Review

Kate Beckinsale fights on and 'Underworld: Blood Wars' is as satisfyingly big, dumb and loud as its predecessors

With four previous films under its weapons-packed belt, “Underworld: Blood Wars” hasn’t lost any of its predecessors’ lust for blood. It won the gore-loving hearts of audiences with a particularly brutal final kill in the 2003 original, and this entry won’t disappoint hardcore fans. The fifth film in the series still executes creative kills; if only the same attention were paid to the rest of the movie.

Vampire Selene (Kate Beckinsale) hides from both the Lycans (a.k.a. werewolves) and her own estranged tribe, but soon the vampires ask for her help. Joined by David (Theo James), Selene continues the interspecies war against Marius (Tobias Menzies), who is after the blood of her hybrid daughter, Eve.

“Underworld: Blood Wars” is as big, dumb and loud as one of its Lycan in wolf form, though it is no worse than the rest of the series. Half the script from Cory Goodman is endless expository dialogue explaining this film and its predecessors’ plots, and the rest is grunts and roars from supernatural creatures that are fighting.

The franchise has never hesitated to show Selene’s strength, but this movie, directed by Anna Foerster, demonstrates a more dominant woman’s voice than previous outings, featuring a female gaze that’s a rarity in the genre. But anyone worried that a woman director would soften the series’ savage approach to action will have to wade through buckets of blood and endless gunfire to make their unwarranted complaint.

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‘Underworld: Blood Wars’

Rating: R, for strong bloody violence, and some sexuality

Running time: 1 hour, 32 minutes

Playing: In general release

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