The latest Underworld, directed by newcomer Anna Foerster, has received brutal reviews (fangs out!), but it's actually not the worst thing ever -- that would be 2012's Underworld: Awakening.
This time out, Kate Beckinsale's Selene and her vampire cohort, David (Theo James), are trying to prevent Marius (Tobias Menzies), a power-mad Lycan leader, and Semira (Lara Pulver), an equally ambitious vampire diva, from getting their teeth into Selene's long-lost daughter, whose vamp/wolf mixed blood is the prize of prizes.
Devoted Underworld fans (and they are legion) will find heaps of new vampire/Lycan lore to parse, and the action is nonstop, though wildly inconsistent. Forester doesn't seem to know what to do with a castle jammed with angry wolves and vamps; she's much better with Selene's intimate final showdown with Marius. That fight takes place atop a snowy Nordic mountain near the Northern Lights, and the possibility that the setting was inspired by Frozen is the only interesting thing about this movie.
Beyond the sight of Beckinsale slaying her enemies while clad in a black latex bodysuit, the ongoing appeal of the Underworld series surely lies in it villains, vampire and werewolf alike, and the absurdly overqualified British actors who play them. For Marius, the evil Lycan leader of the newest film, Forester has enlisted Tobias Menzies, whom she directed in several episodes of the cable series Outlander. Wildly talented, Menzies should be just the spark to bring Underworld back to life, but it doesn't happen. Screenwriter Cory Goodman (The Last Witch Hunter) isolates Marius from Selene and the other major players so that Menzies is left adrift, like a great fighter without a worthy sparring partner.