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Deep Blue Sea (1999)

Written by Duncan Kennedy and Donna & Wayne Powers Directed by Renny Harlin

After Director Renny Harlin received the script from the production studios, his aim became in making what he believed could be the next quintessential film about sharks. Having been 25 years since the release of Jaws, he was sure to incorporate enough homage’s while throwing in a few tricks learned over time. Having the Actors train with real sharks with claims of daring the audience to differentiate between which were in fact real and which, animatronics. However, while the thought process and effort were surely appreciated for the films sake, its not as though once watching that you can’t tell what’s real and what wasn’t. Building whole sharks as opposed to Jaws, where certain parts of the shark were only created. Having the ones for this film be completely remote controlled with airplane technology built inside for the realistic effect witnessed throughout.

The story follows an electric array of cast members. Beginning with a great opening as a group of lovers become at the mercy of a massive shark ready to feast. Though saved by former criminal and shark wrangler Carter (Thomas Jane), who transports him back to Aquatica; a facility harbored by the President of Chimera Pharmaceuticals, Russell Franklin (Samuel L. Jackson). Providing the research team with an already hefty 200 million and headed by front woman Dr. Susan McCallister (Saffron Burrows). Their aim, to lend a helping hand in stopping the at least 200,000 who developed Alzheimer’s each year. The matter hitting a bit on the personal side for herself though touched on very briefly and only in the beginning. Simply used as a means to convince the board for another 48 hours. Effective and damning all in one nice little Action packed with familiar faces and an absorbing story-line that was thrilling, if only for the fact that you almost couldn’t believe how ’crazy ridicules’ the story had developed over time.

Once we settle into the compound, our tour guide Janice (Jacqueline McKenzie) explains the different sub-levels; First: living quarters, Second: wet lab and workshops, with the third holding the engineering and air-locked wet entry. Making introductions to the weekend crew as the rest of the staff left, just as a huge storm was moving in. Which… anyone whose seen the sequel to I know what you did last Summer can verify, ‘shit just got real.’ The wiseass (Tom; Michael Rapaport), cook (Precher; LL Cool J) and mad scientist (Jim; Stellan Skarsgard) are left in the hands of Susan, who had just violated Harvard compact in allowing gene therapies to be performed as a means of increasing the sharks brain mass. Which was necessary as the sharks were simply not large enough to harvest such proteins. The side effect however was that they became super sharks with the ability to defy gravity, open doors as they so chose and turn on the oven for a twist of irony because, well why the hell not I suppose.

For as soon as the confirmation from their experiment came in positive, chaos ensued as Jim’s taken out almost immediately. The compound is then set ablaze as water begins to fill up the lower levels; the group finding themselves trapped within. With the one feasible escape proving just as ineffective as on top of everything else, these sharks were capable of entering small locations to destroy the one mini sub knowing was left. Leaving a fight to the top with only two survivors as they find themselves without a paddle and at the mercy of the sea.

Its quite rare that I find myself gushing over how great a shark film is. Plausibility aside, the spectrum runs from Jaws to say, any ridicules B (or C) Horror movie a random celebrity may find themselves in towards the end of their career. Though considering such, I recalled liking his movie when it first came out. The story was certainly intriguing with a trio of Actors being to blame for actually viewing. Above anything else, it maintained a minimal of interest longer than one sitting. Because who doesn’t want to hear yet another speech from Jackson that stops time just for him. Or see Jane pounce around in barely there clothes for all adoring and viewing eyes (or just my own). Excluding the trend that was having the one rapper in the bunch do a song to play over the credits; the lyrics almost as ridicules as one might imagine. LL Cool J was the comedic relief needed to relive such ‘tension’ throughout. As Burrows character was to blame all along so I don’t feel sorry for saying I was rooting for her departure the entirety of the time. The action being on par, but the execution fairing along the lines of just an average thriller with a conclusion that was nothing special.