วันพฤหัสบดีที่ 19 พฤศจิกายน พ.ศ. 2552
underworld: rise of the lycans (2009)
+ + + + +
Billy Nighy as Viktor
Michael Sheen as Lucian
Rhona Mitra as Sonja
Kevin Grevioux as Raze
Steven Mackintosh as Tannis
Directed by Patrick Tatopoulos
To be honest, after seeing this, I'd say the bloodsuckers had it coming. The first two films the lycans were the baddies, and you were all for the vampires. This time it's different. When Lycans picks up, the vampires are living in a big mountainside fortress under the reign of Viktor (Billy Nighy). Viktor fathers the upbringing of Lucian the first Lycan, a man/beast hybrid who can transform at will. He enslaves the dutiful Lucian (Michael Sheen) and forces the young man to create more like him (a simple process of capture, bite, and repeat). With an army of Lycans, the vampires can now use these creatures to do the grunt work and serve as guard dogs from the true werewolves that live in the surrounding woods. But,Viktor's runaway creation will ultimately turn on him.
Unbeknownst to Viktor, his daughter, Sonja (Rhona Mitra), is in love with Lucian. This forbidden "Romeo & Juliet" affair, thankfully, isn't seen blossoming in Lycans - it's already happening. When we first find Lucian sneaking beyond the confines of the castle walls, it's because he's off with Sonja on a mountaintop. There's always bound to be eyes watching somewhere, however, and it isn't long before this relationship creates conflict between Sonja and Viktor, then Viktor and Lucian...then Lucian's army and anyone who happens to sport a pair of fangs and wear a cool scary armor.
Tatopoulos and screenwriters Danny McBride, Dirk Blackman and Howard McCain present what they've teased since the first film: A crowd of vampires and werewolves tearing each other apart. Of course that's the pay-off as Tatopoulos devises a number of brutal action set-pieces throughout the film to get you warmed up, from a werewolf sneak attack to a Lycan prison break during which the vampire Death Dealers turn their massive crossbows into the castle for a slaughter that finds prisoners being harpooned through the chest and face. When the big brawl comes, it is admittedly pretty cool to witness hundreds of werewolves charging into battle.
Without some advancement in the special effects, none of this would have worked and thankfully Tatopoulos and his team, on both the practical and CG front, pull it off. Ross Emery's photography captures the gloomy visual aesthetic of the series which, in fact, helps ease the digital-looking nature of the loping lycanthropes who, here, bound through the trees, burrow in the ground and scale rock walls. (Although I find it funny that during their "down time" they're just lounging around in a cave somewhere.)
The production design is eye-catching and the attention to detail is to be commended. Tatopoulos succeeds in making Lycans look big. The castles, caves, and forests are amazing. Even the costumes worn look great. Without a doubt the team behind this latest entry knows the world inside and out and they've crafted an enjoyable living, breathing gothic fairytale. It still takes itself pretty seriously, but unlike the previous entries, you're not sitting through the action sequences preoccupied with trying to sort out the labyrinthine connections between all of the characters (a big flaw of Underworld: Evolution). Lycans wets the appetite for not more adventures of Selene and Michael Corvin (Beckinsale and Scott Speedman, respectively) but exploration of Lucian's journey. Furthermore, it launches what is hopefully a long directing career for Tatopoulos. This is an auspicious debut for the FX and production design vet.