While Underworld: Rise of the Lycans didn’t pack the same punch as the first two movies, it was still an enjoyable film. Underworld newcomer, Rhona Mitra (as Sonja), delievered a performance that suited the feel and style of the first two movies. However, her performance lacked the emotional depth brought on-screen by Kate Beckinsale. Mitra brings her character to life and draws the viewer in just enough to interest them in what’s happening, but not enough to make them feel truly concerned for the character’s emotional plight. Mitra’s tears just don’t elicit the same response as Beckinsale’s.
Some may argue that this is, in part, due to the fact that we were given two films’ worth of time to invest in Selene emotionally and only just met Sonja. However, I think it has more to do with the fact that Kate Beckinsale’s level of acting reaches an emotional intensity that Rhona Mitra’s simply doesn’t.
The story focuses more on the Lycan side of things, which gives a breath of fresh air to the series but the break in continuity nearly cancels that out for me. Sonja is blonde in the flashbacks from the earlier film, but in Rise of the Lycans, she’s dark and brooding, exactly like Selene. My main focus may be that the stories are different, the characters are different, they should have kept it that way instead of trying to make Mitra’s character as similar to Beckinsale’s as they could. Kate Beckinsale’s character was brought to life because of her potrayal, not because of the character’s visual presentation.
Admittedly, when you put the quality of the acting aside, there’s little to say about the story itself. What was only hinted at or referenced to in the first two films was expanded and drawn-out to make ths film. The movie is enjoyale mostly as a series of flashy action scenes. I like good, action-packed movies but if it’s depthy you’re looking for, you may not find it here. If you’ve seen the first two movies, you’ve seen the third. The struggle is the same: a vampire who loves a lycan but they can’t be together, and it’s the same man responsible for keeping them apart. All that has changed is the couple and the setting.
However, it’s not all bad. There’s some value in the production that kept me from letting the alcohol in my Rocky Punch put me straight to sleep. It’s worth a renting maybe but not worth a big-dollar theatre ticket (then again, I wouldn’t know…I was treated. Teehee…)