In the latest sorry not sorry news from Netflix comes the fact that the Underworld series of movies is landing on the streaming service in the UK next week.
And, while I'm not going to venture forth here into the realms of the original film's sequels, which vary in quality quite dramatically, the original Underworld is, in my opinion, absolutely worth adding to your watch list when it rises from the dead in a few days time (opens in new tab).
And that's despite Underworld only having a 31% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab).
To this day I'm a bit puzzled as to why this 2003-made vampire versus werewolves popcorn flick isn't more highly rated, as it is not only stuffed with some really slick action, committed performances by great actors like Bill Nighy and Michael Sheen, and a gloriously grungy nü-metal soundtrack, but there's also some classic lore that underpins everything. Oh, and there's also some really cool werewolf transformations that hark back to An American Werewolf in London, which is always a good thing.
When Underworld was originally released one of the biggest critical shots that was levelled at it was that it ripped off The Matrix, which had hit cinemas a few years before. Is Underworld indebted to The Matrix? Absolutely, all that black leather, 'bullet time' slow-mo combat and muted colour palettes definitely owes more than a bit to the sci-fi classic. But is this a problem or a reason not to watch Underworld? Absolutely not.
I think one of Underworld's biggest underrated strengths is just how seriously everyone in it takes its fiction, which is gloriously silly. The characters are often comically two dimensional but the complexities of the film's fiction and earnest delivery seems to grant its storytelling an authenticity that on paper it doesn't deserve. And then Kate Beckinsale playing the lead vampire protagonist goes and does something cool again and it doesn't matter anyway.
What I think is telling is that while Underworld's critical score on Rotten Tomatoes is just 31%, which indicates a major flop, the audience score for the film is 79% – and that latter percentage is based on over 250,000 reviews. That's an awful lot of positive reviews and entertained watchers. Needless to say, I will be re-watching Underworld next week on Netflix.