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The Third Underworld Aims to Smack Down Our Senses

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
Directed by Patrick Tatapoulos
Written by Howard McCain, Dirk Blackman, and Danny McBride based on a story by Len Wiseman, Robert Orr, and McBride
Screen Gems, 2009

It is, of course, ridiculously pointless to review a movie like Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.  Created from the mold of films made for people who don’t care about clarity, just that…something awesome just happened…or at least I think something awesome just happened, so therefore it must have, and I’ll continue enjoying it based on subliminal perception.  And that’s OK.  We all enjoy different things.  Just count me out of ever feeling a sense of joy watching a movie like this.

To me, if you have a plot concerning vampires and werewolves, it would suggest a lot of primal fantasy creature battle, a lot of fang-to-fang combat.  In other words, there would be a lot of biting.  The creators of Underworld were not content in having just vampires and werewolves, however.  They are really humans with vampire or werewolf blood, so then we get weapons thrown into the mix.  Guns, usually, and in this prequel world, bows and arrows and swords.  It is either an extremely clever gimmick to make the adversaries vampires and werewolves in order to spice up a conventional story, or it is an idea that gets lost in the shuffle.  Vampires and werewolves add nothing to the experience.  You might as well call them Jews and Arabs.  Jews and Arabs…not as sexy, however.

So in this iteration of Underworld, we see why these two fantasy creatures despise each other.  With vampires enslaving werewolves due to some hygienic issues, a baby is born in captivity, named Lucian (played in adulthood by Michael Sheen).  The ruler of the vamps, Viktor (Bill Nighy) briefly considers killing the baby, but decides to keep him as a superbreed of werewolf that can do chores around the house, a “favored” member of the werewolf clan.  Lucian helps he and other high-ranking members in the fight against the werewolves from the outside who continue to bring attacks.  Viktor’s daughter, Sonja (Rhona Mitra) is one who fights bravely and gets considerable help from Lucian in the process.  This help in part is due to the fact that Lucian and Sonja pound each other on a regular basis, a fact that would make her father Viktor none too proud I should say.

Lucian looks to free himself from some sort of supernatural collar that prevents him from turning into a werewolf, but it is forbidden under any circumstances, even to save Sonja from certain death.  So when he does free himself for this purpose, he is sent back to prison with all the other werewolves, losing favor.  It’s here that Lucian begins to see the wrongful imprisonment and wants to lead his kind in battle for freedom.  When some of his brothers are left behind in the breakout attempt, he knows he has to go back to free them.

There’s a lot of medieval weaponry here, a ton of flash-edit action scenes that I couldn’t bother myself to care to follow.  It’s better than the first two Underworld movies combined, but seeing as how I found neither of the previous entries to contain much value, this isn’t high praise.

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