star-3In Cinemas: December 1
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Theo James, Lara Pulver
Director: Anna Foerster

The Underworld franchise is as tenacious as its immortal vampires, having survived for 13 years and five films. It’s a series that’s easy to forget about, and then along comes another one out of nowhere to remind you that the gorgeous Kate Beckinsale is still out there kicking werewolf butt in her PVC catsuit as ‘Death Dealer’ Selene. The neverending war between Vampires and Lycans heats up again in the aptly titled Blood Wars, which fortunately opens with a handy “Previously, on Underworld…” recap that brings you right up to date.

Selene’s hybrid daughter, whose blood is coveted by both factions, has gone into hiding (even her mother doesn’t know where, for her own protection) and Selene has been enlisted by the Vampire elders to train an army in the ways of the Death Dealers and take the fight to a new and unstoppable Lycan leader. But the power-hungry Samira (Lara Pulver) wants Selene’s blood in order to take control of the coven, and a massacre ensues. Framed for the slaughter of her own kind, Selene and new ally Thomas (Theo James) seek sanctuary in a secluded Nordic coven, where the Lycans eventually sniff them out.

The mythology of Underworld has always been more convoluted than it needs to be, and unless you’re a diehard fan, you’ll have trouble keeping up with who’s a hybrid and who isn’t, and which Vampire elder is which. And the one thing the franchise still hasn’t gotten right after five films is the Lycans, which continue to be ropey-looking CGI creations.

But that’s all incidental – these films consistently deliver a lightning-paced and action-packed ride, and are best enjoyed on their superficial value alone. And when it comes to vampire/werewolf conflict, we’ll take Underworld over Twilight every time.