Many compare the Underworld franchise with the Resident Evil franchise, and you can see why. They both feature a badass female lead gifted with some remarkable powers. Speaking about the actual franchises, they both received weak reviews, while making an impressive amount of money. Loyal fan bases flock to each new installment, and there's no signs of either series slowing down, with the #ResidentEvil franchise looking to reboot, and a sixth #Underworld in development.
If there's one thing consistent with each series, it's the action sequences that continue to ramp up in scale and style.
Blood Wars recently came out on home media, and it's even better now. Packing one of the biggest action sequences of the franchise, it made me think just how much excitement is in this series, as well as copious amounts of curdling gore and Lycan versus vampire goodness!
Check out my previous article focusing on Resident Evil:
Alas, it's now time to look at some of the bloodiest, boldest and biggest sequences from the moody Underworld franchise. Now, you can guarantee that every single moment in this list is going to be filled with lots and lots of gunfire, sword fights and a lot of roaring — Underworld doesn't do anything quietly. Check out my choices for the finest moments of this bloody series!
10. The Battle — Rise Of The Lycans
This series is well known for its deep blues, moody purples, harsh whites and dark greys, and this third film really goes for the darker aesthetic. When the Lycans rise up at the finale, Lucian and his army of slave Lycans fight back in a violent and formidable attack. Wild werewolves leap into the scene, blood comes in gallons and the vampire elders and their aides are killed — rightly so after much Lycan oppression.
Michael Sheen really sells his dedication in this role as Lucian, and whenever he shares a scene with Bill Nighy, the two ignite the screen, particularly when they have a face off right at the end involving some brutal sword plunges to the body.
9. Sonja’s Death — Rise Of The Lycans
Action packed this franchise may be, it still has a heart. In the prequel to the series, forbidden lovers Sonja and Lucian are caught and bound, unable to move. Lucian is forced to watch his love burn to death by sunlight at the hands of the elders. Sonja screams and slowly disintegrates as the sunlight turns her to a crisp. While it's not the most memorable relationship onscreen, I still felt for Lucian. Plus, Rhona Mitra has great onscreen presence.
8. Killing Viktor — Underworld
Betrayed and lied to by those she held close, Selene gets a thirst for blood and vengeance when she decapitates vampire elder who killer her family, Viktor, played by suitably theatrical Bill Nighy.
In a striking moment, Selene grabs a sword, leaps mid-air and swiftly slices Viktor through the face. She lands elegantly and turns dramatically to see Viktor's face slide off his neck. That's what you get when you've killed the family of this renowned Death Dealer.
7. On The Run — Blood Wars
The previous four films showed Selene as a fearless, capable, resourceful and cold-blooded weapon. What's so refreshing about Blood Wars is the fact we get to see Selene fearful, scared and on the run. After a franchise recap to start the film, we see Selene fleeing from Lycans. She does not care about seeing the passing of a special moon, as she has lived way beyond her time. Her daughter is gone, as is her lover — Selene has lost everything. At one point you actually hear Selene, crying out "LEAVE ME ALONE!" Who would've thought such a fearless warrior would be the one running in terror? Fantastic! Though, we soon get to see her killer instincts kick in as she returns a lashing of violence to Lycan oppressors in a tunnel.
6. Selene And Michael Versus Marcus — Evolution
Set design is the real star here in the climax of Evolution. Len Wiseman's use of slow panning shots that traverse the ancient ruins of a fortress stir tension, the quietness and the snow flakes falling through the air envelope a weary Selene who is surrounded on all sides but cannot see the enemy.
Soon comes the barrage of action and noise, crashing in so violently your neighbors may call the police about noise complaints. Evolution's finale is a whopper — the Lycans are stronger than ever, and although Selene can handle it, she has tough opposition with Marcus, who likes to get stabby, as seen in the thumbnail above. The highlight of this scene sees Selene dive to safety in slow motion as a helicopter crashes through the fortress roof and into the bridge below. Cue wide eyes and dropped jaws!
5. The War — Blood Wars
Despite a surprisingly small budget, Blood Wars packs one of the biggest and most extravagant action sequences. In a proper Lycan versus vampire war, the two species literally collide in a coven. The scale of this scene is something to admire; you've never seen a sequence so big and epic in Underworld. The Lycans and vampires open fire upon each other relentlessly, bullets spray and the war cries are deafening, but who said war was quiet?
What's fascinating here is you actually get to see a sort of Lycan victory, as their assault is well planned out, using sunlight to kill the vampires. The body count is massive, that is, until the Nordic coven vampires enter the scene — director Anna Foerster handles this sequence brilliantly.
To top it all off, a reborn Selene morphs onto location, slicing and dicing Lycans before valiantly standing tall above the battle below, with a Nordic overcoat and frosted hair. This is one hell of a blood war, and there's plenty of blood shed here.
4. The Purge — Awakening
The fourth film in the series earns its hard-R rating within its first five minutes. Selene, faced with the military purging both vampire and Lycan species, attempts to flee the city and meet Michael at a harbor to get to safety. Along the way, Selene tosses a guard off a balcony, brutally turns a soldier's body inwards — breaking his back and warping his spine in a teeth-gritting moment — uses a gun to stab another soldier before mushing his face and then tossing another guard at a brick wall. It's all in a days work for the sexy Death Dealer. Style and spectacle become the center piece when Selene flips over a flamethrower blast, and then 3D becomes a key player as throwing blades launch out the screen with force!
Awakening is definitely action heavy, as Selene's escape during this epic opening finds her breaking out of containment. This film assaults and attacks from every direction.
3. Forest Fight — Evolution
In the worst rated film of the series, Evolution finds Beckinsale given a more action-heavy role as Selene. This film is loud and relentless, though it falls into the fatal trap of exposition-heavy scenes that can be a trek to get through. Thankfully, the bursts of adrenaline in this sequel get the blood pumping substantially, particularly in the first act, when Selene jumps into the scene, attacking a force of policeman in a dingy forest. Dodging bullets, flipping bodies and delivering near-fatal blows to these bumbling cops, this moment alone tells you Selene isn't to be messed with, especially when you get a glimpse of her hopping through the shrubbery at lightning speeds.
2. Selene Versus Marius — Blood Wars
A vengeful Marius confronts a reborn Selene, and with her new powers, she surprises the cunning and motivated Marius by disappearing and reappearing at will. In a moment of pure overkill that left me grinning due to such utter absurdity, Selene unloads an assault of bullets with two badass machine pistols into Marius, throws the guns down and grabs another set — unleashing a hailstorm of bullets — as the Lycan leader stumbles, taking several bullets to the body and face, before ending with Selene firing a full-on machine gun at his mouth.
No music and no CGI heavy shots here, this is just two enemies battling it out, and it's spectacular; the sound design is so aggressive you cannot help but smile at this shoot 'em up sequence! Oh, and Selene rips out Marius' spine to end it all, so there's that too.
1. Antigen Assault — Awakening
Motivated by the survival of her hybrid daughter, Selene launches a full-scale assault on the Antigen facility, run by a small army of Lycans. Assisted by the not-so-helpful Detective Sebastian, Selene does all the heavy lifting, and the look of devotion and fierceness in Beckinsale's face sells this scene.
Bombs explode, wiping out squads of Lycans in an array of gorgeous, slow-motion shots. Lycans scale walls in pursuit of Selene, who open fires her seemingly endless machine pistol rounds into the faces of Lycans. One of the coolest moments sees her stuck at the bottom of an elevator shaft, forced to shoot the rear of a falling elevator so she can safely take the impact.
The 3D launches bullets, Lycan faces and glass straight towards you, immersing you in this wicked finale. One totally awe-inspiring shot sees Selene slide under a table in slow-motion, dodging soaring bullets as she returns fires, delivering blood-trickling headshots to Antigen enemies. Just when you thought this scene couldn't get any bigger, her hybrid daughter Eve rips the throat out of main antagonist Jacob Lane while Theo James's David returns to help with a modified shotgun he uses as a blade. The choreography and inventiveness comes together to create one very violent and non-stop climax, albeit with all the gore and Underworld visual aesthetic you could ask for!
Which of these Underworld moments was your favorite?