...although bear in mind that in forming the above opinion that I have not seen UNDERWORLD 2, 3, or 4. Yes, BLOOD WARS is No.5 in a movie franchise I have not encountered since seeing the first at the cinema back in 2003. I’ll admit I didn’t think that much of the first one which is why I’ve steered clear since, and so when this dropped through the House of Mortal Cinema’s letterbox my expectation were understandably low. UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS (they’ve missed off the 5 or rather the V which is odd seeing as it’s all about vampires) is getting a digital download, DVD, Blu-ray, 4k ultra HD and 3D Blu-ray release courtesy of Sony.
There’s a (very) handy recap at the start of this one that sets it up for those of us not in the know. In a world where everything is perpetually colourless and dark where it rains a lot, and where you can wear any colour you want as long as it’s black, there’s a war going on between vampires and werewolves (called lycans here in order to be a tiny bit different).
Selene (Kate Beckinsale in skin-hugging black latex from the look of it) is our heroine who in the last four films has fought the baddies, had a daughter, had that daughter sent away, and been betrayed by her own kind. Needless to say when bad guy Marius (Tobias Menzies) rears his lycanthropic head, Selene is called back into the fold even if not all the vampires are happy about it, especially power-hungry Semira (SHERLOCK’s Lara Pulver in possibly more outfits than scenes she’s actually in).
Less the next episode in some epic storyline and more eighty minutes of attractive people bashing and shooting the hell out of each other in goth fantasyland, UNDERWORLD BLOOD WARS feels as if it’s been made for undemanding audiences with little or no familiarity with previous films. That said, it’s all rather fun, nicely shot in varying shades of black or dark blue, and the performances include nice turns from Beckinsale, Dance, and especially Pulver as one of the villains.
It’s the kind of film where you can’t allow yourself to question why the vampires all live in a big building that has lots of windows that can easily have holes blown in their shutters, or where all the blood must come from to keep these legions of people going (do they get it flown in to the coven in Norway we eventually end up in? By carrier bat perhaps?). The vampire dissolving effects are fun, too. The denouement isn’t so much an ending as a limp hook for yet another one of these (I think) but that’s to be expected.
Sony’s DVD has two featurettes. There are two more on the Blu-ray and you get the official movie graphic novel as a pdf as well.
UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS is out from Sony on every format imaginable now.