Rhona Mitra sharpens her action skills in Rise Of The Lycans.
UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LYCANS (D: Patrick Tatopoulos, 93 min). Opens Friday (January 23). See Movies for film times. Rating: N
The third film in the Underworld series, Rise Of The Lycans is a prequel that rolls the vampires-versus-werewolves action back to the earliest days of their supernatural rivalry, which means no guns, no cars and no Kate Beckinsale in a rubber catsuit.
Instead, we get series regulars Bill Nighy and Michael Sheen hissing at each another in a grimy medieval castle where the aristocratic vampires keep the hairy Lycans as slave labour, until Sheen's lupine Moses teaches his fellow prisoners to rise up and seize their freedom. Oh, and he's banging vampire king Nighy's daughter (Rhona Mitra, from Doomsday), so also a Romeo And Juliet thing going on as well.
It's kind of amusing for the first little while to watch the eminently respectable Sheen (of The Queen and Frost/Nixon) run around playing werewolf Spartacus, but only in an awkward, schaudenfreudey kind of way. And once that wears off, the film's as dull as the others in the series, with Nighy sneering and prancing around in ridiculous blue contact lenses while his vampire court quakes deferentially.
This being a prequel, there's lots of talk about dynasties being corrupted and how wars will be started that could last for centuries. By the time the credits roll, the only question left unanswered is "Did Sheen cry himself to sleep every night on this shoot, or just every other night?"