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Trailer Tracker: Underworld 4, Ghost Rider 2 and more

Two sequels to popular
mythological-based action flicks will christen our docket this week on Player
Affinity beginning with
Underworld: Awakening,
which marks the return of Kate Beckinsale and is the fourth entry in the
popular vampire/werewolf franchise. Next, four years
after
Ghost Rider was met with
lukewarm reception in 2007, Cage is back but with a whole new look thanks to
Crank directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor behind
the camera with
Ghost Rider: Spirit of
Vengeance
.

Elsewhere, Avatar’s Sam
Worthington plays a homicide detective in a based-on-true-events story. He teams up with a
New York City
cop (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to solve a series of unsolved murders in Texas Killing Fields. Finally, Gerard
Butler goes the Blood Diamond route
with the action/drama Machine Gun
Preacher
about a former career criminal who finds salvation helping young
children in war-torn
Sudan.
Come forward my children and hear my sermon — it’s Trailer Tracker.

 

New clips this week:
Underworld: Awakening
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Texas Killing
Fields
Machine Gun Preacher

 

Underworld: Awakening

After Underworld and Underworld:
Evolution
became favorites among horror and action fans alike, the
sensual female vampire lead, Seline, (played by Kate Beckinsale) unexpectedly
departed for the prequel Underworld: Rise
of the Licans
. Popularity, it seems, is fleeting, and the English beauty
starred in a string of low-key and ultimately forgettable fare. In this
continuation of the original modern storyline, we find Seline awakening (heh,
get it?) 12 years in the future to discover that werewolves and her blood-sucker
kind now face a common foe: humans, who have found out about the existence of
these creatures and seek to eradicate them forever. Scott Speedman, who played
the love interest in the first two films, will be the absentee this time round,
and with Michael Sheen and Bill Nighy long gone, let’s hope we can ride of the
charms of Beckinsale alone for part four.

underworld4pic

The “Underworld” series is
a personal favorite of mine, thanks in no small part to aforementioned thesps
Sheen and Nighy, but also do to the extensive interconnected lore and
back-story that has been crafted over the duration of the franchise. Toss in
gorgeous cinematography and crisp action and what’s not to like? “Awakening”
seems to promise all the action we could want and then some in sheer
throat-slitting, neck-snapping fashion. Obviously shot in 3D, the production
values nevertheless look just as sleek as ever and with new directors Måns
Mårlind and Björn Stein, perhaps we can get a bit of a twist on the style we
were exposed to back in the Len Wiseman days of the tale. Underworld: Awakening will set off 2012’s action slate opposite
Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire on
Jan. 20.



Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Both a surprise and not
really a surprise essentially sums up the existence of another “Ghost Rider”
film. The first was a minor success financially, but less of one with fans and
critics who found the silliness smothering and the execution hokey, to be kind.
But this is Hollywood, folks and with a slashed budget and new talent behind
the camera with duo Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (Crank,
Crank 2, Gamer
) Nicolas Cage is back as Johnny Blaze in what will be a
darker, but still tongue-in-cheek, offering with a grindhouse spin. Everything
about this movie looks grittier and — simply — better, with a first look at the infamous
“peeing fire” scene that took Comic-Con by storm just a few months ago.  Neveldine and Taylor are crazy dudes and
their manic, delirious style of filmmaking should blend will with Cage’s
similarly twitchy mannerisms. If the trailer hints at only but a few things to
come, bring on the vengeance. 



Texas Killing
Fields

Loosely based on true
events about the murder of women picked up along I-45 and dumped in an old oil
field in southeast
Texas,
“Killing Fields” stars Sam Worthington amd Jeffrey Dean Morgan as
partnered men of the law tasked with tracking down an elusive killer and a
young runaway respectively. Danny Boyle was originally attached to direct, but
his vision was too dark for studios to handle and he subsequently moved on,
leaving the daughter of Michael Mann, Amy, to tackle the thriller. Cat-and-mouse
whodunits are always a good time and with a look very much of the Se7en variety, this particular film
could pack more of gritty punch. Texas
Killing Fields
will compete at the Venice Film Festival in September before
making its way to a theater near you.



Machine Gun Preacher

Following up his foray
into James Bond territory with Quantum of
Solace
, director Marc Forster tackles the real-life story of Sam Childers
(Gerard Butler), a former drug-dealer biker who finds his faith and travels to
Sudan where he
takes up the cause of young child soldiers caught between the warring tribes. These
real-life “message” films, when spliced with mainstream
Hollywood
action can water down both camps, especially when a bigger star takes the lead
role. Forster did, however, prove he can handle touchy subject matter with care
as we saw with The Kite Runner. “Preacher” will debut at this years TIFF, so there must be something there for which to be
excited. I like
Butler
in the lead and the trailer looks fiery and professionally assembled. Plus, the
title is cool. Maybe I’m too easily pleased.  



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