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Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
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Product Description

An origins story centered on the centuries-old feud between the race of aristocratic vampires and their onetime slaves the lycans. Studio: Sony Pictures Home Ent Release Date: 05/12/2009 Starring: Michael Sheen Rhona Mitra Run time: 92 minutes Rating: R Director: Patrick Tatopoulos

This prequel to Len Wiseman’s Underworld and Underworld: Evolution is distinctively different, especially minus the nimble vampire warrior star, Selene (Kate Beckinsale). Underworld: Rise of the Lycans takes its cues from the vampire/werewolf battles that occur in the other films, but director Patrick Tatopoulos focuses here on the young werewolf Lucian's (Michael Sheen) rise to leadership. Rise of the Lycans is set mostly within the walls of vampire lord Viktor’s (Bill Nighy) castle, so the film’s silver, black, and blue palette reflects a world happening under moonlight. From the outset, when Viktor brings Lucian, the first werewolf, into the world, this villainous bloodsucker’s daughter, Sonja (Rhona Mitra), is smitten with Lucian’s hairy appearance and instinctual intelligence. As years pass, Lucian grows tired of watching his race suffer slavery and imprisonment, and recruits a human named Raze (Kevin Grevioux) to assist rebellion. This archetypal plot is not so riveting, and what carries Underworld: Rise of the Lycans are the battle scenes between vampires and werewolves, which are excitingly fast-paced and brutal. The whole film adopts a medieval battlefield aesthetic that carries an otherwise clich¨¦d story about illicit love and freedom fighting. Some characters, like the traitor vampire Tannis (Steven Mackintosh), also intrigues throughout, as one guesses who he will ally with. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans may not be the finest film in the werewolf and vampire archives independently, but its mixed monstrosity makes it unique and entertaining, especially on a big screen. --Trinie Dalton


Stills from Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (click for larger image)

Customer Reviews:

  • Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
    This movie has it all, vampires, lycans, action, romance, tragedy. This is the best Underworld movie made by far! I'm not sure how all these reviewer can give it less than 5 stars... ...more info
  • Howling good action
    This was the dark and gothic prequel to the first 2 underworld films. In Lycan's, we at last learn the origins of the vamp/lycan conflict. We also meet Lucian, the moses-like progenitor of the werewolf species. As usual, there is a lot of action, great special effects hot-looking vamps and somewhat grungy were-men. While I prefer the series set in modern day, this story was exciting enough to keep my attention. Lucian was a sympathetic character, strong, brave, and loyal, and his girlfriend, Princess Sonja beautiful and willful.

    The only downside to the film was that I thought the vamps were fairly on the wimpy side. They were easily overwhelmed by the brute force of the weres and even when it came to sniping at them from a distance seemed unable to really inflict too much damage. Vamps should be smart elegant fighters, weres should be rough brutish thugs. It made me wonder how the vamps remained in power so long. Also given the lack of suitors for the Princess's hand was it very surprising that she had a bit on the side with a werewolf?

    I'd recommend this for Vamp/Werewolf fans. While it wasn't especially deep, it had plenty of action and adventure....more info
  • A worthy addition to the Underworld Franchise
    This movie is the realized back story for the movie "Underworld". There is nothing revelational about this movie to the storyline of the franchise except for Lucian being the source of the modern day Lycans (ability to transform back into human form). This movie is basically about his development from childhood into the leader of the Lycans and also the love story between him and Sonia (Victor's daughter). The tie-ins of this movie to the other two were very well written. While viewing "Rise of the Lycans" is not necessary in order to make sense of the other two movies in the franchise, it definitely enriches them and basically adds more seasoning.

    The action and battle sequences were exciting and very well done. But, while I enjoyed the movie, it lacks the plot twists and suspense of the original "Underworld". The acting is good, although I wish Victor would have had some better dialogue. Rhona Mitra was SUPERB as Sonia. Her resemblence to Kate Beckensale makes the viewer realize why Victor took Selene under his wing (instead of killing her along with her family). Selene is absent from this movie except for the final clip which happens to be the opening scene to "Underworld" (a good transition). IMHO, this movie ranks 2nd in the franchise. While "Underworld Evolution" was enoyable in its own right, the creatures of this franchise look more comfortable (and believable) in midieval times than in the modern day. If you own the other two movies on DVD/ Blu-ray, you'll definitely want to add this to your Underworld library....more info
  • Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
    Hundreds of years before the first "Underworld" movie, werewolves were slaves to the vampires, led by Viktor (Nighy). The werewolf Lucian (Sheen) is the favored slave of Viktor. They maintain a respectable relationship despite their differences. Unbeknownst to Viktor, Lucian and Viktor's daughter Sonja (Mitra) are in love. They sneak off to be together even though relationships between vampires and warewolves is forbidden. Their relationship prompts Lucien to remove his collar and go after when she is in danger. Despite saving her, Lucien is punished like the rest of the warewolves. This plants the seeds for their uprising.

    "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans" is a movie that probably does not need to be made. The story was laid out quickly in the first "Underworld" movie. That being said, "Rise of the Lycans" is surprisingly entertaining. Nighy and Sheen are doing the overacting that fans of the series have come to love. There are plenty of actions scenes. And, this time, the film is a bit of a period piece. Shakespeare this ain't, but I do not think that fans of the series will be disappointed.
    ...more info
  • Swords, Fangs, and Plenty of Yawns
    Maybe because it was filmed in New Zealand, maybe because the good guys have pointy ears, and definitely because 92 minutes felt like 3 hours, I think a more apt title would have been "Underworld: Lord of the Borings."

    The whole movie is blue and dark and everyone speaks in those flat, expressionless English accents that seem to be a requirement for acting in films set in the old-timey days, no matter where or when. I think this story is supposed to take place in medieval Hungary. So would it have been so bad for Sonja - the female protagonist - to talk like Zsa Zsa Gabor? "I vant to suck your bloooood, dahling!"

    Anyway, "Rise of the Lycans" is just kind of dull. The fights aren't particularly exciting (a lot of half-a**ed sword swingin'), the special effects (i.e. rubber suits and cheap CGI) are pretty lame, and it doesn't follow the "rules" established in the first two movies. Vampires and werewolves killed by swords and arrows? Whatever, man. Still, it's slightly better than "Underworld 2," but only because it has a clear beginning, a middle, and an end. And speaking of ends, here's hoping that this marks the end of the "Underworld" series. The concept has been - pardon the terrible pun - bled dry. It used to be about blood-sucking vampires. Now, all that's left is the sucking....more info
  • You can love it, or hate it. Either way it's Bloody Fun
    There have already been many reviews on this movie complaining about this, that and the other and if you wanted to dismember it piece by piece, I'm sure you could also find a lot to pick fault with. Instead though, let's look at what the movie achieves for its targeted audience. A presquel? Seems to be the popular way these days with a good franchise, if you can't move the story forward, move it back, and give us some history. Strange that I thought that had been covered in some detail in the 1st and 2nd movie, but I digress.
    Those thinking they will be disappointed by the exclusion of the lovely leather clad Kate Beckinsale as Selene, will not be too unhappy with Rhona Mitra (Doomsday/Shooter). She smolders more than sizzles, but definitely adds some sexual tension, as Viktor's hard to control daughter Sonja (remember the one who Selene reminded him off in the first movie?). Also back is Michael Sheen (fresh from playing David Frost, and English PM Tony Blair) with washboard abs, tight pants and AC/DC's old stage wardrobe as head of the Lycans - Lucien. Best of all of course, is we get lots and lots of Bill Nighy as Viktor. Machiavellian, brutal, sadistic and full of charm. You get a real sense that he loves playing the villain, with an almost campy panache. Visually, it's a little tighter, Patrick Tatapoulos takes over as Director from Len Wiseman. Not that this matters much, as neither of them have much sensibility when it comes to monsters and Sfx.
    So anyway, the story - well you don't need to know really, Vampires, Werewolves, Swords, Sex & Action. This was not intended to test the grey matter and usually a movie franchise gets weaker with each installment, but that's not the case here, as there is an almost fresh feel to the story, even though we're retreading old ground so to speak. It IS entertaining, and it will do just that if you can suspend your disbelief enough.
    Great fun 4 stars, just ask yourself 3 questions as the credits roll:
    1) Why don't the Lycans attack while the sun is shining
    2) How come all these immortals seem to be easily dispatched with swords?
    3) And how come there is a full moon EVERY night?
    ...more info
  • You can't beat the moonlight...
    "Rise of the Lycans" will please action and special effects fans. Those looking for a good story need to look elsewhere. "Lycans" expands on what we know from flashbacks in the original movie. Lucian is a lycan (werewolf) slave to Viktor--the leader of the vampires. Sonja is Viktor's rebellious daughter. If viewers want origin stories (of either species), then they have come to the wrong movie. Expect little more than average acting while watching the monsters kill each other.
    Michael Sheen's Lucian is portrayed as a Christ-figure. Bill Nighy's Viktor comes across as effeminate, incestuous, and simply not what one expects from the leader of a powerful vampire clan. And it really amazes me how much Rhona Mitra looks like Kate Beckinsale. But Mitra's Sonja lacks the edge we see with Beckinsale's Selene.
    Despite its flaws, "Rise of the Lycans" pulls through to an average rating.
    R: Some sexuality; graphic violence.
    ...more info
  • Underworld the Truth
    I really liked this movie a lot I liked how they explained Lucian's story I think they need to make one with Selene's story and Also one with how William and Marcus became a lycan and vampire.

    There was a lot of action which was a good part of the movie the war starting was really neat to see also I also liked how they kept the movie in the med evil times with the castle and people dressing like knights....more info
  • The script and direction=awesome
    I adored the first Underworld because of Lucian, played by Michael Sheen and of course Selene, played by Kate Beckinsale. To see Lucian's story in its entirety is such a treat, and the story, direction and acting was genuinely moving. Michael Sheen is brilliant in this film, and I must say whenever he plays Lucian I love the way he looks! I was in tears watching this one play out, well done and I cannot wait to own it!...more info
  • Easily the best out of the series a TRUE VAMPIRE FILM !
    This in my opinion is what I wanted from the 1st two films. Although I did like the second one better than the 1st. This is what vamparism is all about and it reminds me of old school. I haven't seen anything so beautiful since Interview with a Vampire and Bram Stokers "Dracula". The problem with the series was it came across like a MatriX ripoff with too many Guns. And the Vampires seemed very feeble at times relying on artillery. Which in my opinion made the movie pointless. In this movie, they were what they were and they fought fairly and with integrity. Also it took money and time to make it a time piece. Which I thought created the perfect environment and mystic for vampire fans. This is a must have ans a must see and a truly emotional story. I hope the continue with this story and not the previous one. I just don't think there is anywhere else they could go with Saline and the hybrid . Even, he was a disappointment in my opinion. It would be nice to continue with this story. And show how and where .. what time in space did victor and Saline meet. And the story of Marcus and that other queen that got killed on the bus in the 1st movie. I would love to see her reign and there story !...more info
  • Poor sound quality
    Sound volume on DVD is very poor. I have to turn the volume up to maximum to hear anything...more info
  • It was OK..
    I loved the movie trailers and could not wait to see this. Unfortunately, I have a 2-year old and this was not a family movie- so I had to wait a bit longer for it to come out on DVD. I have to say I'm disappointed. I loved the first two and had high hopes for Rise of the Lycans. It was good, but I was left wanting more. More action, more Lucian, more lycan scenes, more Rhona, just more. I like how it was done in the same thread as the first two: dark, up-close fighting scenes, great characters and story; but as I was coming to the end, I thought, "This can't be all?". Overall, being a fan of the Underworld series, I didn't like it, like it, but did not hate it either: so three stars for being okay. ...more info
  • The Perfect Date Movie ... for Goths
    Seeing current movies these days is a challenge with a very active toddler. When Valentine's Day came around, we dropped our son off with my parents and I let my wife pick the movie. She of course picked the "vampire movie." Which is why I love my wife.

    As a big fan of Kate Beckinsale and the World of Darkness role-playing game, the Underworld series quickly became a favorite. It featured big budget special effects, lots of PVC and leather, and plenty of pouty vampires. It also featured a battle between vampires and werewolves, a concept that was so prominent in White Wolf's World of Darkness series that it sparked a lawsuit.

    Despite the lawsuit, Underworld continues to forge its own path, such that it now has prequels. You know your movie franchise has made it when executives are willing to pay to produce what is essentially a history book. Fortunately, this bit of history is actually worth watching.

    Werewolves and vampires have always been a bit of a mixed bag in Hollywood. The fact that Dracula could turn into a wolf seems to be one of the less plausible aspects of vampirism that were dropped in favor of the Ricean pouty goth. Thus the ability to transform into a wolf is exclusively the domain of the werewolf. But it wasn't always this way.

    The vrykolakas, draws its name from "vryk," meaning "wolf" and lakas, meaning "fur" in modern Slavic languages clearly meant "werewolf." Vrykolakas in other countries, however, is used to describe vampires. This is because of the aforementioned ability of a vampire to turn into a wolf, which can be strictly interpreted as meaning that all vampires are actually werewolves.

    Underworld: Rise of the Lycans turns this confusion into a plot. In short, vampires and werewolves are descended from the same bloodline, but the vampires have risen to the role of aristocrat while werewolves are little more than beasts. Or at least, that's what the vampires believe. To that end, Viktor (Bill Nighy) the vampire lord treats domesticated werewolf Lucian (Michael Sheen) as his foster son, giving him blacksmith duties that ensure werewolves don't transform with inward-pointing spiked collars. But Viktor's benevolence has limits, and when he discovers that Lucian is having a dalliance with his daughter Sonja (the delectable Rhona Mitra, who still isn't quite Beckinsale but comes pretty darn close), he teaches Lucian a terrible lesson. What Viktor underestimates is the kinship that Lucian has with his wilder brethren, a kinship that will spark class warfare.

    Rise of the Lycans is basically what you get when you give a serious goth injection to the elves from Lord of the Rings, rehash the plot from Romeo and Juliet, and steal the feudal arrangement of vampires and their human "cattle" from the World of Darkness series. Nobody speaks in contractions. Everything is viewed through a dark blue lens. And lots of limbs get hacked off.

    The real story here is the werewolves. It's their class struggle, after all, and the movie never shies away from the dire consequences of the characters' actions. There is a high enough body count on both sides to make Shakespeare proud.

    Vampires. Werewolves. Vampires and werewolves killing each other. Two star-crossed lovers bound by their family allegiances and the curse of their blood. What more could you ask for in a Valentine's Day date movie?
    ...more info
  • I am so glad we got to see Lucian's story!
    I won't go into great detail as some previous revewiers did an excellent job. Underworld Rise of the Lycans is a must see for any Lucian fan like myself. I can honestly say I like this one just as much (maybe a bit more)then the first Underworld movie. Great Love scene between Lucian and Sonja and great fighting scenes as well. Excellent movie! I can't wait for it to be on DVD!!!...more info
  • WHO LET THE DOGS OUT?!
    Anyone who has seen the previous movies in the Underworld series will be pleased with this prequel. It competently adds flare to the story, and fills in details that do nothing but accentuate the action and plot of the Underworld timeline.

    Covens of vampires were once the dominant species. They were the upper tier in a social structure that placed humans as secondary, and werewolves, animals incapable of controlling their transformation to and from human form, as wild, untamed beasts. When Lucian (Michael Sheen) was born, however, he became a new breed, a missing link between human and werewolf, a sentient being capable of reason as well as controlling transformation; he was the first Lycan.

    Eventually, Lucian is thought of as a hybrid pet/soldier. The vampires' great plan, in large part due to their leader Viktor (Bill Nighy), is to utilize the Lycans as soldiers, intelligent guard dogs. When Lucian and his brethren grow weary of their third-class status - not to mention Lucian's budding romance with Viktor's daughter Sonja (Rhona Mitra) - rebellion is afoot. And by rebellion I mean all out war, bloody battle, beheadings and deadly accurate mega-crossbows that create Lycan-skewers. The sword combat comprises the majority of the inter-species hostility. Each vampire carries an Arthurian demeanor as they kill and decapitate with Claymores and Zweihanders, while showing nothing but stoic countenance. The Lycans' fighting style, on the other hand, is more visceral, nearly feral, as they attack with ferociousness verging on animal instinct.

    Aside from the nonstop action that comprises the majority of this film, the underlying tones of racial and social status are perhaps the most powerful. All the vampires are ghostly white, with overtly beautiful features. The werewolves are clearly the darker species - growling, snarling, mindlessly rampaging. In the racial middle are the Lycans - humans make up the social middle - determined to rise above their imprisonment, their slavery, and prove their equivalence.

    All vampire aficionados will love this movie. It's dark, foreboding, and saturated with violence, despite missing some of the orthodox vampire lore. The lighting and coloring are superb, dark blues complimenting the castles, forests, and cave dwellings of the socially inequal species. Additionally, the connection to the other movies is seamless. Great addition to the series....more info
  • Mysterious and violent prequel succeeds
    Rise of the Lycans is over the top and filled with high drama.

    It is slightly different than the first two underworlds and dare I say superior. This one takes place in the middle ages.

    If you enjoy time period movies and non-stop action and drama then you should really like Rise of the Lycans.

    During the movie I wished for more character development of the Lycans. Like in the other underworld movies you see the werewolves attacking haphazardly at random times. You also see a lot of focus on the vampires.

    I think Rise of the Lycans is a bit more entertaining and dramatic than the first two and therefore deserves a 5 star rating.


    ...more info
  • Spartacus + Werewolves + Vampires + Love Story + Video-Game Special Effects + Dull fighting scenes
    It's like Spartacus plus werewolves and vampires. The special effects are very bad. They look like cheap video games. The fighting scenes are half baked. They don't look exciting, intense and real as the ones from Underworld 2.

    The only good thing about this move is the love between Michael Sheen and Rhona Mitra. It provides a couple of touching scenes. But they are too few to make the film worth while.

    I prefer Underworld 2 because of the fighting and Kate Beckinsale. She looks sexy in that film.
    ...more info
  • Good Prequel
    This was a good prequel, but it wasn't a great one. There should've been more info on the love affair between Lucian and Sonja...but there wasn't. Sonja's character should've been developed more...but it wasn't. Lastly, they killed her too quickly. Her death should've been more tragic than it was...but it wasn't. Still in all, I liked the movie and would recommend it to any fan of the Underworld franchise....more info
  • Vampires versus Lycans with Rhona Mitra!
    Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.
    Lucian (Michael Sheen), is leader of the werewolves.
    Viktor (Bill Nighy), is the vampire leader.
    Sonja (Rhona Mitra-one of my favorite actors) is Viktor's daughter.

    In short, this is a fast paced, exciting movie. Sonja (Rhona Mitra)
    is tough, intelligent, and couragous. The acting is good. Also, the special effects are decent.

    This is a five star movie-

    ...more info
  • A nice prequel to a much loved series!

    We all know from previous Underworld movies, that Viktor killed his beloved daughter, Sonja because of her relationship with a Lycan, Lucian (Michael Sheen). So, while this installment didn't offer anything new in terms of storyline, it did allow us to see Sonja through Lucian's and her father's eyes. It also allowed us the opportunity to see Lucian's rise to be "pact leader", but we saw some of the other characters that appear in later Underworld movies (Raze & Tannis), and came to a greater understanding about the divide between the species.

    Viktor, the leader of a Vampire clan is determined to use the "werewolves/Lycans" (who he believes are savages and just need to be controlled) as slaves, protectors and workers, all while controlling the humans and remaining one of the most dangerous leaders on the counsel. Viktor believes that controlling these mindless creatures and imprisoning them will strengthen his rule. His favorite "pet" is the strong minded Lucian, a Lycan, who can control his turns from human to werewolf, and who is secretly in love with his daughter, the very independent Sonja. Believing that she has betrayed him (by mingling with the Lycans) and their kind (Vampires), Viktor decides that her demise is the only answer. Of course, Lucian fuelled by revenge, sorrow and regret responds with a swift attack, and soon learns that he has control over both those who are deemed wild and those who welcome leadership. We are soon privy to a battle between the two species that will go down in vamp/were history and prove to be foreshadowing for the Underworld series. And of course the movie ends with the beginning of the Underworld series and a glimpse of Selena (the very beautiful Kate Beckinsale), revisiting the tale.

    I enjoyed this prequel to the Underworld series. I thought that Rhona Mitra's portrayal of Sonja was brilliant (and she definitely favors Beckinsale), and what isn't there to love about the brooding Bill Nighy who is all too real in as Viktor (I think he is the best vamp ever) and the long suffering Michael Sheen, who is the only person that I could see ever playing Lucian. I am even hoping to visit Underworld one more time. After all, I am sure that Selena and Michael could fight evil one more time.
    ...more info
  • Underworld: Rise of the Lycans - Blu-ray Info
    Version: U.S.A / Sony / Region A
    MPEG-4 AVC BD-50 / AACS
    Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
    Running time: 1:32:28
    Movie size: 28,39 GB
    Disc size: 44,36 GB
    Total bit rate: 40.94 Mbps
    Average video bit rate: 23.74 Mbps

    Dolby TrueHD Audio English 3729 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3729 kbps / 24-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
    Dolby TrueHD Audio French 1713 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1713 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
    Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
    Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
    Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
    DTS Express English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / 16-bit

    Subtitles: English (SDH), English, French, Portuguese, Spanish
    Number of chapters: 16

    #Audio Commentary
    #From Script to Screen (HD - 9m:18s)
    #Origin of the Feud (HD - 19m:58s)
    #Recreating the Dark Ages HD - 13m:01s)
    #William Controll's Deathclub Music Video (HD - 4m)
    #Behind the Castle Walls - Picture-in-Picture (BonusView)
    #Lycanthropes Around the World - Interactive Map
    #Cinechat
    #BD-Live enabled...more info
  • Werewolf Brethren, Unite!
    For those who actually wanted to see some of the back-stories alluded to in the first two "Underworld" films, you should find "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans" to be very helpful. This prequel not only visualizes the beginning of the blood feud between the Vampires and the Lycans, it also tells the story of Lucian (Michael Sheen), a Lycan of unknown parentage who would become the most powerful leader of his clan centuries later. For those who were never into the films to begin with, you might find that this new film actually has something to offer. It's not a masterpiece by any means, but it delivers exactly as it promises: It's a supernatural action film that gives us no more nor less than a vampire underworld and a Lycan uprising. If you were hoping for a fable that's just as complex as it is frightening, might I suggest you stop reading this review?

    One of the reasons I enjoyed this movie is that it takes place in the Dark Ages. The first two films took place in the present day (respective to when they were theatrically released), where vampire and werewolf clans coexisted with concrete structures, high-tech guns, and subway stations. It was a blending that was too bizarre for its own good. But in the context of immense stone fortresses, no electricity, filthy dungeons, medieval weaponry, and dense forests populated by peasant folk ... well, it just feels right. It helps that practically every scene is engulfed in shadow, effectively muting the visuals to shades of blue and gray. The color scheme establishes mood so well that it's hard to dismiss it as mere eye candy.

    The back-story: Centuries before he became obsessed with the bloodline of Alexander Corvinus, Lucian was unceremoniously born in a dungeon. The cruel Vampire elder, Viktor (Bill Nihy), spared Lucian but killed his parents, making him the first second-generation Lycan allowed to live. When it flashes forward to Lucian's teenage years, we see him defeating a number of ruthless Death Dealers. This impresses Viktor so much that he immediately devises a plan: He will create a new generation of Lycans to guard the Vampire coven from outside forces. With the help of a silver-barbed collar, they will be "civilized" Lycans. They will not be like their "wild" counterparts that roam the forests as wolves, unable to assume a human form.

    Now we get to the story proper. Unbeknownst to Viktor, his headstrong daughter, Sonja (Rhona Mitra), has fallen in love with Lucian. Complicating matters is the fact that Lucian is planning on escaping, and he wants Sonja to run away with him; she loves him with all her heart, but there are times when she feels duty-bound to secure the legacy of the coven. She's willful and independent, much to the chagrin of her father, who relies on his conniving right-hand man, Vampire historian Andreas Tanis (Steven Mackintosh), to keep a close eye on her. As he stealthily observes Sonja and Lucian, it becomes clear that a Lycan uprising is in the works, Lucian having won the support of his fellow slaves.

    Now that I've described the plot, I realize that I've been writing under the assumption that you're familiar with the "Underworld" series. If you're not, if you've never heard of Lycans or Alexander Corvinus or any other character I've mentioned, chances are "Rise of the Lycans" will not do very much for you. That's the inherent problem with prequels: They assume audiences are familiar with will happen later in the story. But since I am familiar with the film series, I was able to enjoy this film, mostly for its stylistic approach. The story, I admit, is fairly run-of-the-mill, giving us nothing new in the way of character development or theme. Consider the fact that the feud between the Vampires and the Lycans is essentially a commentary on intolerance and cultural understanding; I've seen such commentaries before, even as recently as another werewolf fable, "Blood and Chocolate." Still, "Rise of the Lycans" makes the most of what little it has, so in that sense, the film succeeds.

    Noticeably absent from "Rise of the Lycans" is Kate Beckinsale, whose character apparently wasn't born when the story took place (or maybe she was--I can never tell when it comes to Vampires). Rhona Mitra does a fairy decent job assuming the female lead, however, and this is despite the fact that she isn't given much to do other than be Michael Sheen's love interest. Sheen himself does an adequate job as Lucian, a character I could never quite put my finger on in the previous two films. Bill Nighy doesn't stretch too far for his role, but then again, he doesn't have to; for the purposes of this story, Viktor need not be more or less than a classic, uncomplicated villain. One look into his obvious, piercing blue eyes will convince you that the writers never wanted to delve too deeply. The same can be said for the film as a whole. "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans" is a film meant to be enjoyed at face value. There's no point in trying to look past its gothic atmosphere when that's all you were meant to see....more info