I finally caved in. Although I enjoy the "Underworld" series as most people seem to, I have many issues with the films themselves so I kept putting off watching this prequel. Seriously, I know how this one is going to end (we all saw the clips in the first films) so why rush to see a film I already know about? Luckily, "Rise Of The Lycans" is better then I hoped but it still suffers from a few things here and there.
Let's start with the good though - instead of trying to give us twists in the story so that we 'learn something new we didn't before', "Underworld 3/0" sticks pretty hardily to the story and it benefits the movie. It moves more alike a "Romeo And Juliet" story then anything else and it focuses on that. So even when Sonja kicks the bucket (I hope that wasn't a spoiler for anyone...seriously) we still had enough invested that it feels devastating even though we knew it would happen. Although some of the action sequences suffer from this focus on story, in the end I think it worked better then having it just be Goth vs. Puppy the entire time.
I will admit though that I wanted the climax to be a little more climactic. I really wanted some sort of a blood bath with the final siege on the Vampire castle and some of the quick editing style pulled me away from that. For an "Underworld" film this is definitely the least action oriented and I can see some fans being disappointed with that.
As for acting, the two leads Sheen and Mitra have great chemistry on film but everyone is over powered by the almighty Bill Nighy. His presence makes this film fucking rock and he definitely steals the show with his silent intensity and quick dry wit. I feel bad cause Sheen and Mitra have great moments but everything was somewhat put to shame by Nighy. Oh well, I could watch Nighy for hours and hours just painting a wall or something and be riveted. Maybe that's just me.
Now for the one big issue I had with the film. When the film used its special effects I was really impressed but the somewhat quick looking CGI took me back a bit. Too much of the computer wolves and green screens made me a little anxious by the end and the blue saturated color scheme (although a big element in the "Underworld" series) made the film feel a little bland by the end. Doesn't help the setting of the castle changed for like 3 scenes the entire film, but I get the idea.
Overall, the film was much stronger then I expected. A few flaws prevented it from being a great watch (then again I felt that way with all the "Underworld" films) but I had fun and the simplistic story line worked very well for it. Now I wanted to see a new sequel coming for the franchise that loses a little of the campiness and replaces it with good ole fashioned storytelling like this one did.
Written By Matt Reifschneider