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


(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

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