A pointless stand-alone prequel to Len Wiseman’s vampire/werewolf movies, hamfistedly helmed by sfx creator turned first-time director Patrick Tatopoulos, who should hang on to his day job. The digital video images are blurry, the fight scenes messy, the editing jerky, and the derivative plot absurdly overwrought (Romeo and Juliet and Spartacus?). A millennium before his death at the end of Underworld, Michael Sheen’s love-struck Lycan, Lucian, falls for Sonja (slab-faced Doomsday star Rhona Mitra), the rebellious daughter of vampire leader Viktor (Bill Nighy). If their illicit cross-species love affair is discovered, Sonja is toast, so the half-human Lucian embraces his suppressed blood-lust, unleashes his inner beast, and leads a Lycan slave revolt. Set-bound and sluggish, this relies far too heavily on spasmodic bursts of bloodletting and variable CGI effects. If it is worth seeing at all, it is for the sterling contributions of its three leading British thesps: Bill Nighy’s ham-on-wry imperiousness, Michael Sheen’s straggle-haired ferocity, and Stephen Macintosh’s quietly effective turn as the sneakily ambitious archivist Tannis.
By Hank Sartin on February 06 2009 12.19pm