Underworld: Rise of The Lycans (2009)

underworld rise of the lycans poster 2009
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10
Acting: 6/10

Better and tighter story

Blue visuals are tired

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Underworld:  Rise of the Lycans

Studio:  Lakeshore Entertainment

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure/Horror

Release Date(s):  January 23, 2009

MPAA Rating:  R

underworld rise of the lycans rhona mitra michael sheen lucian sonja

We come from different families…we should never be together. It is like star-crossed lovers or something…something original like that

The vampires led by Viktor (Bill Nighy) are keeping the Lycans in-check with forced servants like Lucian (Michael Sheen) under their control.  Viktor’s daughter Sonja (Rhona Mitra) as secretly fallen in love with Lucian…which leads to Lucian’s death sentence for his decision to protect her.  Escaping death at Viktor’s hands, Lucian must lead a group of werewolves to freedom and fight for the love of his life.

Directed by Patrick Tatopoulos, Underworld:  Rise of the Lycans is an gothic horror action-adventure film.   The movie serves as a prequel to Underworld (2003) and Underworld:  Evolution (2006), and is the third film in the Underworld series.  The movie received average reviews, and for the most part, slightly more positive reviews than Underworld:  Evolution.

I have not been a big fan of the Underworld series, but of the Underworld films, Underworld:  Rise of the Lycans a bit of a step up.  The movie’s basic storyline is simplified, and the movie features a stronger cast.

I should have used a higher SPF

The story for Underworld:  Rise of the Lycans is one of the easier films to follow.  A lot of the techno-mythos garble from the first two films is gone.  The story is a simple Romeo and Juliet story combined with a Moses or Spartacus type story.  The movie unfortunately is saddled with the past films so they have to deal with the whole werewolf creatures from Underworld:  Evolution which were savage…here, it is explained a bit more and shows how Lucian was able to control them.  It is probably the weakest aspect of the story, but it was necessary.

The cast for the film is better.  Michael Sheen does a great job as the tortured soul Lucian and despite often playing wimpy characters, make a different “action” star here.  Bill Nighy brings his icy stare back for the movie and gets to really flex his evilness a bit more.  With only bookend appearances by Kate Beckinsale as Selene, her “other sister” Sonja played by Rhona Mitra takes center stage and does a good job holding her own ground (and might actually play the vampire better than Beckinsale who often seems to be just glam).

underworld rise of the lycans michael sheen kills bill nighy sword viktor lucian

Low hanging fruit…too many easy jokes here

The movie one again is hindered by its visual effects.  Like the first two films, the movie is blue…really blue.  With a pale blue filter over all the visuals, sometimes the movie is too dark and too tinted to see what is going on.  I realize that the movie is about vampires and werewolves who inhabit the night, but any style that was used by series has been used up…and it is getting quite old.

Underworld:  Rise of the Lycans is a bit better entry in an action series that it rather dull.  The visuals, the story, and the characters just are not very compelling, and after three films, I expect to have some attachment to the characters I am watching…or be wowed by the visuals.  With werewolves and vampires, I expect more from a series…which unfortunately has never risen to the occasion.  Underworld:  Rise of the Lycans was followed by Underworld:  Awakening in 2012.

Related Links:

Underworld (2003)

Underworld:  Evolution (2006)

Underworld:  Awakening (2012)

Underworld:  Blood Wars (2016)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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