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DVD Review

DVD cover

Rise of the Lycans


Starring: Bill Nighy, Michael Sheen, Rhona Mitra, Kevin Grevioux and Steven Mackintosh
Entertainment in Video
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 18
Available 18 May 2009

Every war has a beginning... In the Dark Ages, a young Lycan named Lucian grows up as a slave to Viktor, the ruthless vampire king. As he matures, Lucian emerges as a powerful leader - and develops an illicit affair with Viktor's daughter, the beautiful vampire Sonja. Lucian and Viktor engage in a showdown, thus beginning the epic race war between the Lycan werewolf slaves and the aristocratic vampires, the Death Dealers...

For fans of the first two Underworld movies, Rise of the Lycans shows how it all began - how the vampires and werewolves came to be at each others throats. However, for those who haven't seen the first two movies this film will be a bit confusing - especially the very end sequence.

Sure the effects and sets are impressive (if you like dark movies with hardly any colour) but when broken down to its bare bones there's not really much to the story.

Bill Nighy plays Viktor, the leader of a group of vampires who protect the local human population from a pack of savage werewolves. In exchange Viktor levies a tax on these people. Held as a prisoner by Viktor, Lucian is the first Lycan (a cross between a human and a werewolf) to be born and has grown up to become the leader of Viktor's gang of Lucian guards who protect the vampires during daylight hours. Viktor trusts Lucian enough to give him a little freedom, but he is still very much a slave.

When a meeting with a new group of humans turns into a werewolf ambush, Lucian removes his restraining collar that prevents him from becoming a werewolf. This he does to save Viktor's daughter, but Viktor is outraged that Lucian has broken his one rule - regardless of the honourable motives.

Lucian decides to free his brothers in chains and leave the Vampire city behind them, but there is just one problem, Lucian and Viktor's daughter are also lovers and if Viktor discovers this he will surely punish her.

Extras include Filmmakers' Commentary (with producer Len Wiseman, director Patrick Tatopoulos, producer Richard Wright, producer Gary Lucchesi and VFX supervisor / executive producer James McQuaide); Underworld: Rise of the Lycans - From Script to Screen (9 min, 19 sec which for some unknown reason has terrible lip synch for the segments with the director); The Origin of the Feud (19 min, 59 sec); Recreating the Dark Ages - The Look of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (13 min, 02 sec) and 'Deathclub' music video (3 min, 42 sec).

While this movie will no doubt appeal to fans of the first two movies, as a stand alone film it's a little weak. It looks great, but is hardly the most original of tales - being basically a forbidden love story.


Darren Rea

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