Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (also known as Underworld 3) is a 2009 American film directed by Patrick Tatopoulos. It is the third installment (chronologically the first) in the Underworld series, focusing primarily on the origins of some characters and the events leading to the Vampire-Lycan war, depicted in the previous films Underworld and Underworld: Evolution.

The film tells the story of Lucian (Michael Sheen), the first werewolf able to take human form and to be called a Lycan. Viktor (Bill Nighy), a ruthless elder vampire, raises the child. Viktor kills Lucian's werewolf mother but envisions a race of werewolf slaves for his clan that could keep guard during the day and toil for the vampires. As Lucian grows up, he and Viktor's young daughter Sonja (Rhona Mitra) develop an attraction that blossoms into love in their adult years, though they keep their relationship hidden.

Viktor has a relationship with the humans of the area; he protects them from the werewolves that roam the countryside in exchange for a tithe. As human nobles meet with the vampire council for protection from the werewolves, Sonja guards them. Lucian hears the werewolves near Sonja and orders Death Dealers sent to help her. When his orders are denied, he steals a horse and sword from a nearby Death Dealer. Werewolves proceed to kill the nobles, causing Lucian to battle them. When Lucian changes into a Lycan in order to protect Sonja, the werewolves back down. Viktor, despite acknowledging that Lucian saved his daughter, feels betrayed by his favorite pet and locks Lucian away after having him brutally whipped.

With the help of the scheming vampire Andreas Tanis, Sonja orchestrates Lucian's release in exchange for her seat on the vampire council. Lucian escapes, kills several of the vampires and begins liberating the other Lycans. The guards begin slaughtering the escapees. Sonja remains behind, but when Viktor discovers that she has had a forbidden relationship with Lucian, he imprisons her. Lucian and some of the freed Lycans roam the countryside recruiting many of the labourers of the human nobles to their fight for freedom. He also travels to a cavernous location that is teeming with werewolves, attempting to contact them. The vampire nobles are outraged by the escape and growing chaos, demanding that Viktor recapture Lucian. Viktor however, knows that Lucian will come to him.

Lucian learns about Sonja's imprisonment from one of her attendants and sets out to rescue her. Lucian orders his followers to wait, but be prepared to attack if he does not return. Lucian rescues Sonja from the fortress but they are attacked by the Death Dealers. Sonja confronts Viktor and tries to get him to call off his guards by revealing that she is pregnant with Lucian's child. Disgusted, Viktor overpowers her and imprisons both her and Lucian. Sonja is sentenced to death at a trial presided over by her father and the council. Lucian is forced to witness Sonja's death, in which she is burned to death by sunlight.

Lucian awakens when Viktor comes in to view his deceased daughter. As Viktor removes the pendant necklace he gave Sonja, an enraged Lucian transforms and overpowers Viktor. Lucian takes Sonja's pendant, escaping out a window. The escape is stopped at the castle walls by Death Dealers who shoot Lucian with crossbows. With a thunderous howl, Lucian summons the freed Lycans and werewolves, who attack the coven. Viktor sends Tanis to remove the slumbering Amelia and Markus from their crypts before joining the battle with his personal guard. The council, meanwhile are overwhelmed and butchered by the rampaging werewolves.

Lucian sees Viktor entering the fray and fights his way to him. Viktor and Lucian battle their way to the catacombs. The fight continues until Lucian overcomes Viktor. Viktor's 'final' words attest to his regret at not having killed Lucian the moment he was born, to which Lucian sarcastically agrees before forcing his sword through Viktor's mouth and head and letting the body fall into the water below. Lucian emerges to the courtyard which is ringed with the surviving Lycans, werewolves and freed slaves. He declares this victory as only the beginning of what will become a war between the races. Tanis is leading a very alive Viktor into a hibernation chamber on a boat.

The film ends with the opening scene of the first Underworld, with the audio from the scene where Kraven tells Selene that it was Viktor who murdered her family, rather than the Lycans, and that Viktor spared her because she reminded him of the daughter he condemned to death; Selene replies to Kraven, "Lies."

Michael Sheen as Lucian: Enslaved as a baby, Lucian has only been able to imagine the full extent of his Lycan powers. In the evolution from werewolf to Lycan, Lucian feels the responsibility of the Lycan race resting on his shoulders. At the same time, his love for the vampire, Sonja, complicates his desire for freedom from the Vampires.

Bill Nighy as Viktor: One of three ruling Vampire Elders, Viktor is a haughty, ostentatious Vampire overlord more than 1,000 years old. Like most Vampires, he has a severe hatred for werewolves but also a fascination with their unique strengths. Through slavery, he has created a small but mighty force of Lycan slaves. Despite his best efforts to govern the Coven, the Council members have begun to question his leadership.

Rhona Mitra as Sonja: Sonja is the daughter of the powerful Vampire Elder, Viktor. Beautiful and brave, her nightly patrols defend the Coven from the hordes of ferocious werewolves. Despite her father's hatred for the Lycan race, she has fallen in love with the Lycan slave, Lucian. She battles between the desire to fulfil the responsibilities that come with her lineage and her willful nature. Because of her love for Lucian, she is sympathetic to the enslaved Lycans' plight.

Steven Mackintosh as Andreas Tanis: Deceptive and conniving, Andreas Tanis serves the Elders as advisor and historian of the Coven. His desire for power, wealth and status lead him to do nearly anything to stand in Viktor's good favor. Often tasked with managing the strong-willed Sonja, he discovers the secrets held in the dark corridors beneath the castle, intending to use them to his advantage.

Kevin Grevioux as Raze: Lucian discovers Raze's amazing bravery and strength as he rescues him from near-certain death. The two become friends and after Raze is turned into a Lycan, he joins Lucian's struggle for freedom.

Craig Parker as Sabas

Jared Turner as Xristo

David Aston as Coloman: a Vampire Councillor often questioning and criticizing Viktor's actions.

Elizabeth Hawthorne as Orsova: a Vampire Councillor who also asks and points out the flaws with Viktor's actions.

Kate Beckinsale as Selene: Beckinsale did not film new footage, a scene from Underworld was used to bookend the film. Beckinsale also provided a monologue for the beginning of the film.

Shane Brolly as Kraven: Like Beckinsale, Brolly did not film any new footage but lines of his dialogue from the first film are used for the film's ending.

Tania Nolan as Luka: Sonja's lady in waiting who gave the news to Lucian that Sonja had been captured.

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