A genre that silently thrives, and has been for many years, is the supernatural/action genre. Long supported by franchises such as Underworld and Resident Evil, this B-movie genre has always been without edge or grit but relatively safe to watch. Last year saw the release of a long delayed entry of the genre Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters which, while relatively bad, managed to mildly entertain with dumb crudeness, a bit of gratuitous nudity and bloody action. I, Frankenstein follows the path of Underworld by being completely predictable. It`s a film that retells, and reinterprets, the story of Frankenstein as a lost soul, who has been cast out by all and who is in the middle of a holy war between Gargoyles (servants of God) and Demons. After marauding across the earth for 200 years, he re-emerges in modern society to confront his past and his creation.
It stars Aaron Eckhart as the titular character. While it seems that he is trying to portray a brooding and tragic creature, the film clearly only exists to showcase its action and thus the character is relatively boring and flat. The main villain is played by Bill Nighy, a really fun actor, and who is basically playing the same but less exciting character from the Underworld films. Yvonne Strahovski plays a modern scientist and ``companion” character to Eckhart’s character. Frankly, she too does what she can with such a meager script but, like the others, can’t do much. If you want to see her acting and inhabiting a better character the TV series Chuck is more recommendable. Other known actors in the film are Miranda Otto (the Lord of the Rings trilogy), and Jai Courtenay (A Good Day to Die Hard) who are both pretty forgetful, once again, through no fault of their own.
The overall look of the films feels reminiscent of Underworld, and results in a combination of Len Wiseman’s vision with a touch of Zack Snyder (a director who I admire greatly), but in a bad way. It feels generic, uninspired and frankly dull. The action sequences are the only enjoyment in the film, and they are competently done. The choreography and the cinematography of said fight sequences capture them well. Whenever the action subsides and makes way for the dialogue the film becomes pretty unbearable. The dialogue is awkward and serves primarily as expositional material that is expressed as quickly as possible to get back to “cool” shots with energetic music as well as the action sequences.
If you are a fan of the genre, do yourself a favor and go re-watch Underworld at home or play the video game Dark Siders. This film is exactly what you would expect: it is a relatively dull ride that picks itself up a bit during the action sequences but ultimately leaves you with no feeling of worth. All this is not to say that it is a horrendous abomination of a film, but merely that it is as mediocre and as conventional as they come: a true January film.