Vampires vs. werewolves. If this ain't your thing, stop reading now and go see something else. I happen to be biassed towards films like this. I am very much in to the Vampire story/genre. "Vampires" starring James Woods was great, I always was a fan of Joss Whedon's "Buffy" series and of course the greatest of all: Anne Rice's "Interview with the Vampire." "Underworld: Evolution" is the sequel to the first film which is more in the realm of films like "Blade;" except with a female in the lead role.
The film takes place in today's world in whch the struggle for supremacy in the world still rages between the Vampire clans and the Lycans (werewolves). There is also a bit of secret, human military intervention as well. The backstory is too deep to get into here, but basically there is some betrayal among the clans and infighting and of course a secret plot within the ranks. On top of this, we have a newly resurrected vampire who is kind of a "new breed;" more powerful than has ever been seen before...of course. Intense action sequences and exploding arteries ensue.
I think in this case, it is almost necessary to have seen the first film to truly understand the depth of the characters. You can still get the gist of what is happening, as there are flashbacks and a quick re-telling of the first movie early in film, but the depth of the plot is such that it is important to know the backstory or you'll never really get why everything is happening.
If you like the "Blade" series, you'll probably enjoy "Underworld" as well. It is basically a power vampire hunting for our heroine, Selene (Beckinsdale), to gain information regarding an ancient secret. She in turn is trying to reach that secret before he does. So there are battels between the two, as well as some other unsavory characters and villains. My three-word-review would've been: bloody as hell. Not gore, but lots of blood. What do you expect when a vampire bites into the neck of another vampire, or a giant werewolf punches his fist through a person while eating half his head? It's bad-ass. There is much gunfire as well. Selene is armed with sweet, fully-automatic barettas that deal quite a considerable amount of damage to her enemies. She can also move much more quickly than the human eye can follow, and of course she's an expert in martial arts. You get the idea.
There's not much else to say. It's an action flick with guns and biting and killing. The main villain vampire now has the ability of flight and his wings are also sharp as lances and quick as lightning, so are weapons themselves.
The settings are very cool for the most part. It obviously takes place somewhere near Russian, in the mountains. It's always nighttime (of course) and is always snowing. Therefore the whole film is black and blue. The moon is our only source of light in most cases throughout the film and mountains and darkness shroud everything else. Plus, everyone wears strictly black leather clothing. It makes for a very eerie presence, when Selene (or any vampire for that matter) glances in a certain direction and we get a flash of those bright, almost glowing, blue eyes accompanied by the sharp pointed teeth.
The special effects are average. Nothing we haven't seen before. There's not a lot of verbal acting, it's mostly fighting and shooting. Everyone knows going into this film if they'll like it or hate it. I really liked it, but I know that I'm biassed and most won't enjoy it too much as far as substance goes, so to compensate I cant give it a thumbs up, but I'll say iffy. Watch the trailer and you'll know what I mean. However, it is Kate Beckinsdale and she made number one on one of my top ten lists in the past. So if you're a guy, and you're desperate and you like tight black leather, there may be another reason to shell out ten bucks for Underworld: Evolution.