Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

Watch Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

"Every war has a beginning."
  • R
  • 2009
  • 1 hr 32 min
  • 6.5  (165,885)
  • 44

As the third installment in the Underworld franchise, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, released in 2009, is a prequel that sheds light on the events that led to the centuries-old feud between vampires and werewolves, or Lycans, as they are known in this movie. The movie is directed by Patrick Tatopoulos and stars Rhona Mitra as the lead protagonist, Sonja, a powerful Lycan. Michael Sheen reprises his role as the valiant Lycan warrior, Lucian, and Bill Nighy appears as Viktor, a majestic vampire lord.

The storyline revolves around the love affair between Sonja and Lucian. The movie is set in the Dark Ages, where vampires rule the domain, and Lycans are enslaved as their protectors. Sonja is the daughter of Viktor, who raised her to be a vampire and one day succeed him as the ruler of the vampire clan. However, Sonja secretly falls in love with Lucian and sees the injustice inflicted on the Lycans by her own kind. As they carry on their romance, they plot a rebellion against the vampire oppressors.

The movie starts with a summary of the feud between the vampires and Lycans and how the vampires gained power over the Lycans. In the past, werewolves and vampires battled each other, with the vampires victorious. They captured several werewolves and put them into slavery, forcing them to work as guards for their vampire overlords. Lucian is one such Lycan, who grows into a strong warrior and catches the eye of Sonja. She is intrigued by his strength and bravery, something she does not usually see among the vampires. They start their love affair in secret, knowing the consequences of being caught. Unfortunately, their relationship is indeed uncovered, and Viktor is furious when he learns about it. He banishes Sonja to the dungeons but is willing to spare Lucian's life. However, to Sonja's dismay, Viktor tortures Lucian and orders his death.

Lucian's survival is quite miraculous; he escapes his captors, reunites with other Lycans, and starts plotting his revenge on the vampires. Sonja, on the other hand, has her hands full with her father's tyranny and the realization that she is pregnant with Lucian's child. The danger is not just from the vampires; later in the movie, rumors of a massive werewolf army circulate, and Lucian, having become the leader of the Lycans, must make hard decisions to protect his kind. Sonja is at odds with her father, who, despite her pleas, is determined to kill Lucian and any werewolf who gets in his path. The Lycans' uprising and their quest for freedom end up raising the stakes, leading to an intense and dramatic climax.

The movie's focus on illustrating how the centuries-old vampire-lycan feud began is one of its strengths. It creates a deeper understanding of the two factions' motivations and their history, which adds context to the rest of the Underworld series. In contrast to the previous movies, where the vampires were portrayed as the clear-cut villains, this movie provides a more nuanced portrayal of the vampires' society. Viktor, the vampire leader, is presented as a complex and multifaceted character, which elevates the story's intrigue.

The film is shot mainly in New Zealand, offering a stunning aesthetic with its Mediterranean-like landscapes and medieval architectures. The set and costume design are also impressive, making the movie feel authentic and immersive.

One of the highlights of this movie is the performances of its actors. Rhona Mitra brings depth to her character, Sonja, as a conflicted lover and heir, torn between her loyalty to her father and her love for Lucian. Her chemistry with Michael Sheen, who also gave a captivating performance, is believable and adds more stakes to the story. Bill Nighy, as Viktor, is excellent as the imposing vampire ruler, who can be both commanding and ruthless when challenged.

In conclusion, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is an exciting movie that tells a unique origin story for the Underworld franchise. Its endearing performances, intricately designed settings and costumes, and a well-written story make it a stand-alone movie that works well even for those who haven't seen the previous movies. If you haven't watched it yet, it is worth giving it a watch, especially if you are a fan of the genre.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is a 2009 fantasy movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 32 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.5 and a MetaScore of 44.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 32 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.5  (165,885)
  • Metascore