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movie review by David Blackwell


93 minutes, rated R


STUDIO:  Screen Gems

Theatrical RELEASE DATE:  1-23-2009


STARRING Michael Sheen (Lucian), Bill Nighy (Viktor), Rhona Mitra (Sonja), Kevin Grevioux (Raze), Steve Mackintosh (Tanis)

WRITTEN by Danny McBride and Dirk Blackman and Len Wiseman (story credit) and Robert Orr (story credit)

DIRECTED by Patrick Tatopolous

UNDERWORLD and UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION was the end of the story (where the beginning of UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION served as a mini-prequel).   Now UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LYCANS serves as the prequel to UNDERWORLD.  Witness the start of the war between Viktor and Lucian.  Lucian was a Lycan slave to Viktor and other vampires.  Lucian and Sonja (Rhona Mitra), Viktor's daughter, fell in love with each other.    Viktor is all for strict rules and punishes without mercy when someone breaks his rules.  Lucian makes a key to take off his slave collar and removes it when he has to go out and save Sonja from the more wild Lycans (who will never be able to turn back into human).  Viktor sees it as a chance to punish Lucian.

Viktor's arrogance and strict rules (and the enslavement of the less wild Lycans)  caused the war.   Marcus turned the right person to bring down his wild Lycan brother William, but Marcus didn't count on how merciless and stupid Viktor could be.  Viktor is the big cause of why the lycans rose.  Viktor could have stopped it by not enslaving the Lycans bred from Lucian (or kill Lucian as a baby), but clear thinking has never been Viktor's strength.  Viktor tends to rule with brute force and violence- an oppressive hand so to speak.  All the events of the UNDERWORLD films are brought out of Viktor's mistakes.

Shifting back to UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LYCANS, the prequel somewhat tells the story of the war's start somewhat successfully.   If only they could have expanded the story a little bit by a few minutes and added just a little more character development for the start of the film, the film could have been as good as the first UNDERWORLD.  I do wish Rhona Mitra had more time in the film even though the focus is on Lucian and Viktor (and not as much on Sonja).  However when things do get moving, the prequel rushes forward with a momentum that can't be stopped.   This film does leave room open for the film about Lucian's fall and Viktor's revenge.    UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LYCANS does help fill in the backstory only glimpsed at before or heard about.

this movie review is (c)1-23-2009 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com