Underworld fans have been waiting three years for the next installment, which would act as a prequel to the previous two. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans did explain the origins of the Lycans’ power, but it did little more than that. Fans expecting answers to other mysteries may just have to wait another three years.
The first Underworld movie (2003) revolved around a vampire named Selene, whose job was to track down Lycans, the vampires’ most hated enemies for hundreds of years. The Lycans live in the sewers and use technology and their strength in the fight against the vampires.
Once Selene meets Michael and they become involved, she must decide where her loyalties lie in the war she was born to fight. Lucian, the head of the Lycans, is bent on acquiring Michael, a human with certain genetics, to use against the vampires.
Rise of the Lycans shows the beginnings of the war, centuries before Selene was born. Underworld: Evolution was released in 2006 and still revolved around Selene and Michael, with them working together to discover the truth about their bloodlines.
Rise of the Lycans leaves Selene and Michael’s story and starts back at the beginning when Viktor was the head vampire elder and kept werewolves for sport. One day, a boy was born that was seemingly human, but was able to turn into a werewolf.
He was the first of a new race, a combination of bloodlines, a Lycan. His name was Lucian. He was kept as a slave under the vampires, but was always treated with more respect than any of the others because he was Viktor’s favorite.
Viktor had a daughter named Sonja, and she and Lucian eventually become tangled in a secret love affair. Viktor finds out about Sonja’s betrayal and disowns her for falling in love with a Lycan. Lucian, enraged, calls upon the help of the wild werewolves in the region, who miraculously obey his, and only his, command. Hence, the blood feud between vampire and Lycan begins.
First and foremost, Rise of the Lycans is a love story. The previous Underworld movies were also based around a love story, but still had the jaw-dropping action and gore one expects to see when a vampire and Lycan are trying to rip one another’s heads off.
This movie had plenty of opportunities for great action sequences, but for some reason they were all a blur, followed by some blood splattered on the wall. There were very few scenes with as much shock value as the previous two movies.
The storyline of Rise of the Lycans had so much potential for being a great prequel. In reality, it gave very few answers, and the answers it did give seemed rushed and not as complex as everyone thought they were going to be. Whether this has to do with the fact that this installment had a different director than the other two is unknown.
Prequels are stereotyped for being choppy and for not respecting their originals, and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is no exception.
Diehard fans of the series should see it anyway, just to get the back story on Lucian, but seeing this film is not going to make any newcomers want to go back and watch the original.