Rarely do movie prequels are made better than the original or any sequels. But Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is an exception. It has more epic action, more emotion, and more tragedy than the first two.
From the original film, Underworld, the personal hatred between Lucian and Victor was fleshed even though the two characters were rarely seen together, if at all. Rightly so, fans spoke out in various online movie forums and generated enough buzz for the filmmakers to give us this delight of a movie.
In Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Danny McBride and the writing crew gave us things that we wanted to see:
1. Lucian as a ferocious lycan, 2. Viktor as an iron-handed and ruthless vampire warlord, 3. Werewolves and vampires pitted in an epic battle, and 4. Why Viktor sired Selene into vampirehood.
First off, Lucian was a character we wanted to know more from the first movie. Michael Sheen did a great job creating a hero in Lucian. Born of servitude, Lucian drew us in so that we desired to see the circumstances that broke him out of shackles to fighting the vampires. In Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, we finally saw why Victor and the vampires feared him.
Also, we got to see Viktor as a warlord of death. As a power hungry ruler, he maintained the uneasy truce between humans and vampires. Viktor drew tithings from the local townships in return for protection against the growing population of uncontrollable werewolves who were the predecessors of lycans and the direct offsprings of William (from the second movie, Underworld: Evolution). More importantly, he was also bent on maintaining vampire supremacy over all that lived.
Another great thing about this movie was that it gave us an epic battle between the werewolves and the vampires. The shootout we saw in the initial scenes of the first Underworld was merely a skirmish. In this movie, we got to see an army of vampires defend their castle from a horde of werewolves.
One character we missed in this movie, however, was Selene, played by Kate Beckinsale in the previous two movies. That’s ok. The story called for it. We knew from the first two movies why Viktor took to her so much. Selene reminded Viktor of his dear Sonja, the daughter he had condemned to death. And Rhona Mitra delivered brilliantly. Sonja and Selene would look great together as leather clad twins.
All in all, I give this movie a 5 out of 5 and shoot it up to the top of the Underworld series. As a fan, I hope there are future Underworld movies to keep us intrigued. This time, I’d like to see the back story behind Lucian going underground.