There are certain types of movies that really shouldn’t be compared to deep and thoughtful Oscar-bait, and they need to be looked at by how they fit into their own genre. Popcorn flicks, which is where the Underworld (and Resident Evil) movies fit, are one genre like that. These movies will never be up for any sort of prestigious award as they simply exist to be fun distractions with a big tub of buttered popcorn.
It’s been five years since the last Underworld movie (Awakening), and as such Blood Wars begins with a pretty good recap of the first three movies with Kate Beckinsale’s Selene. The third movie, the Prequel rise of the Lycans, isn’t really referenced here outside of some quick flashbacks to that time. Those who didn’t see the first few movies in the series will be brought up to speed before the title even appears on screen and Blood Wars resembles something of a start of a new trilogy. It’s almost Underworld: The Force Awakens, and I’ll explain why in a minute.
Set after Awakening, Selene is an outcast from both the Vampire covens and the Lycans. But there’s something both sides want, and that’s her pure-blood hybrid daughter Eve who she sent into hiding and doesn’t know where she is. In Blood Wars, Eve is the Luke Skywalker of The Force Awakens. The McGuffin you spend the entire movie hearing about but don’t see until the end.
Blood Wars introduces a Nordic coven of Vampires, and a new more powerful Lycan leader. There’s really not much depth here. They just need to build up to a big fight between the Vampires and Lycans. You get that and in the end Selene gets some new powers and there’s definitely a setup for a sixth Underworld movie.
Vampires vs Warewolves is a very hard concept to mess up, and as far as Underworld movies go, Blood Wars is definitely better than Awakening was. It revitalizes the series and gives it somewhere to go in the sixth movie. You’re not going to see people heaping awards and praise on this one, but if you’ve enjoyed the series over the last fourteen years it’s a good entry to waste a Saturday morning matinee with.