Back in 1202 A.D., two brothers, William and Marcus, found themselves on opposite sides of a new war in Europe, but not one which much involved humanity. For William had become a werewolf and Marcus a vampire, the first of their lines and the supernatural source of all other bloodsuckers and wolfmen to come. Sadly, this was also the source of a rivalry that erupted into full scale conflict, and as William travelled Eastern Europe turning people into so-called Lycans, Marcus did his best to stop him by creating vampires. This antagonism has gone on for centuries without the further contribution of these two - but what if they were to return?
This was, as you can tell from the title, the sequel to one of the more successful action-horror hybrids that appeared in the first decade of the twenty-first century, Underworld. The director Len Wiseman returned as did the stars, even those whose characters had died in the previous film thanks to flashbacks, and the mixture was almost exactly the same as before, with a plot that took quite some concentration to work out who was doing what to whom and why, and even if you did work it out you could well have been left pondering why you bothered.
It's efficiently made, sure, but its characters presumed lack of souls seemed to have translated into an equally soulless film experience, with moody conversations entirely built around keeping the narrative moving relentlessly forward punctuated by extravagant action sequences making this look like the horror equivalent of The Matrix. In fact, what Underworld really consisted of was your basic superhero movie, only instead of Marvel or D.C. characters zapping each other and leaping from building to building, the superpowers translated into the abilities of the vampires and werewolves here.
So our heroine, Selene (Kate Beckinsale), has super strength and speed, can fire a pistol with pinpoint accuracy, and will live forever unless she meets some imposing foe (or Beckinsale refused to come back for the next sequel). Her boyfriend Michael (Scott Speedman) is a cross between the two factions, and has the abilities of each, which considering they both have the exact same talents anyway might not be such a novel boast. It is up to these two to prevent Marcus, who has made a return thanks to a foolish revival by some of his allies, from unleashing his imprisoned brother.
Marcus has a power that nobody else has, as being the one and only original vampire whenever he partakes of the blood of his victims he can see their life flashing before his eyes. This offers him an advantage, and enables him to track down Bill the wolfman while Selene and Michael are struggling to keep up with him. In amongst this convoluted storyline we also get another respected British thesp to match Bill Nighy's appearance in the previous instalment, Derek Jacobi, who spends all his time on a ship and knows special information that will be very significant to... ah, after a while it all washes over you and you simply waiting for the next gun battle or effects sequence. If you are dedicated enough to take this all very seriously, you'll probably get something out if it, everyone else will be left as cold as Beckinsale's blue contact lensed stare. Music by Marco Beltrami.