Movie Review: Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans

This entry into the Underworld series felt more coherent than its predecessors/sequels, partially because the plot is really simple. If you can remember Lucian’s flashback about his angsty past in Underworld 1, well this is it, expanded out into a full movie as Underworld 3 for your viewing pleasure. Not plot twists or turns or anything to detract from the melodramatic tragedy unfolding.

Unfortunately, it’s sort of muffled by an overlong prologue and epilogue that reduce this coherency while trying to patch it into the rest of the Underworld saga. I wish they’d avoided this as it could have stood far more nicely on its own without all of the referencing. This makes me worried for what a convoluted plot-mess Underworld 4 will be, assuming they make it and bring back the Kate/Scott plotlines.

For U3’s plot – essentially – Lucian (a Lichen, oops, Lycan – a werewolf as opposed to some were-fungal creature) having it on with Sonja, a vampire. This Love is Forbidden ™. Lucian is a slave and wants to escape, taking Sonja with him. Things go horribly wrong. Tragic stuff ensues. (The only really bad plot-hole, if it is one, is that Lucian forgets his werewolf army at a critical point in the movie – the bestial werewolves. When he does call them in, it’s too late, but I’m sure we could explain this away with plot fudge.)

The movie is set in this faux-Dark ages environment, albeit with modern-esque fashions and elf armour (yes, the armour the vampires wear was sourced from the LOTR movies.) Men wear leather coats and jackets and the vampires hang around scantily clad in night-clubbing gear, drinking blood from glasses. (Vampires have scarcely changed throughout the ages.) I suspect this is what many Dark Ages Vampire campaigns may have actually looked like, if someone had been bothered to telepathically televise such things. Sonja wears a wierd sort of chainmail dress. It’s a good thing she’s undead, otherwise the chafing would have been horrid.

The werewolf transformations are excellent, and the werewolves move like wolf/gorilla hybrids and look pretty good. It’s a shame that they degrade will into rubber, fur-less, CGI blobs in Underworld 1 (if we view things chronologically of course.) This makes up for the crapfest of Scott Speedman’s ‘abomination’ transformation in the other two films. The vampires nicely smoke in the sunlight, although I’ve forgotten why their eyes turn ice-blue at random intervals – are they using their powers or something?

On the plus side, there is lots of man-candy to gawk at in this picture. Michael Sheen is hot as Lucian, running around, all muscled and sweaty and scantily clad. In fact, all of the Lyca– look, I’m just going to call them werewolves, okay? – all of the werewolves are all buff, sweaty, leather-clad men, with nary a woman in sight. (Perhaps they all reproduce by budding or something.) Bill Nighy offers a different type of man-candy to gawk at – the refined, vampire lord style of things. Bill and Michael certainly play things up, but that’s what makes this so delectable to watch. Mmmm.

Oh, there is Rhona Mitra as Sonja, who seemed okay, but yeah, why would you want to watch her with all of the other nice things to watch on offer? (She seemed a bit subdued when you compare her with Selene, her predecessor anyway.)

I’ll give this Three out of Five Man-Candies as I head off to take a nice, warm bath.

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