Apr 182017
 

I’m not exactly sure why Underworld: Blood Wars was necessary and especially with the knowledge a sixth one is in the works, but as much as I disliked the previous entries (finding Awakening tolerable apparently, though I can’t remember one damn thing from it), this is probably the worst of the bunch.

 

 

Underworld: Blood Wars
(2016)

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the 4K UHD I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

 

Genre(s): Horror, Fantasy
Sony | R – 91 min. – $45.99 | April 25, 2017

Date Published: 04/18/2017 | Author: The Movieman

 


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by:
Anna Foerster
Writer(s): Kevin Grevioux and Len Wiseman & Danny McBride (characters), Kyle Ward and Cory Goodman (story), Cory Goodman (screenplay)
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Theo James, Tobias Menzies, Lara Pulver, Charles Dance, James Faulkner, Peter Andersson, Clementine Nicholson, Daisy Head
DISC INFO:
Features:
Featurettes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2
Audio (4K): English (Dolby Atmos), French (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Audio (BD): English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video (4K): 2160p/Widescreen 2.40
Video (BD): 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, English, French
Codecs: HEVC / H.265 (4K), MPEG-4 AVC (BD)
Region(s): A, B, C

 


THE MOVIE — 1.5/5


Well, somehow, someway we’re now at the fifth in the series, with a sixth (and final) one coming, Underworld: Blood Wars. While I have found the previous outings middling, there was at least some entertainment value and at the very least, eye candy with Kate Beckinsale and her PVC outfit. This one, however, lacked very much to be entertained and even Beckinsale appeared to be bored.

The movie opens with a “Previously On” type of prologue catching viewers up to the story thus far in the series. The plot is rather basic: Selene (KATE BECKINSALE) is on the run, being hunted by both vampires and Lycans with the two sects searching for her hybrid daughter, Eve, though as we saw in Awakening, went on the run and Selene has no idea of her location.

Selene narrowing escapes capture by a pack of Lycans and is saved by David (THEO JAMES), whom she saved in Awakening. Meanwhile, at Selene’s former coven, now led by four elders, including Semira (LARA PULVER) who foresees problems with the Lycans as their forces gather under the direction of Marius (TOBIAS MENZIES), our new baddie. Semira calls in Thomas, David’s father, to persuade the coven’s leaders to reinstate Selene to train their death stalkers to take out the Lycans. Selene reluctantly accepts but soon Semira’s true intentions are revealed double-crossing Selene and framing her for the slaughter of the men and women she came to train. You see, Semira wants to drain Selene of her blood in order to harness the power that would make her the supreme ruler of the Eastern Coven. Or something along those lines.

David manages to rescue Selene (again) and the pair make their way to the only remaining coven deep the wilderness, Nordic Coven, populated by people are for peace rather than war, though as we find out later, they’re not adverse to fight. But at this coven, David learns more about himself and that his mother was a vampire elder and being the son of Thomas, discovers is the rightful ruler of the Coven.

As I stated earlier, I’m not entirely sure how we’ve come of a fifth Underworld movie considering the box office returns weren’t exactly significant (though perhaps home video sales were). This entry, Blood Wars, perhaps was the worst of the bunch with phoned-in performances, a bad screenplay, weak plot, one-dimensional characters (including two forgettable villains) and, most notably, so damn dark looking to the point where there were times I couldn’t even see what the hell was happening. On the plus side, I will say there were two memorable kill scenes, so I will give that much; and Kate Beckinsale 14 years later still looks pretty damn good.

Outside of Beckinsale, the supporting cast was okay I suppose. Theo James continues to be ho-hum as he was in the now dead Divergent franchise; Charles Dance still gives it his all with such a limited role and unfortunately is out less than halfway through; Lara Pulver (Da Vinci’s Demons) and Tobias Menzies (Game of Thrones, Outlander) paled in comparison with the antagonists in the previous films (Michael Sheen easily was the best).

Underworld: Blood Wars is, I think, the first in the series not to involve Len Wiseman either as writer or director (he did get a story credit on Rise of Lycans prequel) and stepping into the director’s chair is Anna Foerster marking her feature film debut after working on television with a variety of shows including Criminal Minds which could explain the darkness as well as Unforgettable and Outlander (and according to IMDb is attached to Source Code 2). Honestly, Foerster very well may be a fine director and when the fight scenes were lit right, they weren’t terrible shot.

In the end, it’s yet another lackluster entry into the Underworld franchise which, even when she’s not at her best, is watchable more for Kate Beckinsale rather than the side characters or plot. Still, strange this is getting a sixth movie to close out the series (unless it blows up in China a la Resident Evil: The Final Chapter).

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.0/5


This release comes with a slip cover. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.

The Evolution of Selene (8:09; HD) looks at Kate Beckinsale’s character throughout the franchise and includes comments by the actress.

Old & New Blood (6:15; HD) – Here we meet the characters, old and new, of the two covens.

The Evil Evolved (6:07; HD) is about some of the supporting characters from both the vampires and Lycans.

Building a Blood War (12:03; HD) goes over more of the crew from the director, set designs, costumes, visual effects, etc.

Also included is the Underworld: Blood Wars Graphic Novel.

 


4K VIDEO – 4.25/5, BD VIDEO – 4.0/5


Sony releases Underworld: Blood War onto Ultra High-Definition presented in its original theatrical 2.40 aspect ratio and a 2160p resolution (3840 × 2160). As I already mentioned, the movie is rather dark so doesn’t quite take full advantage of the UHD format but still, detail was sharp and when there were splashes of color, it have a certain pop to them, but those shows are far and few between. The Blu-ray meanwhile, is basically more of the same, just slightly lower detail but for anyone wanting to save money and perhaps match the other four movies in the format, you can’t go wrong with the 1080p high-definition transfer.

4K AUDIO – 5.0/5, BD AUDIO – 4.5/5


Sony seems to be going the same route as Fox in giving two different audio codecs. The 4K disc comes with a Dolby Atmos track while the Blu-ray gets the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 option. On the former, it sounds, well, fantastic. Dialogue levels are crisp and clean (on both tracks) but where the Atmos distinguishes itself from the other is during the numerous action and chase sequences which are incredibly robust and reverberates through the home theater.

 


OVERALL – 2.5/5


Overall, I’m not exactly sure why Underworld: Blood Wars was necessary and especially with the knowledge a sixth one is in the works, but as much as I disliked the previous entries (finding Awakening tolerable apparently, though I can’t remember one damn thing from it), this is probably the worst of the bunch. I suppose if you’re a fan of the franchise and/or of Kate Beckinsale, maybe it’s worthy of a rental. This 4K combo pack offers okay video, excellent audio and a so-so selection of bonus features.

 

 

 

 

Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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