The War Begins: Underworld Rise of the Lycans

Every rose has a thorn, just like every night has a dawn, and every cowboy sings a sad, sad love song, and every war has a beginning.

Sadly, they do. For example, in the words of Baldrick, the First World War was started when someone called Ferdinand shot an ostrich. I’m not sure his history is that accurate, and I’m even less sure that Underworld warranted a prequel. In fact, I feel fairly certain that it doesn’t. I’m also starting to come to the conclusion with these films that they’re the cinematic equivalent of money for old rope in that it doesn’t seem to matter how badly whoever is helming them cocks it up they’ll still pull in about $100m give or take regardless of the quality of the film. I find this sad.

Contains a very misguided version of Romeo and Juliet and spoilers below.

Sheen heard that a feral sheep had got loose in the valleys. He was out for blood.

There’s very little Beckinsale here, but don’t lose heart because we’ve got an awful lot of Rhona Mitra instead. This isn’t, actually, a bad substitute, but what is disappointing is that instead of skin tight leather, she’s filling out chainmail. Still, it’s not the end of the world. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans tells the story that’s already been bloody told to us twice in the first two films. This, in itself, automatically makes the film pointless, but I’m committed now. We’ve already heard about Lucian (Michael Sheen) and Sonja (Rhona Mitra) and their forbidden love that ultimately led to the war between the two immortal tribes. Effectively, what we have here is an origin story crossed with one of the most inexplicable takes on Romeo and Juliet that I’ve ever seen.

Clearly need more obedience training.

It’s back in the olden days. Viktor (Bill Nighy) is ruler of his coven of vampires. They’ve got problems with humans, and need some guards who can watch their holdings in the daytime. Viktor has discovered a young Werewolf cub, Lucian, who can transform himself back between human and wolf form rather than being trapped as a feral beast. What makes Lucian special isn’t ever adequately explained, he just fucking is, alright. Anyway, Viktor uses him to infect loads of other people making an army of super-Lycans that he can use as slaves. This, I feel, is a frankly lousy idea, made worse by the fact that Lucian is porking his beloved daughter Sonja.

Bill suspected that one of the waiting staff had flobbed in his wine

These starcrossed lovers (groan) make plans, shag, fight werewolves, attempt to escape and so forth until eventually Sonja goes too far, defeats Viktor, and begs for her and Lucian’s freedom based entirely on the fact that she’s carrying his son, and therefore Viktor’s grandson. Little is she aware that he moonlights as Grand Wizard of the Eastern Europe branch of the Klan and is therefore all about the racial purity. He’s even more about the species purity, as he’s not Welsh, so mixing with animals is simply not the done thing. Before you can say “molested sheep” he’s sentenced her to death and forces Lucian to watch. Lucian escapes and  thus the war between vampire and werewolf began.

Yawn.

This bollocks put me to sleep. Twice. Wiseman is out of the directors chair, replaced by someone called Patrick Tatopoulos, who has clearly been bought in to do one thing: clone a Len Wiseman version of Underworld. Honestly, Wiseman may as well be pulling his fucking strings as Rise of the Lycans makes the same mistakes as Evolution, and worse than that looks exactly the bloody same as its predecessor. Except with added  boredom.

Ready for some stabbery?

On the plus side, there’s more Bill Nighy. Which is good. There’s also no Speedman or Speedman Hybrid (this is very good). However, this doesn’t go far enough, because what we have here is an inordinately boring and pompous film. I don’t honestly give a monkey’s about Lucian’s “brothers” being slaves, and I don’t care how many times Sheen repeats this self-righteous cack with a pained look on his face. What I really want to see, given that it’s medieval times and whatnot, is lots and lots of pointy things inserted into people.

You sure the sheep are this way?

Acting wise, Sheen and Nighy do their best, with Nighy chewing the scenery with his usual amount of Underworld gusto. Mitra is even more of a plank than Beckinsale, which I didn’t think was possible, but she’s game and gives it her best shot. However, what gets to me with the performances, and it gets to me to a greater or lesser extent with all the Underworld films in general, is that nobody is having any fun. Honestly, they’re all such joyless experiences, that take a stupid concept about vampire-werewolf hostilities and just suck all the life out of them. Instead of being fun, they aim at some kind of contrived sense of cool, and as a direct result are actually completely lame and almost the epitome of uncool.

The contestants shat it when they saw this year’s X-Factor judges.

Nevertheless, as with the first two efforts, it isn’t a total loss. There’s one sequence that saves this from an Orangutan of Doom (I’m getting a bit bored of typing that)  and that’s that Tatoupopolispotatopolis puts in a sex scene. Huzzah! Thinks I, this will at least give me a chance to ogle Mitra and thus stave off the boredom for a while. Actually, I didn’t give him enough credit, because he has in mind the most frankly ridiculous clifftop shagging scene (looks like extreme Werewolf Bungee Sex, and I hear it is going to be in the next Olympic Games) that it’s possible to imagine. I’ve honestly never seen anything like this, and it’s so unintentionally amusing that I  howled (no pun intended) with laughter at it.

Words can not do justice to this scene, so I thought I’d helpfully supply a picture. If you don’t want me to take the piss, then don’t make unintentionally stupid and hilarious sex scenes.

Overall, this is, again, a terrible film. What is it with the Underworld movies that no matter how bad they are the damned things make money? I read somewhere that Beckinsale is now the most successful franchise female action star after Sigourney Weaver and it’s all down to bloody Underworld. This is insane. Still, clifftop shagging and attempted iconic final shot aside, you may be surprised to hear that I don’t recommend it. Underworld Rise of the Lycans is, in fact, shite. That’s three from three now, clearly this series was a really good idea.

Next up is the newest Underworld movie, which comes complete with 3D!!! Yay!

Until then,

Jarv.

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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

16 responses to “The War Begins: Underworld Rise of the Lycans”

  1. tombando says :

    Cliff sex? Wheres Cokey?

  2. Xiphos0311 says :

    I’m pretty sure I’ve only seen the first one of these and I’m not even positive of that but i don’t think I will be rushing out to update my watching history for them.

  3. tombando says :

    These just run into each other, I dont think I’d bother besides the first one.

    Question of the day though Jarv.

    Turdmen>any of these?

  4. ThereWolf says :

    Nice one, Jarv.

    I didn’t like this one. I can’t even remember the cliff sex. I do recall thinking ‘thank fuck for Bill Nighy’ all the way through the film.

    Did you ever get ‘Ink’ blu-ray? If ‘yes’, from where & was it region-free?

    • Jarv says :

      No. I got given a HD copy of it by a mate so didn’t bother. I am going to though

      • ThereWolf says :

        On amazon, the ‘Ink’ blu-ray is down as region coded; on Jamin’s website, the blu-ray is stated as ‘region-free’.

        I didn’t want to import it & find it won’t play on my player…

  5. coltighfighter says :

    hehehehe

    I rather enjoy these in the same way I enjoy the RE films. I liked this one as it didnt have actingbot Speedman in it. The reason they make money is down to people like me 🙂

    And Kate does fill that black leather well.

    • Jarv says :

      “actingbot”. Several letters longer than my favourite epithet for him. It’s astonishing how badly his presence ruins the films, though.

      Seen part 4 yet?

      • coltighfighter says :

        I have, but even now, I cant actually remember it. Which speaks volumes really. Perhaps they have finally lost there way.

        Unlike RE, which is as as hard to make dead as its baddies 😀

      • Jarv says :

        Funny, because I thought 4 was easily the best.

      • coltighfighter says :

        I also think deep down, I can’t believe Michael Sheen and Bill Nighy are doing this shit. I like to watch good actors doing ham.

        I always thought X Men succeeded originally by the genius casting of Stewart and McKellan, who could make that crap sound like Shakespeare,

      • Jarv says :

        Sheen, nighy, dance, jacobi and, er, Speedman & Beckinsale.

        The cast to these films is inexplicable.

  6. Droid says :

    This film is, unsurprisingly, complete shit. And I’ve totally purged it from my memory.

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