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

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