Underworld: Blood Wars
|Underworld: Blood Wars|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Anna Foerster|
|Screenplay by||Cory Goodman|
by Kevin Grevioux
|Music by||Michael Wandmacher|
|Cinematography||Karl Walter Lindenlaub|
|Edited by||Peter Amundson|
|Distributed by||Screen Gems|
|Box office||$81.1 million|
Underworld: Blood Wars is a 2016 American action horror film directed by Anna Foerster (in her feature film directorial debut). It is the fifth installment in the Underworld franchise and the sequel to Underworld: Awakening (2012), with Kate Beckinsale reprising her role as Selene. The main cast also includes Theo James, Lara Pulver, Tobias Menzies, Bradley James, Peter Andersson, James Faulkner, Clementine Nicholson, Daisy Head, Oliver Stark, and Charles Dance.
Principal photography began on October 19, 2015, in Prague, Czech Republic. The film was released on November 24, 2016, in various countries and was subsequently released in the United States on January 6, 2017, by Screen Gems. It received generally negative reviews and has grossed over $81 million worldwide, against its production budget of $35 million.
The remaining vampire covens are on the verge of being wiped out by the Lycans. Both species are searching for Selene: the vampires seeking justice for the death of Viktor and the Lycans, led by Marius, intending to use her to locate Eve, whose blood holds the key to building an army of vampire-werewolf hybrids.
Semira, a council member of the Eastern Coven, says she wants Selene to be granted clemency so that she can train the Eastern Coven's neophyte Death Dealers. To that end, Semira enlists Thomas to plead Selene's case before the full council who reluctantly agree to pardon Selene in exchange for her help. Thomas succeeds and Selene arrives at the Eastern Coven with David. Semira has her ally and lover Varga poison Selene, then slaughter the Death Dealers and blame Selene for it. Once Selene is under arrest, Semira begins draining her blood, which she intends to drink to gain Selene's power. Thomas and David try to rescue Selene, but they're attacked by Semira and Varga. They kill Thomas, but not before he's able to hold them off long enough for David and Selene to escape.
The pair seeks refuge with the Nordic Coven. They are pursued by Alexia, an Eastern Coven vampire dispatched by Semira. Selene and David arrive at Var Dohr, the stronghold of the Nordic Coven. Their Elder Vidar reveals that David was the son of the High Elder Amelia, making him the legitimate heir to the Eastern Coven.
Alexia, who is secretly Marius's lover, tells Marius that Selene is going to the Nordic Coven. Marius and the Lycans attack the Nordic Coven. The Nordic vampires, led by Vidar's daughter Lena, fight alongside Selene and David. Selene engages in single combat with Marius, who demands to know Eve’s location. Selene insists she does not know the location, which Alexia confirms after tasting some of Selene's blood. Marius sounds the retreat for his troops and Selene, wishing to pass on to the sacred world, slides herself under the now-broken ice of the lake.
Upon Alexia's return to the Eastern Coven's castle, she informs Semira of the events at the Nordic Coven. Semira kills her, revealing she knew of Alexia's treachery, and wanted Alexia to lead the Lycans to the Nordic Coven for her own ends. David returns to the Eastern Coven and presents himself as its rightful heir. Semira is arrested by none other than Varga, whose ultimate loyalty is to the rightful leadership of the coven. She is subsequently imprisoned in the dungeons.
The coven comes under attack by Marius and his forces. The Lycans blow holes in the castle's walls, letting in sunlight, killing some vampires. David continues fighting, only to find himself face to face with Marius. Selene suddenly reappears, in a Nordic appearance and coat over her normal Death Dealer uniform. It is revealed that the Nordic Coven revived her through their passing to sacred world ritual and in doing so new abilities like enhanced speed are enabled. She swiftly begins dispatching the Lycans, as the rest of the Nordic Coven, led by Lena, join the fight.
While Selene is making her way through the castle, the guards in the dungeons are killed by Semira, who then escapes from her cell. Selene and David find Marius, but David is waylaid by Semira. As Marius and Selene's fight continues, a drop of Marius's blood lands on Selene's lips. She is suddenly flooded by a series of blood memories in which Marius finds Michael. She sees Marius capturing Michael and slitting his throat in order to collect his blood and consume it. Believing that Michael is dead, she bites her own wrist, using her own blood memories of the time she has spent with Michael, Eve, and David. Although Marius has transformed, Selene rips out his spine, killing him instantly. Semira drank Selene's blood that she collected earlier and gained immunity to sunlight, but David manages to kill her while she was distracted with glee from the sunlight falling on her. He shows Marius's severed head to the Lycans, and forcefully tells them to retreat.
In the aftermath, Selene, David, and Lena are chosen as the new Elders. It is revealed that after being resurrected at the Nordic Coven, Selene was reunited with Eve, who has been following her mother through their telepathic link.
- Kate Beckinsale as Selene, a Death Dealer
- Theo James as David, a Vampire hybrid and Selene's protégé and ally.
- Lara Pulver as Semira, a fiercely ambitious Vampire.
- Tobias Menzies as Marius, a Lycan leader.
- Bradley James as Varga, the Eastern Coven's leading Death Dealer.
- Peter Andersson as Vidar, the elder of the Nordic Coven
- James Faulkner as Cassius
- Clementine Nicholson as Lena, the Nordic Coven's greatest warrior and daughter of Vidar.
- Daisy Head as Alexia, a neophyte Death Dealer from the Eastern Coven and Marius's vampire lover
- Oliver Stark as Gregor
- Charles Dance as Thomas, a Vampire Elder and David's father.
Trent Garrett portrays Michael Corvin, a Lycan-Vampire Hybrid, and Selene's lover. Michael along with his daughter, Eve, are also Alexander Corvinus' distant descendants. Garrett replaces Scott Speedman, who played the role in two of the previous four films. Speedman appears in archival footage from Underworld and Underworld: Evolution for key scenes in Blood Wars. Sveta Driga portrays Amelia, replacing Zita Görög, who played the role in the first two films, following her retirement from acting. Görög appears in archival footage from Underworld: Evolution for several key scenes in Blood Wars. India Eisley, who portrayed Eve in the fourth film, appears in archival footage from that film. Eve is portrayed in Blood Wars by a stand-in.
On August 27, 2014, Lakeshore Entertainment announced their plans to develop a reboot of the Underworld franchise, with Cory Goodman hired to write the script for the first film. Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi were named as producers. The film was later confirmed to be a fifth entry in the series, rather than a reboot. Titled Underworld: Next Generation, the film was in production and set to be released 2015. Theo James, who appeared in the role of David in the fourth film, would return as the new lead. On October 12, 2014, director Len Wiseman told IGN that original Underworld lead Kate Beckinsale would be back for the film. On May 14, 2015, Anna Foerster signed on to make her directorial debut with the film, being the first woman to direct the film in the series, with Beckinsale confirmed to return. On August 14, it was announced by Deadline Hollywood that Tobias Menzies had been cast as Marius, a mysterious new Lycan leader. On September 9, Bradley James was cast as the male villain. Same day, newcomer Clementine Nicholson signed on to play Lena, the Nordic Coven's greatest warrior and daughter of Vidar. On September 22, Lara Pulver was added to the cast to play a fiercely ambitious Vampire. On October 19, Charles Dance was confirmed to return to play Vampire elder Thomas. Additional cast was also announced which included James Faulkner, Peter Andersson, and Daisy Head.
Principal photography on the film began on October 19, 2015, in Prague, Czech Republic, and was set to take place over ten weeks. The film's crew included cinematographer Karl Walter Lindenlaub, production designer Ondřej Nekvasil, costume designer Bojana Nikitović, and editor Peter Amundson. Filming wrapped up on December 11, 2015.
Initially the film was set for an October 21, 2016, release. After announcement about release delay, the film's earliest release date became November 24, 2016, when the film was released in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and Kazakhstan, followed by December 1, 2016, release in various countries such as El Salvador and Australia. It was released in the U.S. on January 6, 2017.
Underworld: Blood Wars grossed $30.4 million in the United States and Canada and $50.7 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $81.1 million, against a production budget of $35 million.
In North America, the film was expected to gross $15–19 million over its opening weekend. It went on to open to $13.7 million, down 49% from the previous installment, finished fourth at the box office and marking the lowest debut of the franchise. The film made $6.2 million in its second weekend and in its third was dropped from 1,604 theaters (the 105th biggest third-week theater decrease of all-time) and made $1.7 million.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 20% based on 86 reviews, with an average rating of 3.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Underworld: Blood Wars delivers another round of the stylized violence that the series is known for, but – like many fifth franchise installments – offers precious little of interest to the unconverted." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a score of 23 out of 100, based on 17 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
Rafer Guzman of Newsday called the film the weakest and most bloodless of the series, with "third-rate" special effects and "clunky" action scenes. Ben Kengisberg of the New York Times wrote that the film was "so heavy with exposition" that the director and screenwriter were making "a dissertation instead of a sequel", and criticized what he saw as the film's "almost willful lack of fun". Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that the film was a "generic, by-the-numbers" exercise that was "strictly anemic", given "all its talk of blood". He did praise the acting of Beckinsale and Dance, saying the presence of those Dance and others continued the tradition of distinguished British actors "appearing in Hollywood crap in lieu of receiving a proper pension".
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone was very negative in his review, writing that "scraping bottom would be a step up" for the film, and that the franchise "needs [a] stake through the heart". In a positive review, Owen Gleiberman of Variety wrote that it was "gun-blazing, body-splattering business as usual", and that the film made "a token stab at actual theatrical drama" in setup for the "action slaughter" that is "its own (numbing) reward". He also praised the performances of Beckinsale, Pulver, and especially, Dance.
Wiseman revealed that a sixth film is also in development with Beckinsale reprising her role as Selene. On September 13, 2018, Beckinsale confirmed she would not appear the sixth film slated: "I wouldn't return. I've done plenty of those.".
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