After sitting out most of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans the 2009 “prequel” to the Underworld saga Kate Beckinsale returns to her trademark role as the face of the blockbuster action-horror franchise in Underworld: Awakening. The film finds Beckinsale’s vampire heroine Selene waking up in a research facility after a dozen years in hibernation whereupon she discovers that both vampires and lycans the traditional adversaries of the Underworld universe are now nearly extinct – “cleansed ” as it were by us good-old humans – and that her 12-year-old daughter Eve (India Eisley) is imperiled. It seems that both the dreaded lycans and a mad scientist named Dr. Jacob Lane (poor Stephen Rea) are after the girl on account of her special DNA.
All of which is meant to provide a serviceable backdrop for a good 85 minutes or so of relentless carnage orchestrated with relish by the Swedish directing tandem of Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein and meted out dutifully by Beckinsale. Nine years after she first portrayed Selene the actress appears as comfortable as ever in her familiar black leather as she carves through waves of monstrous creatures and hapless henchmen performing the odd acrobatic feat to better position herself for the killing blow. The bloodlust occasionally pauses to allow Beckinsale a moment to emote over lost love or seek a fleeting bond with her offspring but soon more CGI beasts arrive on hand and the soulless slaughter hastily recommences. Gorehounds hungry for splatter will delight at the myriad ways Underworld: Awakening finds to depict an exploding skull (in fabulous brain-bursting IMAX 3D!) but in the end they’re likely the only ones who’ll leave the theater sated.
Universal is moving forward with an adaptation of Robert Ludlum's The Janson Directive, Deadline.com reports. Screenwriter John Hlavin (Underworld Awakening) has been hired to adapt the novel, published a year after the Bourne scribe's 2001 death, which tells the story of a covert operative whose efforts to rescue a kidnapped billionaire go horribly awry, leaving him targeted for termination. Ben Smith and Jeffrey Weiner will produce through their Captivate Entertainment banner.
The next installment in the Bourne saga, The Bourne Legacy, opens August 3, 2012. Click below for more images of Bourne Legacy star Jeremy Renner:
John Hlavin will write the script for the board game adaptation Risk. Needless to say he’s a hell of lot luckier than the guy who got assigned the View-master movie (and hopefully smarter than whoever turned Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots into Real Steel). Hlavin worked on The Shield and penned the upcoming fourth Underworld movie so Risk seems to be in capable hands.
It also seems the obvious choice for a board game to adapt (probably even more so than the forthcoming Battleship) although I never played it since I was too busy playing Pokemon picking up girls . But screaming at your brother and throwing the pieces across the room and combining it with the gruesome nature of war? I can identify with that. Well the arguing with your brother part at least.
December 17, 2010 10:12am EST
I admire James Mangold's body of work immensely. He's jumped from genre to genre since making his first film, Heavy, fifteen years ago. Between now and then he's tackled police dramas (Copland), psychological thrillers (Identity), romantic comedies (Kate & Leopold), biopics (Walk The Line), Westerns (the remake of 3:10 To Yuma) and - most recently - all-out actioners (Knight & Day). For his next gig, he'll combine the latter pair of film-types for New Regency's revenge thriller The Gunslinger.
The Hollywood Reporter says the film, written by John Hlavin (upcoming Underworld 4), is described as a contemporary Western and centers on an ex-Texas Ranger who sets out to punish the men who killed his brother. So basically someone at New Regency thought that they could one-up Dwayne Johnson's Thanksgiving turkey Faster and hired a revered filmmaker to make it happen.
I'm happy to see Mangold get another deal as he's one of my favorite directors in the business right now, but this isn't the film that I'd hoped he would make next. There's only so far that even a quality auteur can take a contrived high concept action thriller. We've seen this movie a hundred times before and I fear that The Gunslinger will become just another forgettable shoot'em up flick. It's all up to the script and as Hlavin hasn't written anything of note to date, I'm very skeptical about this movie as of now.