Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009) – Movie Review

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is the third movie in the installments of the Underworld series. However, it is the prequel to Underworld and Underworld: Evolution.

SPOILER WARNING: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Rhona Mitra and Michael Sheen in "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans"
Rhona Mitra and Michael Sheen in "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans"

Before the start of the first Underworld movie, Lycans or werewolves were once the slaves of the aristocratic vampires dated back to the Dark Ages. A young Lycan named Lucian (Michael Sheen) is spared by Viktor (Bill Nighy), a powerful but ostentatious Vampire overlord. Viktor’s daughter, Sonja (Rhona Mitra) patrols every night to defend the Coven from hoards of ferocious werewolves. Enslaved by the Death Dealers (vampires), Lucian obeys every instruction that is given to him, including killing his own kind.

When Sonja disobeys her dad’s instruction by joining the others to safely escort the humans back to the vampires’ coven, Lucian senses the danger of an overwhelming numbers of werewolves and goes for her rescue by removing the chain on his neck and turns into a Lycan. His transformation and his powerful howl silences every werewolves. Despite saving Sonja, Lycan is punished by Viktor for breaking rules and thus, Lucian’s anger over the enslavement grows more.

Lucian and Sonja are secretly making out almost every night without realizing that Tannis (Steven Mackintosh) has been observing. As Lucian is planning to escape, he needs all the help he can get from Sonja. When they realize that Tannis knows about their secret relationship, Sonja gives up her seat as a council member to Tannis in exchange for secret-keeping and freedom for Lucian.

Lucian manages to release almost every slaves but not everyone manages to escape from the castle. When Viktor finds out about Lucian’s escape, he uses his daughter, Sonja as a bait to get Lucian back to the castle. Lucian foolishly ignores his men and returns to the castle only to be captured again. This time, Lucian has to witness the execution of his lover, Sonja in the dungeon as Sonja has not only broken the law by being with the filthy Lycans but she’s pregnant with a possible hybrid child. Sonja is burnt to ashes when the rooftop is uncovered with the rays of sun turning Sonja into a dark ashes. Lucian becomes furious and mad, he transforms into a werewolf and makes a bid to escape. However, the vampire warriors manage to hold him down with their powerful arrows. Despite that, Lucian manages to make a powerful howl that brings the entire forces of werewolves and the escaped Lycans back to the castle to fight for their lives. Rest assured is an exciting battle between werewolves and the vampires.

In the end, Viktor manages to escape through an underground river by feigning death after Lucian thrusts a sword through his throat. Tannis and Viktor are seen escaping in a small boat with Viktor going back into the coffin to hibernate. The ending footage (which is a scene from Underworld) shows Selene (Kate Beckinsale) disbelieving the tale of his father, Viktor, of whom was said have murdered the entire family and blamed the Lycans.

Overall, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is a prequel which heavily focused on the Lycans and werewolves. The special effect and the transformation from human form to werewolves are just breathe-taking. However, the Death Dealers or the vampires seem weak and heavily relies on armor and weapons in their battles. Still, it is a movie well worth watching.

My rating: 7 out of 10.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009) Trailer

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans or Underworld 3 is the sequel to the 2006 Underworld: Evolution. However, Kate Beckinsale who played Selene in the previous Underworld films won’t be in the third installment. Instead, Rhona Mitra will appear as Sonja. Michael Sheen plays Lucian, the young Lycan. The movie will open in the US in January 23, 2009.