RT Podcast

"Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong" about... Underworld

Critics largely said it sucked, but fans turned this Kate Beckinsale vampire-werewolf flick into a five-movie franchise. Derivative exercise in style or howling good time? We're breaking it down.

by | March 4, 2021 | Comments

Underworld

(Photo by (c) Screen Gems/courtesy Everett Collection)

When Len Wiseman‘s Underworld was released back in 2003, the movie about a vampire-werewolf war and the very sexy vampires, werewolves, and humans caught up in it, never really got critics’ blood pumping. In the wake of Blade, which had nailed the R-rated horror-action mashup, and The Matrix, which had redefined trench-coat cool, Underworld – with its comic-book–style blood and plentiful trench coats – seemed “tedious” and “derivative.”

And yet the movie hit with genre fans, who would push its Audience Score to 79% (its Tomatometer Score is a Rotten 31%) and throw down enough cash at the box office to sustain a five-movie franchise, the most recent of which was 2016’s Underworld: Blood Wars.

What do they love about Wiseman’s hyper-stylized, action-packed movies? Well, all that style, for starters. And the movie’s solid and fascinating history and lore. And then there is Kate Beckinsale‘s Selene, the tough-as-nails vampire warrior with a strong sense of justice, incredible marksmanship, and an ability to land any jump while looking cool as f—k. Even critics who grumbled at the been-there-done-that-ness of some of the first movie’s plot points and set pieces praised Beckinsale, whose most celebrated role until Underworld had been in Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. In Selene, everyone agreed, the world had been gifted the kind of iconic movie hero we hadn’t seen since Sarah Connor kicked liquid-metal ass in T2.

So, does Underworld deserve more love than that Rotten Tomatometer score is giving it right now? That’s what we’re asking in the latest episode of podcast Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong, where regular hosts Mark Ellis and Jacqueline Coley are joined by writer, host, producer, Underworld lover, and one third of YouTube’s “The Whirl Girls,” Steph Sabraw. Together, they’ll look at what critics were missing, the power of Kate Beckinsale (and those outfits), how Wiseman got some of Britain’s fanciest thespians to slum it in a genre flick, and why this series became so damn popular.


Listen Now:  Spotify |  Apple Podcasts  |  Stitcher  |  TuneIn  |  Google Podcasts | Radio Public | Deezer | iHeart | Art19



Check in every Thursday for a new episode of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast From Rotten Tomatoes). Each week, hosts Jacqueline and Mark and guests go deep and settle the score on some of the most beloved – and despised – movies and TV shows ever made, directly taking on the statement we hear from so many fans: “Rotten Tomatoes is wrong.”


If you have a suggestion for a movie or show you think we should do an episode on, let us know in the comments, or email us at rtiswrong@rottentomatoes.com.


Meet the hosts

Jacqueline Coley is an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, with a focus on awards and indie coverage but with a passion for everything, from the MCU to musicals and period pieces. Coley is a regular moderator at conventions and other events, can be seen on Access Hollywood and other shows, and will not stand Constantine slander of any kind. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter: @THATjacqueline.

Mark Ellis is a comedian and contributing editor for Rotten Tomatoes. He currently hosts the Rotten Tomatoes series Versus, among others, and can be seen co-hosting the sports entertainment phenomenon Movie Trivia Schmoedown. His favorite Star Wars movie is Jedi (guess which one!), his favorite person is actually a dog (his beloved stepdaughter Mollie), and – thanks to this podcast – he’s about to watch Burlesque for the first time in his life. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markellislive.


On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.


Tag Cloud

CMT deadpool Acorn TV a nightmare on elm street live event green book FX war renewed TV shows toy story aapi IMDb TV serial killer Syfy AMC Plus 99% Superheroes Infographic Pop TV psycho universal monsters Academy Awards Superheroe adventure 73rd Emmy Awards superhero satire Nickelodeon 79th Golden Globes Awards award winner TIFF Film Anna Paquin Fall TV spinoff Universal Pictures movies twilight Binge Guide Rocky Exclusive Video TV renewals Hallmark Christmas movies book adaptation indie new york TBS Disney Channel TruTV Premiere Dates Crunchyroll Drama finale laika adenture james bond Podcast Lionsgate period drama Amazon Prime Video revenge Lifetime Turner Classic Movies blockbusters Christmas Prime Video godzilla Ghostbusters hist Disney TCA 2017 new zealand golden globe awards cults IFC Films ABC archives gangster black comedy Food Network CNN boxing hidden camera Brie Larson Paramount Network unscripted summer TV 24 frames Paramount A24 OWN NYCC CBS monster movies Sundance TV 94th Oscars wonder woman Holiday crime thriller Extras crime Set visit dramedy directors Columbia Pictures YouTube Freeform South by Southwest Film Festival mob cops Mindy Kaling trailers Marvel batman Pride Month reboot MSNBC olympics Tokyo Olympics adaptation Television Academy blaxploitation Mystery crossover Travel Channel sopranos new star wars movies comedies reviews ITV halloween tv technology debate kong disaster 2019 halloween children's TV Box Office emmy awards The Arrangement Tomatazos Tarantino Apple TV Plus Chilling Adventures of Sabrina WGN Trivia Rocketman legend BBC One sports canceled television cartoon LGBTQ 21st Century Fox news Film Festival Video Games Action zombies Image Comics Netflix streaming movies slasher films 2020 ghosts Fox News rt labs critics edition Apple TV+ Ovation royal family marvel comics dceu Marvel Television Bravo Sony Pictures Spectrum Originals high school women independent History Focus Features ABC Family GIFs See It Skip It dc Black Mirror hollywood vs. italian BET Crackle Nominations TV One transformers Fantasy basketball crime drama VH1 festivals Mary poppins video on demand Teen Universal cinemax Calendar MGM sitcom comic book movie HBO Go DirecTV The Purge what to watch 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Horror BAFTA Comic Book lord of the rings Best and Worst cooking Arrowverse docudrama Shondaland Cartoon Network foreign President 93rd Oscars DC Comics Fargo GoT Schedule blockbuster Country jurassic park Best Actress X-Men Western screen actors guild true crime scorecard Showtime Epix doctor who Nat Geo VICE The CW HFPA zombie japan rt labs game show 45 Kids & Family south america comic book movies YouTube Premium Paramount Pictures Reality kaiju stoner tv talk spanish language video criterion all-time WarnerMedia Shudder Oscars Amazon Pacific Islander LGBT obituary fresh scary Photos documentaries Polls and Games streaming PaleyFest RT History Amazon Studios 72 Emmy Awards Grammys witnail E3 latino asian-american MCU E! Best Director romance social media Fox Searchlight Biopics worst 1990s razzies Hear Us Out Disney streaming service free movies A&E NBC Star Wars 2017 YouTube Red Super Bowl Interview New York Comic Con Comic-Con@Home 2021 Cannes joker screenings TV movies 2018 talk show ViacomCBS game of thrones Legendary dexter telelvision elevated horror dark based on movie festival best boxoffice Awards Tour Logo king arthur romantic comedy Star Trek Broadway Chernobyl IFC Instagram Live TLC science fiction rom-coms summer preview nbcuniversal heist movie Winter TV critics dreamworks prank Paramount Plus saw HBO Mary Poppins Returns Elton John young adult TCM mcc streamig Funimation teaser football PBS versus VOD rotten ratings Quiz Election diversity Winners cats scene in color BBC action-comedy Trophy Talk First Look NBA Creative Arts Emmys theme song 71st Emmy Awards travel Oscar Dark Horse Comics Hallmark 2021 2016 Rom-Com Baby Yoda obi wan RT21 spanish psychological thriller mutant Song of Ice and Fire Alien worst movies OneApp Pet Sematary pirates of the caribbean National Geographic Pop YA composers TCA Awards SundanceTV feel good biopic historical drama cancelled television stop motion Spike Certified Fresh Disney+ Disney Plus DC Universe 90s hispanic die hard Emmy Nominations trophy international Holidays Women's History Month king kong FOX mockumentary San Diego Comic-Con discovery Trailer Sundance Now FXX nfl Comedy political drama genre ESPN American Society of Cinematographers SXSW Reality Competition Musical anime canceled TV shows The Witch TCA Cosplay docuseries black dogs nature cancelled TV shows biography japanese broadcast USA Network comic books Britbox BET Awards kids Endgame christmas movies The Walt Disney Company police drama Mary Tyler Moore stand-up comedy classics Pixar TV dragons golden globes SXSW 2022 documentary Pirates remakes spider-verse Family aliens chucky jamie lee curtis Tumblr Peacock werewolf Comedy Central Year in Review PlayStation Marvel Studios parents superman Writers Guild of America AMC Summer know your critic zero dark thirty Sundance rotten movies we love Disney Plus medical drama rt archives franchise breaking bad Character Guide USA fast and furious APB thriller ID Thanksgiving Hollywood Foreign Press Association anthology CBS All Access book harry potter BBC America facebook Classic Film Awards richard e. Grant Opinion Valentine's Day Vudu spider-man DC streaming service toronto SDCC animated scary movies comic natural history Heroines spy thriller sequel Masterpiece name the review 20th Century Fox Comics on TV The Academy indiana jones Tubi vampires Lucasfilm comics binge Musicals marvel cinematic universe Tags: Comedy GLAAD critic resources comiccon movie space robots Sci-Fi series Neflix Hulu Esquire Wes Anderson Animation Toys slashers Amazon Prime sequels Red Carpet Turner Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt posters cancelled Lifetime Christmas movies TV Land justice league cancelled TV series First Reviews sag awards TCA Winter 2020 HBO Max Watching Series El Rey venice Ellie Kemper 4/20 Rock singing competition live action CW Seed Countdown Marathons Starz Best Picture Netflix Christmas movies suspense Apple FX on Hulu casting Television Critics Association The Walking Dead leaderboard australia hispanic heritage month Discovery Channel DGA politics 007 Mudbound Warner Bros. Music quibi strong female leads Stephen King target Emmys Spring TV mission: impossible child's play Adult Swim cars Avengers Martial Arts Best Actor art house summer TV preview Walt Disney Pictures spain Captain marvel 2015 concert miniseries Black History Month Sneak Peek supernatural popular french ABC Signature MTV TNT