Underbelly 3 Gone Flabby!

I was big fan of the first Underbelly series. It was genuinely edgy, tense, confronting. You felt like you were looking through a keyhole into the darker reaches of the underworld.

Series 2 was nowhere near as good. It was still gritty, still had its moments, but was all a bit try-hard. The white-knuckle tension of amphetamine-paced Series 1, that sense of the ever impending threat of explosive violence, had slackened off. Further, where the original series was full of characters that were as compelling as they were shady, Matthew Newton’s portrayal of psycho ‘Mr Big’ Terry Clark was a bit schlocky, and the rest weren’t very interesting. I struggle to remember them apart from George Freeman, Robert Trimbole, and Clark’s girlfriend Alison (who can forget Anna Hutchison’s glorious tits?).

Well, going by the two-hour opening double-episode to Series 3 – The Golden Mile – the quality trend has continued on its downward spiral. An attention-grabbing performance by Firass Dirani as a young John Ibrahim was one of the few plusses.

The writing was dire. Bum lines abounded, made even worse by too many instances of dodgy acting. The low point of the script was a scene in which a new escort girl’s first customer requests a blowjob. Puzzled, she blows on his untrousered person as if trying to kindle a fire. Fuck me, where’s a good editor when you need ‘em?

Talk about lame – and worse, that joke is not even original. No, I don’t recall where, but I’ve come across it somewhere, and so would many of the viewing audience. Secondly, it’s not credible that the gal, however naive, had never encountered the term ‘blowjob’. Earlier, she’s shown rooting her no-good boyfriend, then she has coffee with a girlfriend who boasts of frequent weekend one-nighters and suggests going on the game would be no different – just more profitable. So come on! If the writers couldn’t demonstrate this babe’s naiveté less clumsily than that, they should have been sent back to drama school or waiting tables…or shunted over to a soap like Packed To The Rafters, where the audience tunes in to follow the fortunes of the characters and pisspoor scripting passes by largely unnoticed (at least, if the astounding popularity of the show is any indication).

Then there were those endless bloody slo-mo sequences, which were more rock video than poetic montage depictions of narcotically-tinged nightlife in the Cross. Having spent a lot of time while resident in Sydney watching the passing freakshow at the Cross into the wee small hours, I am well aware that it is a texturally rich environment, full of colour and romantic seediness, and beating with an undercurrent of threat that keeps things interesting. Tap into this, make the Cross a character, by all means – but do it with some imagination! There are real-life pickings aplenty to inspire any filmmaker. Why resort to cliché that alludes to a thousand other similar cinematic portrayals of night strips, yet captures little that is authentically Kings Cross apart from the obvious landmarks, like the Coke sign and the El Alamein fountain?

Speaking of cliché, the voiceover was like some pale facsimile of 40s American film noir with an Aussie accent, and sums up last night’s fare: unoriginal, lazy, flabby.

10 thoughts on “Underbelly 3 Gone Flabby!”

  1. After series one, Australia ran out of actors who weren’t completely crap. Did I dream that harold from neighbours was going to be in it or was that April fools? In any case when you’re down to the dregs of the 3rd tier of home and away actors, and you have the example of supposedly professional Sigrid Thornton seemingly deliberately making a tit of herself, then what else is going to be the result?

  2. Greetings WOP.

    Well, you’d sorta hope our depth of talent was a bit deeper than a roadside puddle, wouldn’t ya?

    While I fully agree there was some crap acting, the glaring problem was the script!

    On Sigrid, have to say the sight of her in a micro-mini made for, erm, uncomfortable viewing. Happily, the camera boys got it right there, sticking to long full bod shots and keeping them brief.


  3. The Koala scene was also stolen from Idiot box.. The blow job scene was just plain stupid… As if anyone would have been that naive..

  4. Re the blowjob scene: Exactly, aaron.

    Re the koala scene: Are you referring to the MTV comedy show or David Caesar’s movie? I haven’t seen either, but it doesn’t surprise me to learn that the writers should resort to desperate measures – such are the tactics of the imaginatively impoverished.

  5. Hiya Dick. Good to hear from ya. I don’t exactly delight in harsh criticism – just telling it how it is for me.

    On a more positive tack, did you catch Series 1 of Breaking Bad on ABC2? Now THAT is good stuff. I’ve been watching the second series (sent to me by a mate), and that’s just as good, if not a step up again!

    You going to revive Dullsvillain or is that it?


  6. This 3rd show is a mix of fact with more bullshit.12 people took their own lives due to the royal commision,most of them were police officers yet the show casts fictional police characters.The same goes for the so called bad guys.Of coures some of the cast portray real people yet not the way they act in the real world.This show has moved far away from the first but its good for ratings.

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