Blu-Ray Review: Prequel ‘Underworld: Rise of the Lycans’ With Michael Sheen

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
No votes yet

CHICAGO – “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans” is easily one of the weirdest movies of 2009. It’s a werewolf movie that plays like a variation on “Gladiator” or “Spartacus” with the foundation of “Romeo & Juliet”. Solid work by the excellent Michael Sheen nearly redeems the film but an awful screenplay, dull design, and plodding direction sink this bizarre prequel.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 1.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 1.0/5.0

How many people were really concerned with how the blood feud started between the vampires and the lycans that served as the foundation for the Kate Beckinsale “Underworld” films? Enough to spawn this unusual prequel, detailing the history of this centuries-old rivalry.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans was released on Blu-Ray on May 12th, 2009.
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans was released on Blu-Ray on May 12th, 2009.
Photo credit: Sony

Lycans used to be slaves for the Death Dealers, the aristocratic vampires led by the vicious Viktor (Bill Nighy). In the Dark Ages, a young Lycan named Lucien (Michael Sheen) develops a romance with Viktor’s daughter Sonja (Rhona Mitra) and leads his kind in a revolution against their masters.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans was released on Blu-Ray on May 12th, 2009.
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans was released on Blu-Ray on May 12th, 2009.
Photo credit: Sony

Sheen brings an unusual amount of star power to the role of Lucien but he’s fighting a losing war against awful dialogue, incomprehensibly staged action sequences, and poor design decisions. He’s also proof that the argument of one actor raising the game of everyone around him doesn’t always hold true. Mitra is simply horrible in a passion-less, uninteresting role and Nighy chews so much scenery with his over-the-top interpretation that you half expect him to literally gnaw on his throne.

Ultimately, “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans” commits a cardinal sin of action movies - it’s as boring as watching bad Shakespeare. Only take a look if you’re a diehard werewolf, vampire, or Michael Sheen junkie. Casual fans of any of the above or even the original “Underworld” movies (which look like “The Matrix” compared to this mess) should stay away.

The Blu-Ray presentation of “Rise of the Lycans” doesn’t help the final judgment of the film. Director Patrick Tatopoulos shot the film in almost all dark colors, using mostly blues and blacks. The HD transfer doesn’t help the murky cinematography or overdone color palette but it should have been more crisply transferred. It’s literally hard to tell what’s going on sometimes, although the blame could fall any number of places besides the video transfer. The audio is similarly uninspiring with an average TrueHD 5.1 track.

Special features on “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans” include a Script to Screen feature, “The Origin of the Feud,” “Re-Creating the Dark Ages,” Music Video for “Deathclub” by William Control, and a filmmaker commentary.

Blu-Ray exclusive special features include a digital copy of the film, “Cinechat,” “Behind the Castle Walls - Picture-in-Picture,” and “Lycanthropes Around the World - Interactive Map”.

The special features are not a particularly bad collection of bonus material but they’re offered in the enhancement of such a dull film that they naturally suffer from being pretty uninteresting themselves.

‘Underworld: Rise of the Lycans’ is released by Sony Pictures Home Video and stars Michael Sheen, Rhona Mitra, and Bill Nighy. It was written by Danny McBride and Dirk Blackman & Howard McCain and directed by Patrick Tatopoulos. The Blu-Ray and DVD will be released on May 12th, 2009. It is rated R.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing

TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

Advertisement



HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter

archive

HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions
referendum
tracker