Friday, 24 July 2009

Bitten by the Underworld bug

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

It was back in November last year. A Sunday, with the rain absolutely teeming down, and I was taking the train through the gloom from Manchester to London after watching City lose 2-1 to Tottenham (with Fernandes and Dunne sent off), and I decided to bury myself in a magazine. Elle, if memory serves.

One of the main features was an interview with actor Kate Beckinsale. Now usually I don’t read celebrity interviews, but in a desire to put the match firmly out of my mind, I ploughed through every word in the magazine.

And, of course, it mentioned her role as the vampire Selena in Underworld and Underworld Evolution, as well as pointing out that a third installment was due – even though she was not in it.

I thought little more of it until, about a week or so later, I happened to notice in the TV guide that the first of those films was showing. Curiosity got the better of me and I decided to see what it looked like.

Well, it looked blue (ideal for a City fan). Very blue. A sort of monochrome blue. Even Beckinsale’s black leather outfit looked blue on screen. And it was sexy and stylish and violent and huge fun.

And Bill Nighy’s Viktor, the leading vampire, is one of those fabulous OTT screen villains in the style of Alan Rickman in both Die Hard and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, which make me want the baddies to win.

Indeed, is it just me that finds such characters, played in such a way, really very sexy indeed?

I know that, with Rise of the Lycans, I should be rooting for the enslaved hirsute ones, but honestly, how much more fun would Viktor be?

Mind, it should probably be pointed out at this stage, that I am the same person who had a very erotic dream about Hannibal Lecter, as played by Anthony Hopkins, after seeing Silence of the Lambs for the first time. No, nothing as such happened in my dream, but I was left with a distinct frisson for most of the following day.

Nighy is deliciously arch – and it’s a nice contrast with Michael Sheen as Lycan top dog Lucian. Rhona Mitra does a good turn as Sonja, Viktor’s daughter, a vampire warrior in her own right and Lucian’s love interest – she looks amazingly like Beckinsale.

I rarely get to the cinema, but wait for DVD releases. This one is now available in a very decently priced boxed set with its two predecessors. It was worth the wait.

Good CGI. Good, moody feel. No, it’s not ‘high art’. But it is fun. And it’s well done fun.

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