Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (Review)

Latest in the ongoing vampire series is a pedestrian affair

Werewolves and vampires occupy the modern cultural space of myth. These creatures are our gods, our repositories of mystical and sensual power and our dark inspirations. We imbue them with supernatural power we covet, and we mark them as well with our own foibles because we want to see how great power and responsibility impacts judgment.

Rise of the Lycans, the third movie in the Underworld series, is actually a prequel to the first two, providing backstory to the class warfare among the upper ruling class (the vampires) and the animalistic slaves (the werewolves) without spending much time or thought on the pesky humans on the periphery. Are we fodder for the creation of the vampires and werewolves? Are we nourishment? Can we fight or form alliances from any kind of position of strength?

Patrick Tatopoulis, an assistant from within the franchise, replaces Len Wiseman at the helm, and Doomsday anti-heroine Rhona Mitra steps into the butt-kicking vampire princess role for Kate Beckinsale, which she handles with what amounts to pedestrian ease. But the questions remain and become even more relevant given the story’s setting — the mythic age of swords (and the curiously absent sorcery).

Sure, the Lycans (led by Frost/Nixon’s Michael Sheen) want their freedom, but I still want to know where the humans fit in this world. When are we going to stand up to these mythic, god-like creatures and have our day in the sun? Grade: D

Opens Jan. 23. Check out theaters and show times, see the film's trailer and find nearby bars and restaurants here.