Kate Beckinsale is rarely acknowledged as an action star whose credentials in the genre rival Sigourney Weaver’s, but she should be.
She held off wolves, vampires and assorted snarling lowlifes in Underworld (2003) and its underrated sequel, Evolution (2006). She forcefully avoided becoming the star of Frank Whaley’s next snuff film in the scrappy thriller Vacancy (2007). And early in Whiteout, long before she’s called on to tame a masked killer, she gamely hops in the shower, dutifully pandering to her male demographic.
Don’t bother trying to understand the curious logic of Daybreakers, in which the world of the not-too-distant future is overrun with vampires and mankind teeters on the brink of extinction.
It’s a familiar scenario, treated oh-so-seriously by Australian directors Michael and Peter Spierig, whose no-budget 2005 debut, Undead, was sloppy but diverting enough to earn them a call-up to the bigs. This time they’ve upped the ante with expensive-looking CGI, handsome cinematography and a veteran cast featuring Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe, and the improvement is marked.