Underworld (1996) from Tuna

Underworld is billed at IMDb as a comedy thriller. I can nearly understand the thriller part but, if it is indeed a comedy, I just didn't get it. During the opening credits, we have gratuitous breast exposure from a lingerie model, intercut with several machine gun massacres. Evidently, this all takes place in some alternate universe without police. After a stroll through gratuitous topless showgirls, we are introduced to the two main characters, Johnny Crown (Denis Leary) and Frank Gavilan (Joe Mantegna). Crown was just released from prison, and is taking advantage of father's day to kill everyone he feels is remotely responsible for the brain death of his father.

Gavilan meets him as requested, and goes with him in his limo. Other than the odd mass murder break, including one in the limo, the rest of the film is filled with endless psycho-babble, where we learn that Crown and Gavilan have known each other for a long time, that Crown and Gavilan are not their real names, and that Gavilan is looking for someone named Richard Essex. Then there is a delightful little episode where a bunch of thugs watch a stripper and shoot up a bar out of boredom, then kill each other. All of this is planned by Crown, who also enjoys playing with some, but not all, of his victims before they meet their demise. Crown also tries to cause a reconciliation between Gavilan and his estranged wife (Annabella Sciorra).

I suppose we are supposed to be hooked into wondering what will happen to Galivan, and whether Richard Essex will ever be found. 

The most interesting thing to do while watching this film: watch for Abe Vigoda as Galivan's father, and Tracy Lords as a singer.

Scoop's notes in yellow:

  • Screenwriter Larry Bishop also acted in the film, and is the son of the legendary Rat Pack comedian and occasional talk show host, Joey Bishop

  • Director Roger Christian won an Oscar in 1978 for the art direction for Star Wars. He was nominated again for Alien. Two impressive achievements! He has also been on the other end of the entertainment spectrum, having won a Razzie as the director of ... (wait for it) ... the legendary Battlefield Earth! Here is his list of directorial achievements:



  • This box set contains Underworld (1997, 86 min., Starring: Denis Leary, Joe Mantegna & Annabella Sciorra), The Last Word (1994, 94 min., Timothy Hutton & Joe Pantoliano), Capone (1989, 97 min., Starring: Keith Carradine & Roy Sharkey), and Deadfall (1993, 99 min., Starring: Michael Biehn, Nicolas Cage & James Coburn)
  • Featurettes on Deadfall and Underworld
  • All involve crime in some way, all have nudity, and all are somewhere between not very good and godawfull. There are no widescreen versions, but all are passable 4/3 transfers, and none of the films are available separately.


We have breasts from Heidi Schanz as the lingerie model, breasts and buns from stripper Tracey Mannen, and breasts from three showgirls credited as Christine Anthony, Thomasina Grieve and Diana Vlaskalic.

The Critics Vote ...


The People Vote ...

  • No box office info available


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a D. IMDb comments compare the style to that of Quentin Tarantino. But not the quality.

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