Underworld: Awakening is a gorehound's wet dream

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Starring Kate Beckinsale, Stephen Rea, and Theo James. Rated 18A.

It’s been 10 years since British hottie Kate Beckinsale suited up in a skin-tight black-leather jumpsuit to portray Underworld’s Selene, a "death dealer" vampire bent on viciously obliterating any Lycans (werewolves) she can find--unless she falls in love with them first. The actress turns 40 next year, but judging by her blood-splattering performance in Underworld: Awakening she shows no signs of wimping out with age. Fangoria might as well shine up that Chainsaw Award in the Female Killing-Machine category.

A gorehound’s wet dream in a bluish palette, the fourth entry in the action-horror series picks up with Selene escaping, naked, from the cryogenic sleep she’s been in for 12 years courtesy sad-faced scientist Dr. Jacob Lane (Stephen Rea). Before you can say "What’s your rush?" she wiggles into her fabled jumpsuit and shit-kicker knee-high boots and uses her superhuman speed and one good knife to slit the throats of six armed men in three seconds flat.

Soon after that tone-setting slaughter Selene comes in contact with fellow vampire-warrior David (hunky Theo James) and tween vampire/Lycan hybrid Eve (India Eisley). The rest of the film has Selene valiantly trying to protect Eve from marauding werewolves and the increasingly mad doctor Lane, who wants her back in the lab for immediate dissection.

There are some painfully absurd moments in Underworld: Awakening, like the one where an attacking Lycan crashes through the windshield of a speeding van and gets David’s arm caught in its mouth, yet stubbornly refuses to bite down. Fortunately the kinetic, non-stop 3D action and the sheer ferocity of the battling monsters keeps you immersed enough in the maelstrom of violence to give such overt silliness a pass.

Then again, not everybody wants to see a movie that uses flashbacks of a guy’s head getting diagonally sliced in half, so that the top part slides clean off, revealing all that brainy goodness within.

You can follow Steve Newton on Twitter at twitter.com/earofnewt.

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