Full Scream AheadDeep Rising (1998)

Starring Treat Williams, Famke Janssen, Anthony Heald, Kevin J. O'Connor, and Wes Studi.
Written and directed by Stephen Sommers.

Grade: D-

Review by Carlo Cavagna.

How liberating it must be to make a motion picture unfettered by the constraints of originality and to be given $50 million to do it! Stephen Sommers (The Mummy) wrote and directed this overpriced waste of time, which draws equally from Aliens and Under Siege, with bits thrown in from The Poseidon Adventure, The Abyss, and even Titanic--though to be fair Sommers probably hadn't yet seen Titanic when he "wrote" this movie. Famke JanssenOn its maiden voyage, the huge luxury liner Argonautica is simultaneously attacked by hijackers (led by Wes Studi) and very big, very nasty things with tentacles. The hijackers board the Argonautica to find only a handful of survivors, and they must fight off the monsters while trying to escape, a la Aliens and Alien Resurrection. Left unexplained is why the creatures, who wipe out hundreds of passengers in a matter of minutes, would take their sweet time with the handful of survivors. It's a pity they don't eat the cast up faster, given the quality of the dialogue.

Deep Rising stars Treat Williams as John Finnegan, the captain of the boat hired by the hijackers, and Famke Janssen as Trillian, a petty thief aboard the Argonautica who survives the initial tentacular onslaught. The beautiful Janssen (also seen in Rounders and Goldeneye) is probably also the only cast member who doesn't completely embarrass herself, although her performance here is a little too Sandra Bullock-like, and one Sandra Bullock is enough. Since Sommers didn't bother to spend money on decent acting, he was able to devote most of his budget to the effects, and it shows. Albeit spectacular, the effects also lack originality--we've seen sophisticated computerized monsters in dozens of films since Jurassic Park hit the screen.

Review © March 1999 by AboutFilm.Com and the author.
© Hollywood Pictures/Buena Vista. All rights reserved.

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