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Commentary: ‘Underworld’ series in deep on 4th film

Kate Beckinsale stars in ‘Underworld

Over the weekend I saw a movie poster advertising one of Kate Beckinsale’s new films, “Underworld: Awakening.” After seeing the ad, my mind was occupied with the thought of what fans could possibly expect to see from the fourth installment of the series, scheduled to be released Jan. 20.

What storyline could be extrapolated from the first two films that was not already covered in the third? Unfortunately, I do not own a smartphone, so I had to wait until I returned home to look up the movie trailer.

When I finally viewed the trailer, all I saw was Beckinsale as Selene doing her classic vampire-warrior action flips off of tall buildings, lots of people running in every direction and Beckinsale saying, “Where’s Michael?” (Michael is Selene’s half-vampire, half-lycan lover in the first two films.)

All I took from the trailer is that the new movie is going to be action-packed. I am skeptical about the release of the fourth film because I worry that all it has to offer are high-definition action scenes.

As a fan of Beckinsale and the “Underworld” saga, I am nervous that the new movie will lack the dark, intricate details and romantic subtleties that can be found in the other three “Underworld” films.

Ever since the first “Underworld” was released in 2003, there has been a new “Underworld” film every three years. With “Underworld: Awakening” coming out in 2012, I am unsure whether a new “Underworld” movie every three years is a coincidence or a poorly constructed marketing scheme. My mind leans more to the latter explanation because I cannot think of any other reason why the bigwigs in charge of the film’s production would agree to make another “Underworld movie.”

It is not as if there were dramatic loose ends in the previous films that need to be addressed in a new movie. And, for that matter, I thought “Rise of the Lycans” (the third installment and prequel of the series) was created to serve just that purpose.

At any rate, I am stumped for an answer. After seeing the new “Underworld” trailer, I fear that I will have the same feelings of disapproval and disappointment that I harbor for the “Resident Evil” films. They started out so good and then jumped the ship when they decided to cram tons of action shots and poor plots into the third and fourth movies.

The only light that I can see out of this meager tunnel is that Len Wiseman, who directed the first two “Underworld” films, is one of the writers for “Underworld: Awakening.” This is relieving because far too often, film sequels that are not written or directed by the original writers or directors of a series fail to incorporate the fine, important details of the first few films.

I hope that in “Underworld: Awakening,” Wiseman will continue to employ all the strong, dark and significant characteristics that resonated in the first three “Underworld” films.

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