead. Her character Selena is destined to become one of the Vampire Elders and she starts looking the part even though she seems in great shape, which is more that can be said about the CGI tornado wreaking havoc around her.

Braindeadly written and irrepressibly poorly filmed, this meager epic takes great caution in disgressing to something else, anything really, anytime something threatens to move the plot forward. Due to, one guesses, budget constraints, Blood Wars circumnavigates its big scenes through cheap slow-mo and epilectic ellipse while feverishly trying to check all the required action boxes. The result is not unlike watching unsuccessful attempts at defribrillating something long dead during ninety minutes: it’s not cinema, it’s electro-convulso therapy.

Blood Wars is much more interested in fetish gear than in the vampire lore. One mused where on Earth are so many barely legal hairdresssers that much into leather parties, and the answer is Prague, standing for “The Eastern Coven”. There, millenary vampires act like brooding teenagers, need modern medical equipment to take blood and have installed a “Dawn Alert” fired sixty seconds before sunrise because, one guesses, vampires have all the time in the world but a short attention span. Well, daylight is not such a threat anyway, considering a sunny morning gives instant way to diluvial rain in order to stay true to production design.

What stands for a script is obsessed by drug-taking and blood purity, to the point of having a coven of recently machine-gunned peacenick Walkyries return as Aryan elite warriors when some back up is needed. Selena is flanked by mostly bland characters, to the exception of the appropriately lupine Marius (Tobias Menzies) and vilain of the piece Semira (Lara Pulver, a talented antagonist in Sherlock Holmes‘ first season, here caught several times gazing at nothing, obviously bored). Oh, and Charles Dance plays Tywin Lannister – again.

Everyone being related to more or less anyone else, the thing ends – not, a sixth instalment or the franchise being planned – in family feud and serious questions about inbreeding that, unfortunately, the viewer is the only one to ask oneself. Such miscegeneration would at least explain why that fanged cohort is, from start to end, acting more like retarded backwater cannibals than like ladies and lords of the night. “Turn off the lights!” are a dying vampire last words. Please, do so, and shut the door behind you.

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