When the financier for a research team visits their facilities, he discovers that they are working on live sharks and making progress on finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. That is until something goes very very wrong.
Written by Duncan Kennedy, Donna Powers, and Wayne Powers, and directed by Renny Harlin, this shark horror film is one that is now reknown to being absolutely off its rockers. The film is decently written with enough twists and twists to give you nausea. The direction is what brought it to life though with work that only Renny Harlin could do. This film is over the top, completely insane, and yet so entertaining. The work by Harlin here is what made it work and it cannot be overlooked. The man who directed Die Hard 2, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, Cliffhanger, The Long Kiss Goodnight, and so many other highly entertaining film is the one this film here needed and his trademark style is all over this film for better or worse. And let’s be honest, it’s for the best.
The cast here is filled with familiar faces from Thomas Jane to LL Cool J to Samuel L Jackson to Saffron Burrows to Stellan Skarsgård to Michael Rapaport, these people bring exactly what this movie needs to the screen and they aren’t afraid to work in sheer nonsense. The film has its own laws and the cast is down with them. The performances here won’t win anyone any trophies (and they didn’t), but they bring the viewer in and gets them to care. Thomas Jane who is top billed kicks all kinds of shark tails here. Samuel L Jackson does as Samuel L Jackson does, giving a great performance, possibly better than the material he was handed. LL Cool J has a character that may not be the central one, but it’s a good one and he gets a few very important scenes, which he makes easy work out of. Rapaport is the comic relief and Skarsgård is the starter character (spoiler) who is the first kill of the main crew. Burrows plays her character entirely straight, very scientist-like and she’s not the best loved of the bunch, but that’s kind of the point here.
Now, let’s talk about the effects. The creatures, the sharks, look fantastic in upclose shots where they are clearly animatronics. This work here is stellar. However, some of the cgi sequences have not aged well. So 23 years after its release, the cgi is dated and the sharks seen swimming are not always all that believable. Other bits and pieces of special effects work great as long as they are practical effects. The fil as a whole looks glossy and high budget, so the cinematography by director of photography Stephen F. Windon is excellent, allowing the viewer to clearly see each and every scene, adding to the tension with the right angles to bring the viewer in. This is how you bring a shark film to the screen.
Deep Blue Sea is overall a bit of a silly shark film, but it’s a really fun one with lots of action sequences. It is Thomas Jane’s film and he makes the most of it. Renny Harlin was definitely the right man for the job here and he brings this slightly nutty story to the screen in the perfect way. Has this aged well? Well, not too badly considering everything.
Quick mention, that end credit song? Perfect! Deepest Bluest!