Horror and action movie franchises tend to lend themselves well to multiple sequels, remakes, reboots and/or spinoffs. One has to look no further than the highly popular video game-based Resident Evil series (which has six films under its belt - Resident Evil: The Final Chapter opens early 2017) or The Final Destination series (five films) as proof of this statement. That popularity, combined with generally modest budgets, is the reason the Underworld: Blood Wars is entering the franchise as the fifth installment next year, with a sixth film allegedly in the works.
What started out as a reboot to the franchise was eventually retooled by Lakeshore Entertainment and Screen Gems to be a direct sequel to Underworld: Awakening, though only Kate Beckinsale (who's been the one constant throughout the entire franchise), Charles Dance and Theo James are returning for this movie. Joining them the sequel are Tobias Menzies (Outlander) as the main antagonist of the film, Marius, and Trent Garrett, who's standing in for motion-capture sequences as Selene's vampire/lycan hybrid lover Michael Corvin: a role formerly portrayed by Scott Speedman (xXx: State of the Union).
As in past films, Selene is a ferocious Death Dealer whose vampire-infused powers and skills (superhuman speed, agility, senses, strength, and healing) aid her with fighting Lycans and even other vampires from her own coven. This time though, she's attempting to end the eternal war between the dangerous Lycan clan and the Vampire faction that betrayed her - the House of Corvinus. There's no word on whether Selene and Michael's hybrid daughter, Eve, from Underworld: Awakening will return for the sequel.
The main draw to the Underworld franchise, besides all the bloody vampire or werewolf action, has been the leather-clad Kate Beckinsale, who always gives a performance as if she isn't in a run of the mill vampire action film. While critics generally give the Underworld films less-than-stellar reviews, audiences tend to be more forgiving, which explains why the franchise, as a whole, has brought in just over $450 million worldwide on a budget significantly lower than that.
However, even with the even-keeled performances of Beckinsale, and the writing skills of Kevin Grevioux (another constant for the franchise), there are two things to consider: 1 - The movie is being released in January (almost never a good sign for a film), and 2 - This will be Anna Foerster's first time directing a feature film. That's not to say either of those things definitely means Underworld: Blood Wars will be a let down, but using cinematic history as a measuring stick for future performances, it's at least something to keep in mind.
Underworld: Blood Wars was written Cory Goodman (The Last Witch Hunter) and Kevin Grevioux (I, Frankenstein), directed by Anna Foerster (Outlander) and stars Kate Beckinsale (Total Recall), Theo James (Divergent), Tobias Menzies (Game of Thrones), Lara Pulver (Edge of Tomorrow), and Charles Dance (Ghostbusters ).
Underworld: Blood Wars opens in U.S. theaters on January 6th, 2017.
Source: Sony Pictures