Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans (2009)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment)
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Overall Rating 61%
Overall Rating
Ranked #991
...out of 15,250 movies
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Connections: Underworld

The prequel story traces the origins of the centuries-old blood feud between the aristocratic vampires and their onetime 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 Vampire army and his struggle for Lycan freedom. --IMDb
Review by Crispy
Added: January 28, 2009
When the announcement was made about Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, I'm sure the reaction across most of the cinematic world was resounding indifference. On the other hand, most fans of the series were looking forward to seeing the beginning of the centuries old war between vampire and werewolf. Well, for better or for worse, that's really all this prequel set out to accomplish.

So if any of you have seen the first movie, Lucian pretty much sums up the entire plot of Rise of the Lycans in about five minutes. Just for completion's sake, I'll relay it here. The Vampires, led by Viktor, are busy trying to exterminate the Lycans, feral werewolves that are nothing more than savage beasts. However, some humanity must remain deep inside, because a captive Lycan has given birth to a human child. Something about him captures Viktor's attention and he spares his life. This child, Lucian, grows up a warrior prodigy, able to transform at will. Most importantly, he has Viktor's admiration, which persuades the vampire to enslave Lucian's "offspring" and use them as daylight protectors, despite his disgust of the species. As the years go by, Lucian and Viktor's daughter, Sonja, fall in love. This union is strictly forbidden, and Viktor takes extreme measures to ensure the two species will never blend. Furious, Lucian leads the Lycans to revolt against their masters, beginning the Vampire-Lycan war that would last the better part of the next six centuries.

Let's not kid ourselves here; this movie is pure fan service. The only people who are going to be interested in this movie are fans of the other movies, and as such, the target audience already knows the story from beginning to end. When I said the first movie covered the entire plot in five minutes, I wasn't exaggerating a bit. So what's the point in watching this in the first place? Well, sure, everyone knows the end result, but this one is about enjoying the ride, and actually watching the events unfold in their entirety. Fortunately, the ride is a good one, albeit it has its fair share of issues.

One of my favorite aspects of the original movie was Wiseman's insistence that CGI be kept to a bare minimum. Sadly, director Patrick Tatopoulos has no such qualms after taking the hand off. The majority of the werewolf action here is primarily computer imagery, and the results aren't always pretty. Not only that, but he had to go and film the action scenes with that shaky camera, quick edit technique. Fortunately, it wasn't a total loss. Although annoying, the techniques were a lot more subdued than I've seen in other movies, and the battles were still easy enough to decipher.

After missing Evolution, Michael Sheen makes his triumphant return as Lucian. Without a doubt the high point of the first movie, he manages to bring the same level here. And to his credit, he plays the character entirely different this go-around. Fueled by love and rage, he's a lot more animated in this. It lends a lot of weight to his stoic demeanor in the original; you can see just how much the war and losing Sonja has taken out of him. Bill Nighly also returns after taking a movie off, and is also up to par. That broken pseudogoth syntax he used is still there, but it's kind of grown on me over time. Kevin Grevioux is also a welcome return. Like the others, he wasn't in Evolution, and it definitely felt good seeing Lucian's right hand wolf back in action. The only new comer is Rhona Mitra playing Sonja. Mitra is... well, she's pretty easy on the eyes. What more did you expect?

If you're a fan of the first two movies, there's a good chance you'll enjoy this as well. I had a fun time with it, but I suspect this is one of the few positive reviews you'll find. I think a 7/10 from me, but you should all be able to judge whether your own score will be considerably lower or not.
The Red Clover #1: The Red Clover - added 01/28/2009, 07:16 PM
I'd say a 6/10 is a pretty objective score and this is a solid review. From a fan's point of view I'm sure it'll rate something higher but to be honest because of the excessive CGI and other little blemishes I don't see this movie anything higher than a seven and I'm personally a huge fan.

I think this movie will really shine when it's on DVD and fans will get a chance to watch all three back-to-back. As far as your review goes it's been back and forth, your's isn't the only positive review but there are nearly as many negative reviews as there are positive.
Griffinheart #2: Griffinheart - added 03/10/2009, 10:02 PM
While this movie will never make a Top 10 or even Top 100 greatest movies of all time, I think a 6/10 doesn't do it justice. A 7/10 would be a bit more accurate, and I'd even be willing to knock it up to a 7.5 or more. I hated the second movie, but this one was close to being as good as the first of the series.
Lucid Dreams #3: Lucid Dreams - added 10/21/2009, 03:31 PM
6/10 Better then I thought it was going to be.
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