"Underworld: Awakening" and "Red Tails" Reviews Update

Posted 1:04 AM January 19th, 2012 by Senh Duong

While there are already plenty of reviews for Steven Soderbergh’s “Haywire,” they’ve been scant for the two other action films also opening this week: “Underworld: Awakening” and “Red Tails.”

Underworld: Awakening

I just checked Rotten Tomatoes, and “Underworld: Awakening” has it’s sole review removed. It was from a UK publication that splattered the film. Looks like the film's marketing department is making critics adhere to embargo rules: don’t post reviews until Friday. Or worst, the film wasn’t screened for critics here in the States. Either way, it means the film will be poorly reviewed because if they’re expecting good reviews they would have let the reviews out early like “Haywire.”

Let’s take a look at how the previous three “Underworld” films fared with critics. “Underworld” scored 31% on the Tomatometer; “Underworld: Evolution” scored 16%, and “Underworld: The Rise of the Lycans” scored 30%. Ouch. No wonder they’re enforcing the embargo this time. I have a feeling this latest one will end up closer to “Evolution”’s 16%.

While one was removed for “Underworld: Awakening,” three reviews were posted for George Lucas’s “Red Tails.” Surprisingly, it got a positive response from Owen Gleibermann of Entertainment Weekly, who said “As long as it stays in the air, Red Tails ... is a compelling sky-war pageant of a movie.” It got splattered by Time Out New York’s Keith Uhlich, who complains that it’s “so narratively old-fashioned it creaks.” It also got a negative reaction from Josh Bell of Las Vegas Weekly, who writes, “Lucas' clout may have brought this important story to the screen, but his filmmaking shortcomings keep it from being told effectively.”

That’s actually about right. The marginal recommendation from Gleibermann probably represents where most critics will fall, meaning they’ll have to choose whether or not the spectacular aerial battles could compensate for the corny dialogue.

Meanwhile, “Haywire” is doing great: 85% on 39 reviews. Critics are dismissing the films thin plot and praising its simplicity and efficiency. Oh yeah, the fight scenes are cool too. Even if this mixed martial arts spy thriller opens softly, good reviews will probably keep it running in theaters long enough to make a decent earning overall.

UPDATE 1/20: Reviews for "Underworld: Awakening" are finally appearing on Rotten Tomatoes, where the score is currently 27%. Most of the critics are onliners. Most mainstream critics haven't gotten to it yet. "Haywire" is Certified Fresh by Rotten Tomatoes with 83%. "Red Tails" is at 33% after 61 reviews.

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