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Anna Foerster
Kate Beckinsale, Theo James, Charles Dance
Writing Credits:
Cory Goodman

Vampire death dealer Selene fights to end the eternal war between the Lycan clan and the Vampire faction that betrayed her.

Box Office:
$35 million.
Opening Weekend
$13,688,751 on 3070 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English Dolby Atmos
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Descriptive Audio Service
French DTS-HD MA 5.1
Quebecois French Dolby 5.1
German DTS-HD MA 5.1
Italian Dolby 5.1
Spanish DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

91 min.
Price: $95.99
Release Date: 10/26/2021
Available Only As Part of “5-Movie Collection”

• “The Evolution of Selene” Featurette
• “Old & New Blood” Featurette
• “The Evil Evolded” Featurette
• “Building a Blood War” Featurette
• Graphic Novel
• Franchise Recap
• Trailers & Previews
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X800 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Underworld: Blood Wars [4K UHD] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 14, 2021)

From the release of the first film in 2003 to the fourth chapter in 2012, we got a new Underworld movie every three years. However, fans had to wait four years for the fifth film, 2016’s Underworld: Blood Wars.

Before I first viewed Blood Wars, I saw the first and fourth Underworld films, and neither of which did a lot for me. Hope springs eternal, though – the franchise always showed promise, so I thought perhaps Blood Wars might finally give me an Underworld adventure that I could embrace.

As depicted in prior films, vampires and werewolves – called “Lycans” here - remain locked in a literal eternal struggle. The Lycans near the defeat of their ancient foes, and their leader Marius (Tobias Menzies) believes he can finish them off if he can use the powers of a Vampire/Lycan hybrid named Eve.

The kicker: Eve is the daughter of noted Vampire “death dealer” Selene (Kate Beckinsale), someone who feels betrayed by both sides of the struggle. Selene does her part to attempt to end the war.

Frankly, I’m astonished the Underworld franchise lasted as long as it did. None of the first four films did great box office, and Blood Wars failed to reverse this trend. Perhaps the movies moved enough units on home video to justify their expansion, but their big screen sales never seemed impressive.

Which makes sense given the lackluster quality of the films themselves. Like I indicated, my prior experiences with the series failed to do much for me, and Blood Wars didn’t change that stance.

When I initially saw it, I watched Blood Wars right after I viewed the original Underworld for the first time in years, and I will say this: the franchise boasts a high level of consistency. I would expect some stylistic or cinematic changes over the 13 years and handful of movies since the 2003 debut, but Blood Wars matches the tone and feel of the original surprisingly well.

I might credit this as a greater success if I liked the first movie more, but given my lack of enthusiasm for Underworld - or any of the others - I can’t express much delight in the consistency. Back in 2003, I believed that the “werewolves vs. vampires” concept offered the potential for drama and excitement, and I still think that, but Blood Wars continues to fail to explore the themes in a satisfying manner.

That means a storyline that doesn’t go anywhere. While the Underworld universe aspires to grandiose, epic dimensions, the result always feels bland and tentative. No matter how seriously everyone involved seems to take the material, Blood Wars never threatens to deliver interesting characters or compelling situations.

And boy, do all the participants treat the subject matter seriously! I guess I respect the commitment to the material, as I prefer a straight approach to one in which those involved wink at the camera, but I can’t help but wish Blood Wars offered the occasional sense of lightness or levity.

It doesn’t, as instead, the movie remains persistently dour and dull. We never invest in the characters or their development, and the action seems bland at best. No matter how hard the filmmakers attempt to gussy up the fights, they feel half-hearted and perfunctory.

14 years into the franchise, one might hope that the visual effects would show improvements, but if anything, they’ve regressed. I’d blame this on budgetary restrictions, but the original Underworld only cost $22 million in 2003, so the $35 million for Blood Wars in 2016 seems comparable.

Wherever the blame lies, the effects remain poor. Various supernatural creatures look cartoony and take us out of the movie whenever they appear.

Or they would distract us from the narrative if we cared about the story in the first place. But we don’t, as Blood Wars offers an overwrought, sluggish enterprise with little charm or excitement on display.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C-

Underworld: Blood Wars appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. No issues developed in this pleasing presentation.

Sharpness seemed positive. A smidgen of softness appeared at times, but the majority of the movie displayed clear, accurate images.

No signs of shimmering or jaggies occurred, and the movie lacked edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to mar the transfer.

The prior Underworld films focused on a heavy blue tint, and that continued to be the case with this one. Within those parameters, the hues looked appropriate, and HDR brought a little extra heft to the tones.

Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows showed good clarity – important given that this may be the most dimly-lit Underworld flick of them all.

HDR brought some added power to whites and contrast, though the aforementioned intense darkness of the image made those less prominent when compared to other Underworld entries. Overall, this was a positive image that deserved a “B+”.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the Dolby Atmos soundtrack of Blood Wars seemed positive, though not quite as ambitious as prior films. This meant that the soundscape opened up pretty well for its action scenes, but I thought it felt less active than in the past.

Nonetheless, the mix offered a nice array of fight sequences, and those managed to expand the horizons in a compelling manner, as various elements meshed well and filled the room. Music showed good presence as well, so this turned into a very good soundscape.

Audio quality remained strong, with speech that sounded concise and distinctive. Music showed nice range and heft, while effects appeared accurate and full, with deep bass response. The soundtrack brought a good sense of sizzle to the proceedings.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? The Atmos audio expanded the prior track’s horizons in a moderate manner.

A native 4K production, the UHD felt a bit better defined and broader than the Blu-ray. That said, the movie came with such a dark image that improvements became less prominent than I might expect, as a lot of potential upgrades literally got lost in the shadows. Still, the 4K became the most accurate version of the movie.

In addition to two trailers, the 4K includes a Franchise Recap. It runs three minutes, 30 seconds and provides exactly what it states: a summary of the first four movies.

Actually, it ignores Rise of the Lycans, which brought a prequel, and mostly covers the first flick and Awakening, without much related to Evolution. Anyone who watches Blood Wars probably already knows this material, but it seems like an inoffensive addition.

More extras appear on the included Blu-ray copy, where we find a handful of featurettes. We open with The Evolution of Selene. It runs eight minutes, nine seconds and offers comments from producers Tom Rosenberg, Richard Wright and Gary Lucchesi, director Anna Foerster, and actors Kate Beckinsale, Theo James, Charles Dance, Clementine Nicholson, and Daisy Head.

We get notes about the development of Selene across five movies as well as aspects of Beckinsale’s performances. Not much information appears in this largely superficial overview.

During the six-minute, 15-second Old and New Blood, we hear from Wright, Lucchesi, Foerster, James, Nicholson, Dance, and actor Peter Andersson. “Blood” looks at returning and new characters as well as the actors who play them. Like “Evolution”, the featurette lacks much informational value.

The Evil Evolved goes for six minutes, seven seconds and features Head, Foerster, Wright, and actors Lara Pulver, Bradley James, Tobias Menzies and James Faulkner. This one continues the trend of its predecessors, as it looks at more supporting characters/actors. It also fails to deliver much of merit.

Lastly, Building a Blood War fills 12 minutes, three second with info from Foerster, Lucchesi, Rosenberg, Wright, Beckinsale, Pulver, Nicholson, Andersson, executive producer/VFX supervisor James McQuaide, production designer Ondrej Nekvasil, and costume designer Bojana Nikitovic.

“War” looks at Foerster’s impact on the production, visual effects, locations and set design, and costumes. “War” offers the most informative of the featurettes, as it gives us some good notes about production areas.

We also find a graphic novel rendition of Blood War. This uses a still frame format to show the comic book in question. It offers an interesting take on the material and is worth a look.

The disc opens with ads for Spider-Man: Homecoming, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, Trainspotting 2, Resident Evil: Vendetta and Life.

Five films into the franchise, Underworld: Blood Wars offers the same old, same old. The movie offers little in the way of thrills or drama, as it plods along without much forward momentum. The 4K UHD presents very good picture and audio as well as a smattering of minor supplements. Blood Wars offers a forgettable affair.

To rate this film, visit the original review of UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS

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