As a fantasy, Underworld series has its very own mythology. I’d say it was a retelling of Romeo and Juliet with Vampires and Werewolves replacing the two feuded families from the original Shakespeare’s play. A disclaimer, first: I was kinda ignorant to the whole mythology, having forgotten most of the first Underworld and never seen its second film, Evolution. All I could surmised is that there’s this chick clad in leather, she is a vampire, and then there’s this dude, all rough and hairy, and he is a Werewolf. Now, the Vampires and the Werewolves weren’t exactly in a good term. In fact, they are at wars for like, forever. Apparently this doesn’t stop the chick Vampire and the Werewolf dude to fall in love. At least, that’s the way I remembered the mythology of Underworld and I believe it wasn’t a far-off either.
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is a prequel to this whole tale, and probably an answer of why the feuding between Vampires and Werewolves were conceived in the first place. Apparently, the Lycans, or the Werewolves, were “made” by the Vampires with a purpose to protect them during the day when the sun renders them vulnerable. Enslaved, and humiliated, the first of the Lycans, Lucian (Michael Sheen) still could find a lovey-dovey peek-a-boo with his slaver, Death Dealer’s Vampire aristocrate leader, Viktor (Bill Nighy)’s daughter, Sonja (Rhona Mitra) and of course, this forbidden love, albeit the luscious, not to mention, easy material for conflict, drama, and tragedy isn’t really wise for Lucian and Sonja. One thing led to another, and you finally get your answer of “how the blood-feud between Vampires and Werewolves was conceived anyway?” Given that you’re asking, of course.
Tried as I might, I cannot enjoy this film. Sure, Bill Nighy is constantly giving an over-the-top performance which actually pretty entertaining for most of the time, but gets old rather quickly and bordering to hilarious near the end. I can’t tell what’s going on during most of the action scenes as the scenes keep jumping, showing a slash here, and there and occasionally, quite generous amount of blood sprouting from whatever veins being severed. Michael Sheen’s eyes were too big it gives me the creep, but other than that, he did pretty well as the Leonidas-styled leader of the Lycans and Rhona Mitra, well, she’s supposed to be a bad-ass chick. Here? I’m not so sure, much less bad-ass if compared to her previous role in Doomsday, that much is obvious.
My rating: ** / **** – This film is perhaps only appealing to those who are fan of its mythology and not much else. If you’re new to the trilogy and wishes to get a proper introduction to the mythology, picks the first film instead.