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Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009)

  Tags: action, Bill Nighy, Craig Parker, Kevin Grevioux, lycans, Michael Sheen, Patrick Tatopoulos, Rhona Mitra, Shane Brolly, Steven Mackintosh, Tania Nolan, Underworld, vamps

Your rating: None Average: 6.7 (7 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 

Rating #: 
Patrick Tatopoulos
92 minutes
Rhona Mitra, Michael Sheen, Bill Nighy, Shane Brolly, Steven Mackintosh, Craig Parker, Kevin Grevioux, Tania Nolan

My feelings about the two previous Underworld films is that they’re harmless fun. I find nothing offensively bad about them, nor do I believe that they’re high art. They’re entertaining and provide two hours of brainless badass creature action. I went into this third entry with my expectations set for another film that would fit this mold. Well, could you imagine my surprise to find out that Rise of the Lycans was one helluva solid watch, and the best in the series.

If you were anything like me, you watched the first two films and thought to yourself; “Damn, I’m so sick of watching Kate Beckinsale mack it with that lisp-talking douche from Felicity, overshadowing Lucien, who’s clearly the most ass-kicking character. When the fuck is he gonna get his own movie?” Children, our prayers have been answered. Taking place centuries before the original, Rise of the Lycans follows Lucien, a werewolf who serves the vampires and has become the favorite to vampire leader Viktor. Creating drama befitting of those whorish bitches from The Hills, Lucian has been creatively reenacting the Karma Sutra with Viktor’s daughter Sonja. When Sonja’s life is in danger, Lucian breaks the rules set upon him by Viktor to save his naughty nighttime partner. Viktor then throws him in the jail and sentences him to death, but Lucian has other plans as his gains the following of the rest of the werewolf slaves.

As you may be able to gather from the title, this entry is all about the werewolves. Vampire fans may find themselves holding a limp dick with the lack of fanged fury, but werewolf fans will not be able to contain their erections from the onslaught of creature sexiness. While the transformations are CGI, a great deal of the creature work was practical effects, and fuck me do they look great. The effects artist of the first two films makes an impressive directorial debut. You can see every penny of the (relatively modest) 35 million dollar budget on the screen as the monochromatic ancient world is brought to life.

Although we’re presented with another Romeo and Juliet love story, I found the Lucian and Sonja story much more interesting and affective than Selene and Michael. Maybe it’s because this movie has far more interesting leads, character wise and actor wise. Lucian is the ultimate anti-hero, as played by Michael Sheen who’s a fucking beast in the role. He may get critical acclaim for movies like The Queen and Frost/Nixon, but man does he rock face in this. Rhona Mitra, seen most recently in the underrated Doomsday, is finally given the mainstream role she deserves. No longer is she “that girl who looks like Kate Beckinsale”. I found her to be a much more compelling and capable leading lady than said Ms. Beckinsale, and hope the success of this film will lead to more recognition for her. Bill Nighy, reprising his role as Viktor, is once again gloriously over the top in the best way possible, chewing scenery and trying to overdo everyone else in the room.

By shifting the focus to mainly be on the werewolves, were given more brutal action scenes. Gone are the Matrix-like martial arts (well, for the most part) and gun battles of its predecessors. Here to stay are werewolves ripping heads off and swords slashing through necks. This entry isn’t without its flaws, however. Around the mid-point is when things begin to feel rushed. At a breezy 90 minutes, I wouldn’t have mind if they had chosen to flesh out the second half of the movie more. The dialogue, much like the previous films, leaves a lot to be desired. Filmmakers really should learn that 300 (“This is SPARTA!”) ruined any chance of any movie being able to have a character give a rousing speech to a crowd and be taken seriously. “We can be LYCANS!” OVERALL

Exceptional creature effects, a well portrayed anti-hero, and high concept imagery create the foremost entry in the Underworld series.

Posted on February 5, 2010 - 12:58pm | Johnny D