Friday, September 11, 2009


Underworld Rise of the Lycans is strictly for fans of fantasy and horror. If you find vampires and werewolves, swords and crossbows, and armor and tunics tedious, then this is NOT the movie for you. Yes, the movie stars BAFTA nominated Michael Sheen, better known for playing Tony Blair in The Queen and David Frost in Frost / Nixon -- not to mention Golden Globe and BAFTA winner Bill Nighy. But neither of these great actors are attempting those sorts of subtle performances that film critics adore. Instead, they are indulging in some truly high caliber scenery chewing, that action fans love, as they reprise the roles they created in the first two movies in this series. However, this is a prequel to those movies, set in the medieval past, that explains how the werewolves, called Lycans, were created and how their conflict with the vampires arose. As another reviewer said, it's a bit of Romeo and Juliet mixed with Spartacus. It is a self contained story, but fans of Underworld will appreciate seeing the connections and nods to the previous movies. Besides Lucian and Viktor, Tannis (Steven Mackintosh) and Raze (Kevin Grevioux) return for this third installment.

The movie also looks amazing good, considering the small budget. But that's probably due to the production design of Dan Hennah, the art director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, who brought a few more LOTR veterans to help out with costuming and set design. Speaking of, watch closely for appearances of Craig Parker, who played Haldir in LOTR. I bet you won't recognize him at all -- I didn't. The cinematography owes a bit to The 300, with it's heavily saturated atmosphere, as well as the previous films, which favored a palette of blues to represent the sunless world of these night creatures. Overall, Underworld Rise of the Lycans was an enjoyable popcorn flick, but not one for the kids as it rated R.

Reserve your copy of the DVD.
Reserve your copy of the novelization by Greg Cox.

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