Written by Duncan Kennedy, Donna Powers, and Wayne Powers Directed by Renny Harlin
Samuel Jackson has made some really great movies in his career. Unfortunately, this wasn’t one of them. In fact, it’s one of those roles that makes me question if he might have some sort of brain tumor that from time to time makes him pick roles that should only be given to actors whose stars are failing, or who I’ve never heard of. His role in this film would be a perfect vehicle for Mel Gibson right about now.
Deep Blue Sea opens the way many other horror movies at sea do: a group of young adults are having a party on board a boat when they are attacked by a great white shark. The difference is, this shark has been genetically enhanced. Of course, the audience doesn’t know that at the time.
Dr. Susan McCallister (portrayed by Saffron Burrows) is a scientist at an ocean-based research facility which is trying to develop a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease by re-growing brain tissue. Her test subjects are sharks and it was one of those that escaped and attacked the boat. Her benefactor, Russ Franklin (portrayed by Samuel Jackson) wants to pull the plug on the project, but she convinces him to give her another 48 hours to deliver some results. He travels with her back out to the research facility off the coast of California, just as there’s a tropical storm bearing down on it.
Do I really have to say anything more about the plot? All of that alone should pretty much tell you what you need to know. What I will say is that as I was watching this, I could swear this was taken scene-for-scene from Jurassic Park. Instead of dinosaurs, we get sharks. Dinosaurs were cloned and messed with genetically. Sharks weren’t cloned, but their brain tissue has been messed with to make them smarter, and now they’re about to turn on their creators. I think Michael Crichton should sue them for not only stealing his story but stealing it very badly.
There’s not one single surprise in Deep Blue Sea. I knew everything that was going to happen in the story. Oh, Samuel Jackson is standing near the edge of the tank? Yep, the shark is going to jump out at him. The cook hides from a shark in the oven? Yep, the shark is going to manage to turn it on, though to his credit, he survives it. You have to allow the least-educated person in the research facility survive – it’s a statement of just how stupid all these people with college educations really are. The script continually sets up what is going to happen and it’s pretty apparent who the next person is on the chopping block.
If there’s one thing that is good about Deep Blue Sea it’s the effects. Models have come a long way since sharks were first seen terrorizing people in Jaws, and the CGI effects are combined here with them to be pretty good. The sharks here are more like animatronics that are seen in a theme park rather than anything that’s been in films before. This was the one part of the special features that was a little interesting – seeing how the film was constructed in regard to what the sharks did. As much as I am usually quite fond of special features, the only ones I watched on this DVD were the featurettes on the special effects. I couldn’t bring myself to watch the film a second time to listen to the commentary. If you can, you’re a better person than I am.
The acting is what it is. The roles are written pretty poorly and the list of B-actors other than Samuel Jackson perform pretty much as expected. Saffron Burrows gets down to her underwear to provide a little eye-candy for the males in the audience as well.
With the exception of some of the effects, there’s nothing in Deep Blue Sea worth viewing. I just can’t believe this direct rip-off of Jurassic Park got the green-light from the legal department at the studio. It’s a crime of a film in many ways.
• Commentary with Director Renny Harlin & Samuel Jackson • “When Sharks Attack!” – featurette • “The Sharks of the Deep Blue Sea” • Deleted scenes with Commentary by Renny Harlin • Theatrical Trailer • Stills Gallery