Sunday, January 25, 2009
Movie Reviews: UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LYCANS
UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LYCANS
This prequel story traces the origins of the centuries-old blood feud between the aristocratic vampires known as Death Dealers and their one-time slaves, the Lycans. In the Dark Ages, a young Lycan named Lucian emerges as a powerful leader who rallies the werewolves to rise up against Viktor, the cruel vampire king who has enslaved them. Lucian is joined by his secret lover, Sonja, in his battle against the Death Dealer army and his struggle for Lycan freedom.
Cast: Michael Sheen, Bill Nighy, Rhona Mitra, Steven Mackintosh, Kevin Grevioux
Director: Patrick Tatopoulos
Opened January 23, 2009
Runtime: 1 hr. 33 min.
Rated R for bloody violence and some sexuality
Genres: Action, Horror, Gothic Film
The Underworld series has been a guilty pleasure of mine mainly because I’m a sucker for vampires and werewolves. Having made it to the 3rd film, the inevitable prequel, I had a certain expectation of at least expounding on mythos mentioned in the previous two films. Sadly, it fails. The plot plays out without any surprises or twist and when it’s all over you are left wondering why they even bothered with filming this prequel. The characters have zero depth and you never really understand or see how the pivotal romance came to being. The cast is decent considering the material and bringing back Michael Sheen and Bill Nighy, who were sorely missed from the overly complicated sequel, was the films best moves. Michael Sheen does the best he can with the script and gives his character as much depth as possible. Bill Nighy plays Viktor like Christopher Lee in the old Hammer films. Nighy unblinking Viktor is terribly one dimensional and it’s a real shame as the director didn’t put his wonderful talent to better use. Rhona Mitra is likewise wasted here, her character Sonja is about as flat as paper and I can say I know anything more than I did from the flashbacks in the previous films. It doesn’t help that her and Sheen share no chemistry on screen whatsoever. Director Patrick Tatopoulos, taking over for Les Wiseman, doesn’t bring anything new to the series, he’s content to mimic what’s been done in the past feels, lot of heavy blue tone images and enough of the oh so passé slow mo action that makes you wish the Matrix has been a flop. Aside from the slow mo, the action is fairly impressive and fun only brought down by some occasionally shoddy CGI. As a whole, this last entry into the series connects the dots from the previous films but doesn’t really add any depth to what we already knew.