I guess the question on everyone's mind is, can Rhona Mitra step into the shoes of Kate Beckinsale? Yes and no actually. Rhona's got the looks that resemble Kate's, given the pasty white skin, the ocean blue eyes and the slightly protruding upper lip due to the vampire dentures. She too gets into forbidden love with a Lycan (Michael Sheen) that gets set to doom all those involved, with yet another Romeo and Juliet love story cruising at breakneck speed toward an inevitable finale. The first movie had mentioned Kate's Selene having some resemblance to the daughter of Viktor (Bill Nighy), so there's no escaping from the resemblance, which worked.
But while Selene had two movies to show off her slick action moves, Rhona's Sonia actually pales in comparison, with lacklustre action sequences crafted for her character, mostly atop horses wielding a long sword. She doesn't have much chance to demonstrate her fighting prowess, and the all-night time scenes, coupled with frenetic too close a shot and dark blue, grey and black hues all set to frustrate more. Whatever happened to the good ol' action choreography that ensured everything's seen in good time? I guess given director Patrick Tatopoulos' strength in creature design instead, we have quite impressive Lycan transformations, but nothing not already seen before.
Being an origin story going way back in time, we discover how the feud between Lycan and Vampires actually started, and to think that it's nothing more than slaves rebelling against their oppressive masters. There's nothing extraordinary about the plot here, about having a leader inspire his compatriots to the promised land, all this while suffering at the hands of pained love that translates to plenty of physical torture. You get to see a lot of gore here, which makes this installment more barbaric compared to the smooth elegance of the very first Underworld back in 2003.
Rhona Mitra does an adequate job here, but still, I'd prefer Kate Beckinsale as lead vampire. Could we have her back, please?
You can read my review of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans at movieXclusive.com by clicking on the logo below.