Christian Science Monitor
At heart, this is an old-fashioned monster flick decked out with Hollywood's full battery of high-tech visual effects. It's as goofy as it is gory -- stay away if you don't like in-your-face mayhem.
Visually it's wild fun, since fledgling feature director Len Wiseman started off in production design, and creature designer Patrick Tatopoulos's diverse credits span from "Godzilla" to "Stuart Little." Yet with Underworld's guilty pleasures come copious clinkers, from its nuts-and-bolts narrative foundation to Wiseman's inability to direct actors beyond cartoonish interaction.
The funny thing about all this is that a half-hour into Underworld I couldn't wait for it to be over. When it really was over, I couldn't wait for the next installment. Go figure.
Takes itself so seriously that it never has fun with its shopworn genre elements.
Los Angeles Times
Alas, as is often the case with lower-end genre movies, the story cooked up by Wiseman and his friends, actor Kevin Grevioux and the film's screenwriter, Danny McBride, is decidedly less important than the look of the film and its influences.
Beautiful in its dark, contrasting blues and blacks, Underworld is nonetheless a remarkably humorless movie, and not even the adroitly hammy Bill Nighy, as the vampire king, can leaven the overwrought seriousness of it all.
The Hollywood Reporter
Beckinsale delivers even if Underworld doesn't quite manage to follow through on its initial promise.
The New York Times
Achieves only loudness, aggressive confusion and one of the silliest head-splittings in film history.
Neither side is worth rooting for in this ridiculous blood feud, which features some of the year's most laughable dialogue.
Speedman's such a nonentity here I worried that the theater air-conditioning would blow him off the screen.