Main cast: Michael Sheen (Lucian), Rhona Mitra (Sonja), Bill Nighy (Viktor), Steven Mackintosh (Andreas Tanis), Kevin Grevioux (Raze), David Ashton (Coloman), Elizabeth Hawthorne (Orsova), and Kate Beckinsale (Selene)
Director: Patrick Tatopoulus
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans may be the third entry into the Underworld franchise, but it is actually a prequel to the first movie. This isn’t about Selene and Michael. It’s about the lycan boss Lucian and how events revolving around him that started the war between the lycans and the vampires.
If you have seen Underworld, like I have, then this movie holds little surprises as there are no surprises in store here. Who dies, who lives – it’s exactly as it was told in that movie, so this movie is basically a rehash of the things already known.
So, we have Lucian. He’s special in that, while at that time lycans can’t transform back to their human forms once they go wolf, Lucian is born in human form to a lycan parent. He soon grows up to be in full control of his senses even when he goes wolf, and the vampire boss, Lucian, decides to let him stay in his entourage and create a new army of lycans that are just like Lucian. These lycans would make excellent slaves and foot soldiers for the vampires.
Ah, but Lucian is unhappy with his fate as well as the lot of the lycans, but he is torn between his love for Sonja (Lucian’s daughter) and his desire to strike out and be his own man. Eventually, however, things will heat up between Lucian and the vampires, leading to the events that eventually became the movie Underworld.
I didn’t have high hopes for this movie, and indeed, for the most part, I’m actually bored. This is because I already knew what would happen in the end and the movie is too straightforward to throw me some twists and keep things interesting.
In many ways, this movie is more coherent and focused than the previous two movies in the franchise, and Michael Sheen is pretty solid in the lead role. Rhona Mitra’s Sonja, unfortunately, feels like a watered-down version of Selene, and the romance is pretty much reduced to a love scene and some “I love you!” here and there. I never get this impression that Lucian and Sonja are greatly in love even a bit, so when the penultimate scene comes, that scene feels more routine than emotionally charged. Meanwhile, there are plenty of action, violence, and the usual “Oh, the hero rises and leads the oppressed to freedom!” drama, but, as I’ve said, I’m bored.
If this movie had been released before Underworld, I may be more into it. As it is, it’s a decent time-waster on boring afternoons, but it’s not something I would get too enthusiastic over.