Deep Blue Sea (1999)

Deep Blue Sea posterStarring Samuel Jackson, Saffron Burrows, Thomas Jane, LL Cool J, Michael Rapaport, Stellan Skarsgård.
Written by Duncan Kennedy, Donna Powers & Wayne Powers.
Directed by Renny Harlin.

Grade: C+

Review by Kris Campbell.

Picture if you will Shelly Winters breast-stroking her way through the oily wreckage of the upturned Poseidon pursued by a thirty-foot shark as Roy Scheider dangles an electrical cable over the water trying to lure the predator away from his billowing meal, toward his spectacular death. This is more or less the premise of Deep Blue Sea, an enjoyable if over-digitalized meld of disaster and action genres.

With director Renny Harlin putting Samuel L. Jackson and Stellan Skarsgård through their summer-action paces, Deep Blue Sea doesn't lack for star power, and also boasts emerging stars Thomas Jane and Saffron Burrows, he playing Carter Blake, a hunky but reckless diver with a dark secret, she Dr. Susan McAlester, a brilliant if emotionally lacking research scientist who looks 19 years old. L.L. Cool J, off on his own corner of the movie, provides unnecessary but effective comic relief. And then there's the real stars, the sharks themselves, which have been genetically mutated for high intelligence and increased strength and mobility, an inventive plot device that makes the sharks scary; it's about time someone thought of that! Big and nasty

Aside from this, the plot holds up well enough and, without revealing who gets what when, it may be said that there's enough munching and crunching to satisfy most audience members, and also some nifty tweaking of convention along the way.  The story has its share of improbabilities: at one point Dr. McAlester wisely disrobes out of her wetsuit to guard against electrocution, but then senselessly puts it right back on again after the immediate threat passes, a distressing turn of events that was insufficiently explained. Such holes aside, Deep Blue Sea hits most of the marks it aims for and is a refreshing break from the more scatological competition at the summer box office.

Review © August 1999 by AboutFilm.Com and the author.
Images © 1999 Warner Bros. All Rights Reserved.

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