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The 100




Deep Rising
(1998)
Reviewed by Scott Murdock
Rating: 7 Beans

hat movie about a passenger ship disaster will sink faster than you can say "Titanic"? That's right, it's "Deep Rising", the latest installation in the recent genre of cruise ship terror films.

An attempt by a band of mercenaries to rob and sink a luxury cruise ship on its maiden voyage is thwarted when the would-be thieves discover that swarm of giant sea creatures has already attacked the ship, digested most of the passengers (and excreted their remains into an enourmous bony-meaty "dung" pile), and started the ship slowly sinking. All the mammals remaining on the ship are hunted down one-by-one as they find themselves forced to semi-cooperate with each other in order to escape alive.

Anytime a movie begins by displaying some vague text facts on the screen to set up the premise, you can usually be assured that it is going to be hokey. "Yes, the area south of the China Sea has lots of deep unexplored trenches, and lots of ships have sunk there and never been found (perhaps because it's so damn deep), so what you are about to see COULD REALLY HAPPEN!!" Oooooooooo! Here we go again with another completely formula film that jumps on the CG bandwagon to bring us yet another cartoonish, fake-looking computer-generated monster.

John Finnegan (Treat Williams) plays a boat captain for-hire who is chartered to take a band of mercenaries to an isolated destination in the area of the South China Sea. (Remember? That's the place with the really deep trenches.) His nerdy and nervous mechanic Joey Pantucci (Kevin J. O'Conner) discovers that the mercenaries, led by Hanover (Wes Studi), are truly up to no good. Meanwhile, on the cruise ship, a jewel thief named Trillian (Famke Janssen) is busted in the act of thievery, predictably setting her up to be sealed in a secure space that will protect her from the impending creature attacks.

After the mercenaries, the skipper, and his first mate, too, arrive at the cruise ship, they are bewildered by the lack of humans, the complete shambles the place is in, and a preposterous subplot involving the owner of the ship and the reason the mercenaries were to attack. But no matter, once they start being eaten they stop turning their guns on each other (for the most part) and turn them on the creatures instead. Throughout the chase every cliche and forumula element is used. If you have seen all four "Aliens" movies, then you know exactly when something scary is going to happen, when it will be a false alarm, when the threat will be real, who will die, and the outcome of the underwater sequence that appears to be made from spliced frames of the same sequence in "Alien: Ressurection". Oh, and you should need no more than about 15 minutes to figure out who will still be alive at the end of the movie.

There were some peculiarities I noted while viewing this film. The first thing I noticed was the use of swearing and obscenities during the opening sequence. Granted, this type of language is to be expected from sailors and mercenaries, but in this case it really seemed forced. What struck me in particular was how often people said "My ass!". Then there were matters of detail.. such as a blowtorch being used on a piece of wet metal that was constantly being washed over by little waves of seawater, yet no steam emerged from the flame's point of contact with the water. Oh, and watch for the Sea-Doo escape-from-the-exploding-cruise-ship sequence. Does it not bear a striking resemblence to the Millenium Falcon fleeing the exploding Death Star in "Return of the Jedi"?

Ah, but of course, we must not forget the creature. Part octopus, part hydra, part sea anenome, but all obviously superimposed electrons. The movie actually provided a species name, but in a stream of BS drivel that gave me no reason to take it seriously. Here we have a creature that suppossedly calls the the staggering depth of 40,000 feet home, yet it is able to rise at extremely high speed to the surface without any decompression problems and then survive above the surface in open air for prolonged periods of time. Here we have a creature that is about the size of your average Taco Bell, yet it is able to slink around the ship unnoticed, sliding through ducts and crawlspaces and attack people through fume hoods and toilets. Here is a creature so powerful it was able to smash through an inpenetrable ship hull, yet the same person who noted this fact later considers a kitchen door to be sufficient protection.

Despite the incredible overall stupidity of this movie, it is worth paying to see for two reasons... both of which require "strong" (I use that word mildly) stomachs. (1) To see a woman get yanked down a toilet drain. (2) To see what I call "Mr. Melty", a previously-eaten member of the mercenary team who slips out of the belly of a freshly-killed creature, still alive and conscious but being digested right before out very eyes.

This movie is damaing to your brain, but great satisfaction for your morbid craving for gore!


Other reviews for this movie:

Mike Miller
Ken M. Wilson




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