It’s hard to believe it’s been 14 years for the “Underworld” franchise, yet here we are with the fifth film in the series “Underworld: Blood Wars.”
And really if you have seen any of the first four films, you’ve pretty much seen this one. It’s a film made for the fan base that keeps shelling out money to see this and really doesn’t care if anyone else comes or not.
They probably won’t.
“Blood Wars” once again revolves around Vampire death-dealer Selene (Kate Beckinsale), who is recruited by a faction of Vampires to help train their soldiers for the next battle with the Lycan clan – now led by the ruthless and mysterious Marius (Tobias Menzies).
Selene is betrayed by the Vampire faction and finds herself caught between both sides trying to find the location of her estranged daughter, with vampires David (Theo James) and his father Thomas (Charles Dance) her only allies.
“Blood Wars” is only 90 minutes long, but it plods along so aimlessly it feels way longer. The film starts with a clunky exposition to essentially catch everyone up on the last four films and gets clunkier from there – with long speeches meant to fill in the Swiss cheese-size holes left in the plot.
There are more double crosses here than a WWE show and twists that are so obvious it’s really a stretch to call them twists.
The dull, drab story fits a film that looks dull and drab. Look, I get that this is a film about vampires so it mostly takes place at night, but the film is void of any color (with the exception of Beckinsale’s blue eyes) – just a mindless void that lacks any creativity or imagination.
Speaking of Beckinsale, it is startling that someone with her talents has agreed to do one of these films – let alone five. At least she appears to be having fun with it, more fun than the audience.
“Blood Wars” gets the distinction of being the first major release of 2017. It’s about the only thing this borefest will be remembered for.
DVD dandy of the week
With their latest collaboration “Patriot’s Day” going wide this weekend, now is the perfect time to catch up with “Deepwater Horizon” (B+) which is out on DVD this week. Reuniting the “Lone Survivor” team of actor Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, this is an amazing re-creation of the 2010 BP oil spill, which was the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
Wahlberg is in his element as family man Mike Williams, who sees his latest job on Deepwater Horizon as just another day of work. Before long he finds himself in a fight for survival along with other crew members (including Kurt Russell and Gina Rodriguez) and BP representatives (including John Malkovich).
The cast also includes Kate Hudson as Mike’s wife.
‘Deepwater Horizon” plays like a disaster film with the rig serving as a non-human character that Berg brings to life. When the rig does blow about an hour in, it is a visual spectacle and should probably best be witnessed in IMAX.
But as these crew members try to survive the destruction around them, I started to realize how much I was invested in the plight of these characters – a credit to the cast and Berg to spend so much time in the first half allowing the audience to get to know these people.
This is a story about normal people who become heroes, showing how unusual circumstances can bring out the best in people. Wahlberg and Berg seem to have found their niche sharing stories like these. Here is hoping that “Patriot’s Day” can live up to the bar set by this film and “Lone Survivor.”
“Deepwater Horizon” is rated PG-13 for prolonged intense disaster sequences and related disturbing images and is now available on DVD.