Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

January 23rd, 2009

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Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

Still of Michael Sheen in Underworld: Rise of the LycansStill of Michael Sheen in Underworld: Rise of the LycansRhona Mitra and Michael Sheen at event of Underworld: Rise of the LycansStill of Bill Nighy in Underworld: Rise of the LycansStill of Patrick Tatopoulos and Len Wiseman in Underworld: Rise of the LycansStill of Kevin Grevioux in Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

An origins story centered on the centuries-old feud between the race of aristocratic vampires and their onetime slaves, the Lycans.

Release Year: 2009

Rating: 6.4/10 (48,401 voted)

Critic's Score: 44/100

Director: Patrick Tatopoulos

Stars: Rhona Mitra, Michael Sheen, Bill Nighy

The prequel story traces the origins of the centuries-old blood feud between the aristocratic vampires and their onetime slaves, the Lycans. In the Dark Ages, a young Lycan named Lucian emerges as a powerful leader who rallies the werewolves to rise up against Viktor, the cruel vampire king who has enslaved them. Lucian is joined by his secret lover, Sonja, in his battle against the Vampire army and his struggle for Lycan freedom.

Writers: Danny McBride, Dirk Blackman

Michael Sheen - Lucian
Bill Nighy - Viktor
Rhona Mitra - Sonja
Steven Mackintosh - Tannis
Kevin Grevioux - Raze
David Aston - Coloman
Geraldine Brophy - Nobleman's Wife
Leighton Cardno - Fearful Lycan
Alex Carroll - Young Lucian (as Alexander Carroll)
Elizabeth Hawthorne - Orsova
Jason Hood - Death Dealer
Mark Mitchinson - Nobleman
Tania Nolan - Luka
Craig Parker - Sabas
Timothy Raby - Janosh (as Tim Raby)

Taglines: Every war has a beginning.


Official Website: Official site | Official site [France] |

Release Date: 23 January 2009

Filming Locations: Auckland, New Zealand

Box Office Details

Budget: $35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $20,828,511 (USA) (25 January 2009) (2942 Screens)

Gross: $45,802,315 (USA) (1 March 2009)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Viktor (Bill Nighy), Lucian (Michael Sheen), and Selene (Kate Beckinsale) are the only characters/actors to appear in all three movies of the Underworld series. Each character has one movie in which they only appear in a flashback: Viktor and Lucian in Underworld: Evolution and Selene in Underworld: Rise of he Lycans.

Continuity: When Sonja cries, her first tear comes down to her mouth twice.

Xristo: With respect Lucian, I do not see the wisdom in waiting for her. She is not one of us.
Lucian: She is the one who set us free.
Xristo: But she is a vampire! If she has betrayed you, she could lead them to us!
Lucian: [Grabs Xristo by the throat] Death Dealers will undoubtedly be on the hunt. And they will eventually find us. But not by her doing. I trust Sonja with my life, and as long as I'm in command so will you.
[Releases his hold on Xristo and walks off]
Sabas: [Offscreen to Xristo] I told you not to say anything.

User Review

You know, I really enjoyed it. Michael Sheen is superb in a film where great performances normally don't happen.

Rating: 8/10

Very rarely do prequels match up with their predecessors. As I'm not the biggest Underworld fan, I can honestly say that I wasn't expecting much. However, I should've expected more, as the latest, yet earliest installment is easily my favorite in the series. It ain't art, but it's the shining example of why we go to the movies: to escape into a world of mythology, fantasy, and crazy vampire/werewolf action.

For the first time in the series, the filmmakers have decided to leave out the rock that probably was the reason the films have been successful: Kate Beckinsale. I'm guessing this was a production risk/choice, but it seems to have paid off. Selene's absence from the story is necessary to tell the story of how the Lycans rose to power, how Viktor was driven insane (though we pretty much already know how), and, as off topic as it may be, how simply awesome Michael Sheen is.

Very rarely do the actors make an action movie good. Most action movies rely on explosions and (surprise!) action to enhance the quality and generally feature run of the mill copycat characters. Sheen's Lucian and Bill Nighy's Viktor will always stand out in the realm of action/fantasy characters to me, and it's easy to see why. Sheen's turn as Lucian is fierce, determined, and one of my favorite performances in an action movie I've seen in years. Despite playing a (mostly) villainous role in the first film, Lucian is the hero of this film, and it totally gives you a new spin on things. Sheen's brave and dedicated performance really makes the character work, while Bill Nighy is once again effectively creepy as Viktor. Rhona Mitra's presence as Sonja is welcome, though she doesn't carry the same charisma that Beckinsale does, making her an ill advised choice to be Selene's replacement (as she so obviously is).

The action in Underworld, though obviously restrained by a lower budget, is once again great. There's some nice dueling, the obvious gore and blood galore, and a nice Lord of the Rings style battle at the end. What it comes down to is that Underworld does nothing new, but does everything right in maintaining a steady river of entertainment. I was never bored, and I don't think you will be either.

The film does answer a lot of questions and provides some nice insight to the Lycans (which were my favorite parts about the first two films), though it suffers from the same fate as most prequels do...even a casual viewer of this series knows which characters will live, which will die, and how it will end. The film isn't really about the resolution, but rather the journey to the end. In fact, it's made in such a way that you can certainly watch the trilogy in chronological order.

When it comes down to it, I liked 'Lycans' a lot. It's a worthy installment in the series, and certainly not a disappointment to me. It's got good action, a wonderful lead performance from Michael Sheen, and should satisfy fans of the series and fans of mythological stories altogether.

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