Thursday, February 19, 2009

Movie Review: Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans *
Directed By:
Patrick Tatopoulus.
Written By: Danny McBride & Dirk Blackman & Howard McCain.
Starring: Michael Sheen (Lucian), Bill Nighy (Viktor), Rhona Mitra (Sonja), Steven Mackintosh (Tannis), Kevin Grevioux (Raze), David Ashton (Coloman).

Note: This is a capsule review, meaning that it is not nearly as long as most of my reviews. I do these once in a while, normally either when I’ve seen something really late, or on video, or as the case is here, I don’t really have much to say about the movie. Normally, I will simply put the words Capsule Review in bold at the top of the review.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is an example of a movie that was made solely to make money. Yeah, I know, all movies are made with at least the hope of making money, but there are some films where you know no one involved in the making of the film really cared about the final product. They threw something together, and tossed it into theaters to make a quick buck. In six months, it will be in bargain bins in Wal-Marts across the country. Was anyone really clamoring for a prequel to the first two Underworld movies, one that explained why the vampires and werewolves hate each other so much. Isn’t it enough that they’re vampires and werewolves, and as such have to compete over the same limited food supply? But that is what this movie is about. The only returning character is Viktor (Bill Nighy), an elder in the first two movies, and he’s an elder here as well although it takes place hundreds of years before. It was Viktor who first came up with the idea of using the new breed of werewolf, known as Lycans, as slaves. He favorite is Lucian (Michael Sheen, tired, I guess, of playing second fiddle to more famous people as he did in The Queen and Frost/Nixon), who is in love with Viktor’s daughter, Sonja (Rhona Mitra), and when that love it taken away from him, he decides to lead a Lycan revolution, like some sort of hairy Che Guevara. The screenplay of the movie is ludicrous, both in its storytelling and in the awful dialogue the actors are forced to spew. The acting is uniformly bad, but I’m not sure you can really blame the actors – anyone would look stupid saying these words. And the direction by Patrick Tatopolus is uninspired. The only reason to watch the first two Underworld movies was to see Kate Beckinsale strut around in skin tight leather for two hours. Take that away, and you really don’t have anything left.

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