My heart is not cold, it is broken.
The story for "Awakening" was really cool, I thought. Brings us back into the present (in a sense) after having delved into the vampire and lycan history to see the origin of the age-old feud. Immediately the movie starts out with an epic fight sequence in which, at one point, Selene stabs someone with a gun. That's right. Stabs. With. Gun. How awesome is that? I also loved the dark city environment. It was one of the best factors of the first movie, if you ask me. The directors (Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein) really did a great job of capturing a similar feeling to the first movie in the opening scene. Then later on in the movie, when Selene awakens to a new environment, it's somewhat the same feeling but subtly changed so you know that it's not the same time period. It's the future. Not a flying car, teleportation pad, kind of future, but one where enough has changed to make it clear that she's been sleeping for quite some time. Anyway, speaking of the story: I absolutely loved the direction they took with it. They used enough new quirks to make the vampire/lycan war still interesting. I liked that. It was a fresh direction, too. And I will say that the twist at the end was one that I didn't see coming until right when they started to place the final piece of the puzzle. I like that. Not many movies can throw a curve ball and catch me off guard, and the fact that "Awakening" managed to do it just adds another reason to the list of many reasons that I love this franchise.
Anyhow, we start out with Selene (Kate Beckinsale) narrating the past events of the series, aided by clips and footage from the previous installments. This narration leads right into an explanation of what has happened since the events of "Evolution." Humans have discovered the existence of both vampires and lycans, and instead of trying to understand these creatures, they just begin wiping them out everywhere. An event which the press and others have named "The Purge" is underway and Selene and Michael (Scott Speedman, I believe he was CGI'd into the film as he is uncredited and does not say much) are leaving the city to go into hiding. Marshal Law has been declared on vampires and lycans, and no one is to be left alive. When Michael and Selene reach their boat, they are ambushed by a battalion of soldiers sent to capture Michael, whom they know is a hybrid. In the ensuing battle Selene is knocked unconscious. She awakens 12 years later deep within the labs of a company named Antigen. She has no idea what has happened, and she is confused. But that just further adds to the fury behind being attacked by humans. After a daring escape, Selene teams up with a vampire named David (Theo James). Soon they are ambushed by sickly looking lycans. What are left of them, anyway. Forced to hide in the sewers, they're starved and shadows of their former selves. However somethings got them riled up, and soon Selene starts to see things through another's eyes. She follows these images to find a little girl, Subject 2 (India Eisley). There is no doubt in Selene's eyes that this girl, a hybrid, is her daughter. Michael's daughter. However Selene does not have any idea where Michael is or where to begin looking. And when she realizes that lycans are not nearly extinct, as everyone's been lead to believe. Not only are lycans pursuing her, but the doctor in charge of her being captured and held hostage in the Antigen labs, Dr. Jacob Lane (Stephen Rea), has plans to get her and her daughter back.
Kate Beckinsale IS Selene. She owns that role. Has right from the get-go. And now that she's done her third movie as Selene, I don't think she even has to try to get it down (much like Milla Jovovich as Alice Abernathy in the "Resident Evil" film series). I feel as if the breakthrough performance of the film, though, was India Eisley. Subject 2 had few lines throughout the movie, but there was enough of that character to make you easily remember. She played a scared little girl very well, but what you soon find out is that she is much more than that. She knows things, and she's not stupid. Nor is she innocent and weak. She is a hybrid from birth, the first of her kind, and though her power is new to her, she can use it when provoked, which makes her volatile, and Eisley got all these aspects of the character down great. I enjoyed her performance, and hopes she signs on for more because after that ending there's sure to be another sequel. Theo James and Michael Ealy both do great jobs as Selene's informants in this new world. They help her to get through things and piece together the last twelve years of her memory that she's lost. Excellent companions. Then of course there's Stephen Rea as the villain. Rea's a great actor, and his role in this movie is no different. Always glad to see him in a vampire film, too. Many remember his performance as Santiago in "Interview with the Vampire," and how could you forget it? Same is done here as Dr. Lane. You won't forget him.
Whether you loved or hated "Rise of the Lycans," you need to check out this latest installment of the series. Haters of "Rise" will love to see Selene back and kicking ass. And if you enjoyed the series, then why stop with "Rise?" Pick this up, sit back, and be wowed. The 3D adds to the fun if you've got 3D set-ups in your homes (as I do). Kate Beckinsale, vampires, lycans, guns, explosions, and hybrids? What more could you ask for? Definitely another solid entry in the series, and it's got my stamp of approval!