A good subtitle for Underworld: Rise of the Lycans would be: Smackdown: Werewolves vs. Vampires.
This third Underworld movie is actually a prequel as it jumps back in time to see what started the centuries old feud between the Lycans (or werewolves) and the Vampires that has played out in Underworld and Underworld: Evolution.
Here we see both the Lycans that still have humanity left in them, lead as always by Lucian (played by Michael Sheen, who is also in theaters now playing David Frost in the Oscar nominated film Frost/Nixon). Lucian is one of the trusted slaves until it’s revealed that he’s not only in love with, but has impregnated, head Vampire Viktor’s daughter. Viktor (played as always by Bill Nighy) sentences them both to death. He burns his daughter in the sun. Lucian, however, breaks free and goes on a killing rampage with the Lycans (both human and wolf) who are outside the walls. Along the way he frees the rest of the Lycans the vampires have enslaved.
I enjoy the Underworld series and this one is no different. In fact, this might be my favorite so far. There’s a Shakespearean feel to the love story between Lucian and Sonja because it is completely doomed from the outset. A slave Lycan simply cannot be with an aristocratic vampire… and Viktor certainly saw to that. I’d say the only thing that makes the move anti-climatic is if you’ve followed the series you know Viktor isn’t going to die here. Still, it was a movie full of action and a little romance, making for a perfect Sunday afternoon at the movies.