Thursday, July 10, 2008

Deep Rising (1998)

Holy crap! This makes three reviews in three days. What the fuck have I been smoking? Well, sweet (wave of contentment rolls over me). You guys'll be lucky if you get another review all month. It'll be good to spend my remaining free nights this month patrolling youporn and the like. Life is good. Actually, know what my secret is? I haven't worked my night job for three straight days. Unless you guys (and gal or two) want to start throwing money at me I'd suggest not getting used to this. It's an anomaly. Well then. On to Deep Rising.

Deep Rising is the story of a luxury liner in the South China Sea and the men who want to rob it. We're told the South China Sea has an underwater mountain range that can hide the himalayas, so we know it's pretty damn big. There's no telling what kind of beasties could be resting down there just waiting to be woken up. Treat Williams (Things to do in Denver When You're Dead) is Finnegan, the captain of a mercenary boat that happens to be transporting another group of mercenaries out to sea. His motto is "if the cash is there, we do not care" which is probably not the best motto to follow if the men you are hiring are armed to the teeth and also transporting what suspiciously looks like a giant torpedo. Last I saw, they don't allow money in the underworld, except to pay the boatman, but he only takes coins and I don't think there's a bank around, nor do I think they brought enough coin rolls. Finnegan's two man crew consists of the fantastic Kevin J. O'Connor as Pantucci and also the cute asian girl, Una Damon as Leila. They're also not big fans of Finnegan's motto, but he pays them, so they go along with it. The armed men they are bringing along to said unknown destination (hint: it's a big fucking boat) are led by Wes Studi and include several recognizable faces (still fodder though); Cliff Curtis, Jason Flemying, and even Djimon Hounsou. Hounsou made another boat movie, about slaves being transported by and dumped off a ship I believe, but this one is more enjoyable.

I want to apologize quickly to Kevin J. O'Connor. Last october, I wrote a review for a film called Flight of the Living Dead. I didn't even mention O'Connor by name. I think I actually referred to him as John Malkovich, or a homeless man's version even. Not only did the joke fall flat, but it was uncalled for. Yeah, I felt he was kinda apeing Malkovich from Con Air, except he had the basic capacity for goodness. In hindsight, I should have realized this guy's actually hysterical and even a somewhat accomplished thespian in his own right. Who gives a shit if he made a shitty movie like Flight...we all make mistakes. Anyway, O'Connor is at least as good, at his best, as Malkovich was in Eragon. I'm not even sure if Malkovich could pull off the following line: "Can you just get asthma? Or, do you have to be born with it?" Just one of several great moments in this picture.

Early on, the action cuts between the mercernary ship and the luxury vessel (known as The Argonautica). The Argonautica is like The Titanic in that it's impregnable and also that only rich folk can have fun on it. Actually, the only poor folk on this voyage are likely working in the galley. Bunch of rich spoiled assholes. The biggest asshole of all on the ship is Canton, gloriously portrayed by Anthony Heald. It's a virtuouso performance. Famke Janssen plays the character onboard with the lamest name, Trillian. Still, she's hot and gets a pass. She's not what she seems, however, as she is basically just an upscale pickpocket. Wait, we see her "working" the room immediately. She's exactly what she seems, except I suspect her chest is even bigger than it looks. Actually, Canton's the one that's not exactly what he seems. Well, yes, he's still an asshole, but he's a bigger one than you originally thought.

Long story short, The Argonautica is disabled by a remote device (hint: Wes Studi). At the same time, the luxury liner picks up something BIG on sonar. Off the charts, man. And, it's not the little piddly diddly mercernary ship captained by Finnegan. Next thing we know, Finnegan and crew arrive at the liner, but by the time they board, it's a ghost ship. Also, since their own ship was damaged along the way, they now have to board the liner, help Studi and his assholes rob the vault, find parts to repair his ship, and avoid being eaten by some giant squid octopus-like killer worm creature(s). Well, this is Moving Picture Trash after all.

If you enjoy something like, say, Deep Blue Sea or Lake Placid, then you're gonna love this one. It's full of excessive gore and good for a few yucks as well. Treat Williams is the blunt everyman ("if this hull is impregnable, then why are my feet wet?"). Janssen plays the feisty female, who unfortunately does not get naked. For all the standing around in water they do, you think she'd take her top off to wring it out at least one time. Heald, as Canton, is a man of contradiction (i.e. poorly written character). When the creature initially attacks the Argonautica, he and a few souls seek refuge in the vault (where all the money is stashed). When Studi and his mercenaries open the vault, Hounsou (the first man inside) takes an axe to the face from a hysterical Heald, who can't stop shouting and crying and being all jittery. Barely ten minutes later, he's calmly admiring the creatures: "The power of these things! It's awesome!" After Hounsou is killed, there is still a token black guy remaining who gets to say this jokey line, "I don't mean to sound like a pussy, but this shit is freaking me out man!", and then get killed.

The picture was reminiscent of The Poseidon Adventure and The Abyss at times, with a small group of people trying to make it through vast overflowing corridors to an exit. Also, these movies all take place in or around water. Only here, the ship wasn't upside down and there was a beast forcing them further below. Here's the low down on the beast(s). They did a solid job with it (them). The creature effects weren't stellar, but for a picture like this, they don't have to be. I want to say it looked good for 1998, but fuck that shit. Starship Troopers came out the same year and it had flawless special effects. These aren't great for today and they're not great for '98 either, but they're adequate. I was confused on one point though. While watching the picture, I assumed all the various worm-things were actually tentacles attached to something much much bigger. Something we'd see later in the bowels of the ship or something. Now, I'm not so sure. (spoiler: We later see something huge, but it's still not clear if all the tentacles are attached or not) How did they move through closed doors and ventilation shafts like that? Small detail. Didn't affect my enjoyment in the least. There are some great scenes of people being eaten, half eaten, or just shit out. One guy is shot out of a tentacle and gets to his feet and starts walking around with half a head. Great effect. My favorite death probably involved my favorite native american character actor who, while being slowly devoured, asks another character for a gun (presumably to put himself out of his misery). His following action is priceless.

This is a great one. I'm really hoping to review something crappy soon. I only wish we got the sequel promised at the end, but I guess that was just some sort of joke. This one was directed by Stephen Sommers who showed a lot of promise here. Unfortunately, he went and mucked it up with the first two Mummies, and a Van Helsing. The best thing he directed after Deep Rising was the underrated Mummy ride at Universal, which I've been on. The line wasn't too bad, which is why I think I dug it (I guess it's no Hulk, Spider-Man, or Dueling Dragons ride). This guy got too ambitious I think and his use of effects didn't really improve. He did prove he can direct an action scene in this one. The jet ski chase through the halls of the luxury liner is top of the line. The characters all give fun performances and the creature looks and behaves as if it's in a B movie. It is. If you can find it, I suggest you make the blind purchase.


Beepy said...

Brian, you're spoiling us. Three reviews in three days. I've had several nights in a row off and have done jack. Good going, Dude.

Sam said...

Beepy, last time you had several days off in a row your were doing someone named Carl. Now Jack?

Beepy said...

You know, Sam, I do who I can.

Anonymous said...

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