- The Washington Times - Friday, April 28, 2017

The never-ending war between vampire and werewolf returned to theaters last year in yet another sequel (that’s five movies in total) for a long-of-the-fang franchise.

Now ready to take a bite into the 4K UHD lovers’ precious time, the fantasy horror drama Underworld: Blood Wars(Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, rated R, 91 minutes, 2.40:1 aspect ratio, $45.95) offers the return of the icy but perpetually gorgeous Kate Beckinsale as the assassin Selene, a vampiric female killing machine hunted by her own kind and lycan due to her habit of spreading death around her.

Besides more killing this time out, she has hidden her hybrid daughter Eve from both sides looking to harvest the child’s blood. Selene is now on the run with an elder vampire’s son named David (Theo James) as they seek sanctuary with the frosty Nordic Coven before dealing with another series of attacks from their supernatural enemies.

More of a made-for-TV movie than blockbuster, the film sucks the life out of viewers through long-winded dialogue passages and dimly lit action sequences crammed into its abbreviated run time.

Only a final, too-brief, bloody confrontation featuring an army of those Nordic vampires versus werewolves, incorporating sword play and use of a massive gun, stands out and should guarantee fanatics of the series will devour the latest chapter.

4K UHD in action: It’s hard to admire the upscaling of the 2K source material to the ultra high-definition format with a high-dynamic range when most of the movie takes place after sundown and in dingy environments (that dang creatures-of-the-night dilemma).

However, the disc has its moments.

Specifically, fans will appreciate the dynamic detail of a vampire dissolving into burning embers after being shot by an ultraviolet bullet; Selene and David climbing a snow wall, while the great-looking Northern Lights glow above them; a werewolf getting split in half; and a bloody spinal column ripped from the back of an enemy.

Not so great is being too acutely aware of a pair of hair strands swinging like a pendulum in front of Selene’s face for most of the movie. Dang lady, get that coif under control.

Best extras: Viewers must go the Blu-ray disc to find roughly 30 minutes of featurettes about the production.

Most intriguing is the 8-minute segment that quickly covers the film history of the famed Death Dealer Selene with support from previous movie clips, interview snippets with Miss Beckinsale, and gushes from her co-stars and director Anna Foerster.

The segment gives away most of the movie, so don’t watch until after the main event. Most disturbing moment is a producer threatening a sixth “Underworld” movie.

Another extra worth mentioning is access to a virtual copy of the entire 78-page, sequential-art adaptation of the movie by Darkstorm Comics.

Now, although I still appreciate reading a comic book, trying to flip through pages with my controller and reading dialogue bubbles of sequential-art panels on even a 65-inch screen was near impossible.

The book would have been much better served if offered as a motion comic for the passive viewer or delivered as a code for download on any popular tablet device.

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