I love vampire movies ever since I was a kid. Most people have probably forgotten that vampire movies have come a long way. Still, if I have to choose between vampire movies and movies about the undead aka Zombies, I would go for zombies. So when they finally showed UNDERWORLD AWAKENING here in Metro Manila yesterday, I did not hesitate to take the opportunity to squeeze it into my busy and chaotic schedule. There are a couple of reasons why I like the UNDERWORLD series. But before I continue, this review includes details of the movie itself, so be warned for those who don’t like to know parts of the film and would rather watch it without having any knowledge about it.
It is the first movie series that pitted vampires against werewolves in a world of human beings. Most of the time it is either a movie about vampires is made or there is a movie about werewolves. Rare that you can see the two genres together and even harder to come up with an interesting concept on how these two species came about hating each other and fighting each other to the death that according to the movie series, lasted for several centuries.
The latest installment called UNDERWORLD AWAKENING is interesting because it has an XMEN: Days of Future Past storyline. In the XMEN storyline, mutants are hunted down and killed, and those who manage to survive are brought o concentration camps, tortured to death or experimented. In AWAKENING, the movie starts on the same note with vampires and werewolves being hunted down and being purged. A martial law is declared across the country and it also seems that across the globe. Most of the vampire nation go into hiding and no longer reside in the urban centers. Furthermore, werewolves faced a similar story — or so moviegoers were led to believe. For the movie revealed that the Lycans [the werewolf clan] sacrificed their own kind in the process of revealing the existence of vampires and werewolves in order to exterminate the vampires with the aid of human beings. Little did human beings know that this manipulation was only done only because they wanted to capture the very first hybrid, Michael Corvinus.
Michael Corvinus is the only living descendant of the first vampire/werewolf. He was first turned into a wereworld in the first movie and suffered a fatal injury. DNA tests reveals that he is among the handful human descendants of Corvinus who can become a hybrid — one that can become a werewolf and also be a vampire at the same time. Reluctantly, Selene [the main actress played by Kate Bekingsale] turns Michael into a vampire and in the process Michael becomes the first hybrid. It is because of this that the Lycans became interested in pursuing him not because he is an anomaly, but because by studying him they can uncover how the Lycans can become impervious to silver nitrate/silver bullets and make them stronger than the vampires in hopes of still exterminating the vampire clans — no longer a nation as the movie series established that the elders of the vampires have been killed/butchered.
In a world were they became the hunted, Michael and Selene tried to escape. The last known memory of Selene was experiencing a ultraviolet type bomb explosive. She managed to survive but wakes up 12 years after. Upon waking up, she discovers that she had a child with Michael and the child’s name was Subject 2. It was through Subject 2 that the Lycans managed to develop an immunity against their weaknesses and managed to evolve their species into more powerful and bigger werewolves that can metamorph more easily than ever.
So what made this movie great? For me, more than the action scenes it was the fact that the movie was consistent to the theme of vampires versus werewolves. It was interesting to add another new character, a love child born out of Michael and Selene. And it was even more interesting to see that Subject 2 became the first hybrid child because prior to her existence, it seems that they never thought that it was possible for a vampire to give birth to children. There was only one pure bred vampire — Alexander Corvinus and this was established in the second movie of the series. Subject 2 now becomes the first hybrid born vampire/werewolf. The more I think about it, the more I realize that the story uses fantasy/occult to weave a love story that stems from Shakespearean plays. Two star-crossed lovers amid their clans that have a grudge match to the death. And only few friends in-between willing to help this new family — Selene [the daywalker vampire], Michael the first hybrid vampire/werewolf and Subject 2 [I wish they would give her a name in the following movie] — the first hybrid child. In history, the union of two families would mean a ceasefire of sorts and a semblance of peace. In UNDERWORLD AWAKENING, it seems that the scars run far deeper between the two clans — between the vampires and the werewolves. The hurt runs deeper than the union that could unite them. What happened now is their war against each other continues with a new twist — humans knowing the reality of vampires and werewolves and knowing how to deal with them. It’s one thing to waken up to a nightmare. But this is the world were UNDERWORLD is set in its latest installment.