Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (DVD)

More monster mayhem…

That the third film in the gothic action Underworld franchise is an origin story is most likely what makes it hold its own; rather than tread the same tired path as its predecessors, it has the benefit of being able to start from scratch. That’s not to say it differs wildly from the first two movies, in that it’s high-octane action from start to finish, but it has fun in establishing just how the vampire and werewolf races came to be such deadly enemies.

Centuries before Kate Beckinsale’s Lycan-loving vamp Selene comes onto the scene, it’s the equally as stunning Sonja (Rhona Mitra) who is causing all the trouble. The daughter of head vamp Viktor (Bill Nighy), Sonja is a loyal defender of her father’s realm, helping to fight off the vicious werewolves that surround the castle. But Sonja hides a deadly secret; she is in love with Lucian (Michael Sheen), a powerful Lycan who, along with many of his kind, has been enslaved by Viktor. When Lucian leads a revolt against the vamps who hold him captive, Sonja finds her loyalties severely tested…


It’s the strong performances, particularly from Sheen (in a part that’s the direct opposite of the role he plays in Frost/Nixon, also released today) and Nighy as the two deadly adversaries, that keep Rise of the Lycans on track. Director Patrick Tatopoulos, who created the monsters for the first two films, also keeps a steady hand on proceedings, ensuring the story moves along apace. Energetic, dark and satisfying, it does exactly what it says on the tin. 3 stars

Extra Features
Tatopoulos provides a spirited director’s commentary, plus there are a featurettes on the journey from script to screen, the origins of the feud between the vamps and the lycans and the visual effects. A music video rounds off the bonus features. 3 stars

Stars Rhona Mitra, Michael Sheen, Bill Nighy
Director Patrick Tatopolous
Distributor Entertainment in Video
Format DVD & Blu-ray
Released May 18th

Also released: Underworld 1 – 3 Box Set