Underworld 3 (2009)
Director: Patrick Tatopoulos
We go back in time to see how the Lycans (werewolves for the uninitiated) freed themselves from the shackles of their Vampire masters; hence launching the pussy vs. pooch war that transpired in Underworld 1 and 2.
I didn’t have much faith in UNDERWORLD 3 from the get-go. Personally, I wanted another sequel not a damn prequel. No Kate Beckingsale no Len Wiseman or Scott Speedman – this one had STD written all over it (Wasn’t it meant to be a DVD sequel at first?). And once the trailers got released, my hopes of it being badass hit rock bottom. Underwhelming was the word. I expected nada from it. Was I on the ball?
UNDERWORLD 3 kicked it good in some instances. FX maestro and first time director Patrick Tatopoulos (who did the creature effects on the last two films) kept to the overtly bluish look, slow motion abusing and flashy vibe that UNDERWORLD is known for. Baby looked spank-spank good! Story wise, I dug the random connections to the first two films and let’s face it; this was WAYYYY more of a Romeo and Juliet-ish opus than the first film (which mis-promoted itself as a horror version of the Bards famous tale). Rhona Mitra and Michael Sheen’s forbidden love thing worked well, their chemistry was on and their courtship acted as the core of the flick. So they had me there!
My biggest kick though was watching Bill Nighy teach that scenery a dire lesson in manners. At the end of the evisceration this was his show and he rocked it via his Shakespearian like demeanor, imposing presence and shades of grey performance. What about the special effects you may ask? Well the werewolves design were groovy-o as usual, the gore ample enough while the man to wolf transformations were “acceptable” in all of their quickie CG glory. Finally, clocking at an hour and half, this bitch went down real easy – as she should. First thing I said to me (yes I talk to myself all the time) when leaving the theatre was: “Did I just see a movie? I wouldn’t know!” So at least the whole was a harmless lay to pin down.
Thing was, UNDERWORLD 3 had obviously less coin in its nap-sack than its predecessors. There was too much shoddy green screen, it felt too contained, and I got sick real fast of being trapped in the Vamps' Gothic Castle. BRING ME SOMEWHERE ELSE ALREADY! The lack of gun play, big stunt set pieces and elaborate action bits also let me down. Don’t get me wrong we had action here but nothing truly whooped me hardcore. If you bring up Underworld 1 or 2 to me – stand-out pow-wow scenes will pop up. This one? I already disregarded most of it. The now and again close/quick cut tendencies as to the physical get-downs didn’t help in the latter point. How can I be jazzed if my brain doesn’t have the time to register what’s happening?
Speaking of editing woes; a couple of sequences were jumbled cutting wise. I wasn’t too sure where people were and what was happening. And what was up with Rhona Mitra’s eyes always changing colors? Sometimes she wore blue contacts, other times she had her natural brown eyes. Did I miss something here to explain that one? Distracting! In addition, I can’t say the narrative blew me away. The human angle was underdeveloped (how did they fit in all of this), we’ve seen the Braveheart spiel a million times and the Romeo and Juliet thing; 2 million times. And no cliché was left un-turn at that. Result – it was all VERY déjà vu and mucho predictable. Flipping conventions on their heads and going against the grain here would’ve added some oomph to the whole.
All in all, I saw UNDERWORLD 3, had a tolerable time with it and then it leaked out of my noggin forever, never to be recollected again. I anticipate more than the basics out of an Underworld flick… but hey… that’s just me and my pet sock talking. So you gonna neuter this one or what?
We get mucho clawed and slit throats, impalings, stabbings and ripped off limbs. Don’t blink though cause the gore splashes on quick.
Michael Sheen (Lucian) was intense and grounded all the way. Dude made me buy it! Good shit! Bill Nighy (Viktor) had magnetism to burn!! He WAS the movie. Rhona Mitra (Sonja) did fine with what she was given and could’ve been a worthy successor to Beckingsale with more screen time and more to do in general. Steven Mackintosh (Tannis) had the quiet opportunist thing down pat and Kevin Grevioux (Raze) stood out in his small yet engrossing role.
T & A
Mitra and Sheen go nude but we don’t see Jack or Shite – yup, one of those! At least we got to see lots of hairy, werewolf ass! Yeah that last quip was a joke.
It’s moody, it’s sleek, it rains in slow motion, it has creative shots and white flashes left and right – it’s Underworld. Patrick Tatopoulos obviously did his homework in terms of the vibe of the franchise and he delivered!
Paul Haslinger’s somber and aggressive score did the trick!
UNDERWORLD 3 wound being an average effort that maybe would’ve been more at home as an STD release. The visuals were polished; it rolled on at a healthy pace and came through with the red stuff, a mini love story and lots of werewolves going buck nuts. Alas the storyline was slim, pedestrian and too derivative of other films but worse of all –overtly predictable. The action scenes were less spectacular than the usual Underworld goods and I got to say it, one of Underworld’s main appeals for me; is a feud between werewolves and vampires within OUR TIME. I give a f*ck what they did in the Middle Ages. I’m done! Off to the Pub!
The film was shot in New Zealand and North Carolina, USA.
Kate Beckinsale is in the film via footage from Underworld Part 1.
When Michael Sheen acted in Underworld, Kate Beckingsale was his girlfriend (they have a daughter together). Len Wiseman and Beckingsale started a relationship during the shoot and they are now together. Poor Michael Sheen... must have a been an interesting set to be on...yeesh!
VISIT THE UNDERWORLD 3 SITE HERE