Rise of the Lycans Provides Fine Underworld Foundation
Can a film be both a powerful introduction into a particular mythology, and fitting end to a series as well? Returning to the roots of Lycan and Vampire animosity in Underworld: Rise of the Lycans after portraying a critical turning point in their immortal war with the first two Underworld films seems to have accomplished just such a feat.
This prequel finds the courtly vampires caging and breeding their beastly werewolf kin. When a new, more “evolved” child is born, he becomes father to a new, more intelligent strain of slave… perhaps too intelligent. Lucian grows up a slave, and while serving his Vampire masters well, he wins the heart of his master’s daughter Sonja.
Michael Sheen reprises his role as the lycanthropic Lucian, as Bill Nighy seethes as the kingly Viktor, lord of the undead. Underworld newcomer Rhona Mitra shines as Sonja, and provides an equal measure of warrior and womanly ways.
In spite of the fact that this tale has largely already been told in the first two films, these three actors imbue their immortal characters with the strength and passion to elevate Rise of the Lycans beyond mere flashback to a compelling epic rife with tragedy, yet filled with hope.
Written by Jeff in January of 2009. Last edited March 2019.