User Reviews (17)

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  • I picked up this movie for a few dollars at a local discount store in town. It advertised Denis Leary & Joe Mantegna, plus the box promised "In the style of The Usual Suspects and Reservoir Dogs". I bought it and threw it on my DVD shelf, not really thinking about it. But last night I was in the mood for some crime, so I threw it in.

    I really don't know what to say. The film just kind of falls flat with a whole lot of unnecessary dialogue. I think they were trying to go for a Tarantino thing by having incredibly long scenes of Leary explaining where he wants his money to go or the beauty of Rodgers and Hammerstein, but while somewhat humorous in the end it just seems like padding. That's not to say Leary makes it boring, quite the opposite. Leary is well known for his tirades. And for what he has to work with, he actually keeps the long dialogue bits somewhat watchable.

    Joe Mantegna does his best, but his role just isn't very well written. He's mostly there to be a quiet straight-man for Leary's insane ramblings. When given a chance he has shining moments, but those are few and far between.

    But as for the rest of the film, it just kind of falls flat without any fanfare. The script is too long and kind of confusing, if only for the fact that major plot points are surrounded by stilted dialogue chunks so you can't really pay attention to grab hear them. Editing is very by the book, however there's a few aesthetically pleasing moments of lighting and direction that might surprise you.

    All in all, if you're a strong fan of either Leary or the modern crime genre, it's worth a look for only it's hour and a half run time. But if you have something better or just not in the mood, this film isn't going to turn any heads.
  • This is one of the best black comedies that I have ever seen!

    Oh, it's highly, highly, highly underrated!

    I've found the tape in action and in drama, but never in comedy, where I feel that it belongs!

    Take for example the first scene involving the Red Car: Slow buildup, absolutely bloody execution, glass and flesh everywhere; and then an approving nod and the gunner exclaiming in nonchalant fashion "This is gonna be the best goddamn father's day I've ever had."

    It doesn't stop there. We have the execution of a beyond-amazingly beautiful girl (Traci Lords) for nearly nothing other than a bored antagonist's whim; we don't even really know if she's suspected of cheating on him... he's just... bored.

    Add to this a hilarious bar scene that might begin something like "a bunch of assassins walked into a bar..."... they're tired of waiting, so they clean their guns... they're bored at the delay, so they shoot the bottles; they're frustrated at their employer's procrastination, so they pull out automatic weapons and unload on the bar, the bartender... and finally the outright hilarious shot of the scariest of them putting a gun to his head: they shoot each other.

    Yes, it's terribly violent; yes, it's not for everyone. But this is the one of the most fabulously overlooked films ever! Awesome!

    Check it out, but ignore the section you found it in.
  • This entire movie takes place in the dark, which is unfortunately where it leaves the viewer unfortunate enough to waste his time watching "Underworld". This is exactly the kind of movie that is easy to hate. It introduces endless characters with no development. People we don't know are getting shot for no reason. The film is supposedly hip, but in reality is nonsensical, long, boring, self important crap. No police are involved, even though gangland assassinations are taking place on a schedule that makes Al Capone look like a small time hood. The dialog is repetitive nonsense that has nothing to do with what is on the screen. This is a totally failed film that should be avoided. - MERK
  • This very underrated film is a great example of modern film noir. It is classic Leary, and I heartily recommend it if you like your gangster movies quirky and twisty. The ending is a shock, and the path to get there, the story told by Dennis Leary's character is a wild ride. Give this film a chance, it deserves it.

    I read a review which compared the film unfavourably to Pulp Fiction, it is unfortunate that title was mentioned on the back of the DVD, don't blame anyone but the marketing dept. Underworld has more in common with The Two Jakes than Pulp Fiction. As you can see I loved this film, it gets a massive thumbs up from me.
  • misterzee17 July 2003
    Why everyone in general knocks this movie is beyond me. No it's not the greatest gangster film ever made, but is certainly far from the worst! It's Dennis Leary's show, and he does an outstanding job. Sort of like a funnier, quirkier, and slightly less hard boiled version of Pulp Fiction. Again NO it's not the Godfather or Goodfellas, and is not a "classic" It is a minor gem that deserves far better than the lousy 4 point something it gets here. Check it out and decide for yourself! for fans of the genre you won't be wasting your time.
  • hotelst14 March 2008
    This movie is an obvious rip-off of Underworld USA starring Cliff Robertson. You owe it to yourself to invest a couple of hours and watch the original. I found this one to be disjointed and hard to follow, with a lot of scenes that didn't make much sense. I'm not opposed to violence in movies but this whole thing seemed to be nothing more than an excuse to blow away one person after another, many of whom were only marginally connected with the storyline. With everyone else getting killed, all through the movie I wondered why Frank didn't just blow Johnny's brains out. He certainly could have and Johnny sure didn't act like someone that could be trusted. Another thing that bothers me is the sex scenes; why do these people have sex with their clothes on? Is that supposed to turn us on? Surely they didn't think they had a shot at a PG rating. Nothing in this movie seemed to play out naturally. as if one were watching people in real life, instead it was done in a heavy-handed and shallow manner.
  • This movie is so bad, they wouldn't buy it back at my local used CD/DVD store. I only own it because it came in a box set which I bought for the masterpiece "Deadfall". The store bought back the other two movies I was selling from the four disc set, but they wouldn't buy back Underworld, and those other two movies redefined rank, so what does that say about this movie? So I tried to sell it back to another store, that even bought back budget DVDs that you could buy for a dollar at a local store, but they wouldn't buy back Underworld either. This movie is bad on every level, and is one of those that came out in the post-Tarantino-clone glut of the mid 90's. The only slightly redeemable element is Dennis Leary telling Joe Montegna, that he's a "stinky friend" and calls him "Mister Stinky Friend". That line is so delightfully horrible, that I can't help but quote it at least once a week when describing a stinky friend. But now that I've enlightened you with that quote, you don't have to go thru the pain of watching this movie.
  • fred-4927 January 2000
    Although the movie was only so so the closed captioning was by far the best I have ever seen! Most of the time the spelling is terrible and the captioning out of sync. I use the closed captioning even though I can hear well but find a lot of actors mumble. Also many times the sound track overrides the dialogue. Thanks!
  • I share the same opinion regarding Underworld as the previous comment.

    I sat through the 1.5 hours of this movie wondering what this story was all about and more importantly why the author and/or director had made certain decisions for the plot. On the whole I found the movie to be unbalanced, consisting of strange sub-plots which (IMHO) actually had nothing to do with the movie. Furthermore, when writing a thriller I'd say you want your viewers to wonder about the story and not about the way the story is filmed...
  • mrmiseta22 December 2010
    Denis Leary has been superb in most of the movies I have seen him in, most notably Monument Avenue and the great Suicide Kings. Anyone who has seen Rescue Me cannot deny his acting ability nor his genius. In this movie, he absolutely shines. I LOVE this movie, but then again I was never a huge fan of The Godfather or any mob movie that didn't have Joe Pesci in it. If you like Leary, you will love it as well. This is a must-see movie for any of his fans, but even those who like a good mob drama, violent shoot-outs, and sharp, witty dialog. Leary is a mob guy just out of prison and looking for the killer of his father. He takes his prime suspect (Montegna, also with a great performance) along for the ride. Leary explores the mind of Montegna as he goes through suspect after suspect to narrow in on the culprit. Among the many memorable lines which I still enjoy using are "India's getting your 15%." Lots of killing, swearing, and some nudity.
  • Frogg-29 September 1998
    If there was a list to mark the worst movies in history (actually there is on this page), I think Underworld could probably top that list. Given, Denis Leary put on a great job, shooting people and making wisecracks, the movie had no direction and I don't even think the director knew what the hell to do with it. This script belongs in a wastebasket. When one man makes your movie somewhat (remember I said somewhat) watchable.....there's problems.

    GRADE: F
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I love this movie. I love the mood, the cinematography, the settings, the music, and the cars. I love all of the actors. I love the script.

    This is the kind of movie in which the viewer may not know exactly what's going on for awhile, but that's OK. Just sit back and enjoy. You as the viewer are supposed to be confused throughout the first act, and are supposed to try and piece together the information for yourself. By the middle, if you paid attention, you know what's going on, and can follow the film to it's conclusion.

    What it's about: Two underworld figures form an uneasy alliance as one of them, a possible psychotic, just paroled mystery man, searches for a man named "Richard Essex", and marks names off his "naughty/nice" list.

    PS) If you liked this movie, you will also like a movie called TRIGGER HAPPY, or alternately, MAD DOG TIME, also written by Larry Bishop. It has a huge cast, that includes Jeff Goldblum, Richard Dreyfuss, Diane Lane, Gabriel Byrne, Ellen Barkin, and many others. Check it out!

    PS #2) If you want to watch this in a great marathon of good unknown '90's movies, watch it with THE IMMORTALS (Eric Roberts) and WILD SIDE (Christopher Walken). Please take that recommendation with the knowledge that all of these films have violent and sexual content.

    SPOILERS below: The backstory going in, if you want to dive in without having to figure anything out initially, is as follows: Frank Gavilan (Joe Mantegna) is a successful nightclub owner and organized crime figure. Johnny Alt (Dennis Leary) is his best friend since childhood, but they haven't seen each other for a long time, because Johnny's been in prison, until Father's day, the night this movie begins.

    Frank has an alliance with Ned Lynch (Larry Bishop), who's also big in the underworld, but not as big as he wants to be. After a long time, Ned has finally gotten his own crew to be as big, and control of as many good rackets, as he's dreamed, and feels he's ready to make some big moves and cement his status.

    Everyone's afraid of the deadliest crime figure in town, Richard Essex. The night Johnny Alt is released from prison, finding Richard Essex is his highest priority.
  • Larry Bishop wrote three films in his career so far. The flashy but hollow Tarantino produced biker flick Hell Ride, the excellent pseudo gangster piece Mad Dog Time, and a little seen, mob fantasy film called Underworld. It was his his first effort, and it's a nice, bloody entry with some great actors and a dark, slow paced tone. Bishop has a very particular way with words that can be off putting and unnecessarily convoluted, as seen in Hell Ride. It's not for everyone, as we are subjected to extended sequences of characters speaking in cryptic, almost poetic passages, until it erupts into shootouts and long awaited physical conflict. Mad Dog Time is a little less dense, whereas this one is super compact in its story, spending most of the running time focusing on three primary characters just.. talking. Luckily, when you have Denis Leary, Joe Montegna and Annabella Sciorra as your three leads, you can make compelling work of little going on on the screen. Underworld takes place in the same flashy, almost dreamlike gangster world that Mad Dog Time did, and yet it's a little dirtier, as if it came from the other, nastier side of the tracks than the Rat Pack esque Mad Dog Time. Leary plays hotshot mobster Johnny Crown, fresh out of prison and on the hunt for a rival gang that murdered his father in cold blood. He slinks around dingy, dank urban street and dimly lit night clubs, embroiled in a spiralling plot that reaches pretty far beyond his simple need for revenge. Along with him is Joe Montegna playing a guy so mysterious he's got three different names, any or none of which may be his real one. Annabella Sciorra plays the tough moll and psychiatrist (!) Dr. Leah in that smirking, seductive fashion that only she can do. Other dirtbags involved in the whole violent circus are Dan 'The Iceberg' Eagan (James Tolkan, scarily stoic), wiseass villain Ned Lynch (Larry Bishop) and lizard like psychopath 'Smilin' Phil Fox (criminally underrated character actor Jimmie F. Skaggs, RIP). It's low key, it's different, but the plot is giddy, verbose fun, speckled with enough panache and vicious violence to keep genre fans happy.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Spoilers!

    While this film is entertaining if you like violent mafia related movies, it's wholly unoriginal and confusing to boot. The main ingredient seems to be Denis Leary being violent, causing violence and enjoying it all. This is also the best ingredient. The other main ingredient is Joe Mantegna being, well, Joe Mantegna like he always is. Not bad either.

    But the plot is weak. It's Cape Fear combined with Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs. But the main rip-off has to be John Woo. For two scenes. 1) The scene in which the 7 hitmen shoot eachother is a classic John Woo scene. 2) The final scene where the 4 people hold guns to eachother is basically a clone of the classic standoff scenes John Woo always uses.

    Furthermore, the scenes of the trunk copy John Woo. The usage of two guns copies John Woo (Dan "Iceberg" Eagan) and the list goes on and on.

    But hey, not all movies can be original.
  • I had to wait for the credits to see that it wasn't a Quentin Tarentino script. Denis Leary and Joe Mantegna were great. I would have liked more dialog for Joe, but it kept you wondering "what is going on in his mind", juxtapositioning the constantly-chatty, but not really saying anything Leary. I base my picks on whether I was entertained or not, rather than looking for messages or with a "critic-intelligensia" eye. I was entertained wholly by this movie and gave it a 10.
  • a_chinn20 May 2017
    Quirky crime drama from the director of "Battlefield Earth" is surprisingly good. Written by Larry Bishop, who made the under appreciated retro biker film "Hell Ride," is overly talkie at times, but the story of recently released ex-con Denis Leary looking for revenge on the man who killed his father, but who ends up using his psychoanalyst skills he learned in prison to help his father's killer, Joe Mantegna, become a better person is rather funny and clever at times. The film also features a strong cast that includes Annabella Sciorra, Abe Vigoda, Traci Lords, James Tolkan, and Bishop, which helps to overcome the film's faults.
  • ...to find this to be more than a good film. It's close to "excellent"!

    It has an almost psychedelic quality. Leary is outstanding, and keeps the viewer mesmerized with his ongoing dialog that twists, turns, and entwines itself within itself.

    Joe Mantegna is a great counterpoint to Leary and the two are perfect together.

    Enjoy this film as one that is different and borders on "unique".

    I bought it online for $2.25, and I consider it money well spent.

    Sometimes I take a chance and purchase a movie because of who's in it.

    In this case it really paid off!

    Try it! I know you'll like it!