What do the Resident Evil and Underworld films have in common? Quite a lot, actually. Both kicking off in the early 2000s and growing to five or more films in their cannon, these action-heavy franchises have grossed stunning figures at the box office, despite both receiving intense critical derision. Indeed, the #Underworld franchise has grossed around $540 million worldwide, while the #ResidentEvil films boast a gross of more than $1.23 billion. Yep, many people will have heard of these films, if not seen them. But despite their respective successes, they've both been compared to the dull, lumbering, undead antagonists of Resident Evil.
Milla Jovovich and Kate Beckinsale are two badass leading ladies in their respective franchises. As a fan of both, over the past few years I've been thinking about how cool it would be to see the two join together for a completely fresh outing, bringing together the vampire, werewolf and zombie-filled universes for a unique and potentially exciting new adventure. It's a long shot, and while even I as a fan can see there is a certain stale aura clouding both these series, a hybrid movie could be what propels the two franchises into the stratosphere, making for a contemporary property that could please the critics and longtime fans as well as convert the naysayers.
'There Is No Beginning, There Is No End. There Is Only Becoming'
Blood Wars, the most recent Underworld film, once again gave us an open ending, alluding to future sequels, despite the film taking half as much at the box office as its 2012 predecessor Underworld: Awakening.
Then Resident Evil: The Final Chapter did the same thing, with Project Alice driving off into the sunset while being chased by mutated winged monsters, clearly pointing to more stories in this franchise, despite its title suggesting otherwise. The story of The Final Chapter tells us that the pivotal antivirus will take years to reach all corners of the Earth and the world is going to be a barren wasteland for some time to come — certainly a different aesthetic point of view of our world than what's been offered in Underworld. So with that in mind, just where would this hybrid movie take place?
I'm spitballing from here onward as I've got a lot of ideas — some ridiculous, some sublime, and others just completely wacky. Then again, these franchises feature indestructible characters who survive everything, from colossal explosions to undead onslaughts, violent werewolves and bullets to the head, so anything I come up with would probably be fitting.
When Could It Take Place?
Rewind back to the mid-2000s, when franchise sequels Resident Evil: Apocalypse and Underworld: Evolution ended. Project Alice was "activated" and Earth was not yet a barren, desert-like wasteland. By this point Vampires and Lycans have been at war for centuries. Following an epic battle, Beckinsale's vampiric Death Dealer Selene has become immune to sunlight and thinks she is now safe and free from danger. It seems fitting to start a new tangent here, with Selene seeming to begin anew and Project Alice showcasing incredible powers.
But unbeknownst to Alice, she is under the control of the Umbrella Corporation. Cue the setting of Resident Evil: Underworld Rising, or Underworld: Alliance. Any title ideas, shout out, people!
Selene And Project Alice
How awesome would it be to see Beckinsale and Jovovich on screen together as the respective Selene and Alice? Would they go all Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and battle it out, only to later team up to save the world and their future? Or would they hit it off immediately as best buds, à la Banner and Stark in The Avengers Assemble, before stumbling on rocky terrain as their relationship crumbles?
Each actress has boasted immense action chops throughout their careers and exhibited considerable on-screen charm, with Jovovich impressing in The Fifth Element, The Three Musketeers and A Perfect Getaway, while Beckinsale owned the screen in Total Recall and Contraband. These two fierce actresses are often overlooked when it comes to their talent and capabilities, but trust and believe that bringing them together would be cinematic dynamite.
How It Could All Go Down
Their world's colliding, Selene and Alice could find themselves in the midst of an attack on a vampire coven, not just by Lycans but also by the infected undead. Their initial encounter could be sparked by a mid-action clash as they witness each other's incredible powers for the first time, at first thinking the other is a threat, only to quickly realize that to survive they need to work together, and so they battle it out side by side.
After this pivotal action scene, the two communicate, understanding what's at stake, who they are, and how each of their worlds and stories have been hidden from the world at large. It's a large canvas to paint on and this is a generic idea, but admittedly these films have never been known for their rich narrative.
Let's Get Ridiculous!
So we have the Lycans from Underworld and the zombies from Resident Evil. How cool and insane would it be to have these two armies fighting one another, with the Lycans boasting speed, power, and huge fangs to tear the undead apart, while the sheer number of zombies have the ability to overpower a Lycan. What if a Lycan gets bitten by a zombie? Would that bite create a zombie Lycan who would join forces with the undead?
Or to make things complicated for our two protagonists, what if the Lycans bond with the T-virus, becoming supercharged and all powerful, just like Alice? Shit would get serious, creating some truly explosive and spectacular action sequences, the likes of which have never before been seen on screen. Selene and Alice vs. Lycans and Zombies.
We have a setting, we have an action-hero-horror-sci-fi crossover — but how would the two worlds and their established stories intertwine? Men in Black and 21 Jump Street are two disparate film series that have garnered very positive reviews from critics and audiences alike since their respective inceptions. A crossover movie has long been discussed by fans and is sadly yet to come to fruition, yet is still apparently being planned by movie studio execs. While the reviews for Underworld and Resident Evil have largely been negative, it hasn't stopped either franchise from gaining cult followings, loyal fans and big box office receipts. So if it's good enough for MIB and Jump Street, then why not Resident Underworld Evil?
Changing The Style
At least five films in for both franchises, each Resident Evil and Underworld film opens with flashbacks, recalls, and exposition through narration courtesy of our heroes. It sends a chill down my spine to hear my favorite action stars talking redolently over snappy action beats from previous films. But the thing is, for a crossover, we wouldn't need any of this. Exposition can be done in subtle, simple ways. Look at Mad Max: Fury Road or Kubo and the Two Strings — imagery, hints, backstory, and sharp, simple dialogue is all you need to tell a story, throwing us straight into the action and drama.
Instead of recaps, I'd love to see the opening of this crossover start with a young girl standing in a decrepit alleyway, immobile with fear in the presence of a werewolf. Until now, Lycans and Death Dealers have been hidden from the human world. The Lycan is feasting upon a fresh corpse before reverting to its human form. The girl runs off in silent panic and as she ventures further down the alleyway, stumbling upon the undead feasting on human remains. They spot her, and as she backs up, the sound of gunfire erupts as Alice or Selene storms in to save the girl. The Lycan, hidden in human form, backs into the shadows.
I could see this crossover having very little dialogue, again taking inspiration from Fury Road. Fans and casual moviegoers would be confronted with badass female heroes, a barrage of well-edited visuals and a simple action plot. With faith in the audience's intelligence, characters could be built through subtext and suggestions of their past without having to convolute the plot with overly complicated explanations and flashbacks.
Food For Thought
As a fan of both these series, especially the later installments, I might be one of the few people who'd want these two properties to collide. Audiences are more savvy than ever, quickly determining which films are nothing more than shameless cash grabs or tired sequelitis — none more evident in recent years than with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot. While the 2014 TMNT offering made almost $500 million at the box office, it was panned by critics, while last year's sequel Out of the Shadows again received poor reviews. Moviegoers didn't fall for it a second time, with the film making around 50 percent less than it's predecessor at the box office — barely enough money to warrant a third film.
Underworld: Alliance or Resident Evil: Underworld Rising? Throw me some title ideas! There is a lot that could be done here, bringing together the cold and steely blood-soaked thrills of Underworld and the violent, action-packed gore of Resident Evil. If the ensuing film is written well enough to weave together the two series and the right director is brought into the fold, then perhaps there is a future for both franchises — and that future is together.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter will be available for digital download on May 2, and DVD and Blu-ray on May 16. What are your thoughts on a crossover between Underworld and Resident Evil? Do you have a potential name and a plot you'd like to share? Let us know your gnarly ideas in the comments section below.
[Source: Box Office Mojo]