Screen Gems is clearly hoping to take advantage of the 2011 winter holiday season to generate more buzz for the fast-approaching release of Underworld Awakening, the fourth installment in the popular action/fantasy/horror saga headlined by Kate Beckinsale as everyone’s favorite catsuit-wearing, guns-blazin’, bone-cracking vampiress (or “death dealer”), Selene.

Not only has a new extended Underworld Awakening TV promo debuted; the studio behind the Underworld series has also unveiled a third trailer for the latest installment, along with an “Underworld Legacy” trailer that briefly recaps the major plot points in previous films – to promote both Awakening and the newly-released Underworld trilogy box set.

Awakening picks up with Beckinsale’s Selene more than fifteen years after Underworld Evolution. The deadly blue-eyed warrior escapes from being cryogenically frozen, only to discover a world where humanity now hunts vampires and lycans alike; moreover, a secret scientific organization has begun to engineer a race of “super lycans,” in the hopes of permanently eradicating both species.

There’s not really a ton of backstory to recount for Awakening (Harry Potter, the Underworld series definitely is not). Still, you can refresh your memory about what went down in previous installments by watching the “Underworld Legacy” trailer below, along with the third theatrical preview for Awakening thereafter:

Awakening directing duo Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein look to have delivered a pretty satisfactory new addition to the Underworld series, based on early footage. Plot and character development were never exactly this series’ forte, and that shouldn’t change with this new flick; hyper-realistic fight scenes, slick dark color hues, and, of course, Beckinsale’s ability to brutally kill her opponents while simultaneously filling out her trademark black leather outfit are the big selling points here. Hence the focus on nonstop action in the Awakening trailers to date.

The 3D element in preliminary Awakening footage has yet to really impress, but at least that technical aspect doesn’t seem so awkwardly in-your-face here as it has been in similar action movie franchise titles (Resident Evil: Afterlife, looking at you…). If nothing else, that should help to ensure the film rakes in enough cash in theaters to make the possibility of a fifth Underworld movie all the more likely – for better or for worse.

Underworld Awakening begins playing in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D theaters around the U.S. on January 20th, 2012.

Source: Screen Gems