Deep Blue Sea (1999)
Main cast: Thomas Jane (Carter Blake), Saffron Burrows (Dr Susan McAlester), LL Cool J (Sherman "Preacher" Dudley), and Samuel L Jackson (shark food)
Director: Renny Harlin


The sharks have their revenge after the debacles that are the Jaws sequels. In Deep Blue Sea Dr McAlester is leading a team of researchers to enlarge shark brains and cultivate some unnamed proteins that would regenerate brain synapses and hence cure diseases like Alzheimer's. Let's not quibble with the science, for this is not Einstein's Digest. Anyway, Samuel L Jackson's character Russell Franklin is the financier that panicks after yet another shark escape. This shark, in a thrilling opening scene, does a Jaws tribute that almost cost four teenagers their lives. Luckily our hero Carter Blake is there in time to shoot that nasty creature.

Needless to say, sharks with bigger brains mean sharks with better than average intelligence. These sharks are just waiting for time to wreck havoc. One day a nasty storm hits the underwater base, and somehow these sharks cause a helicopter to crash into the base (don't ask, go see for yourself), shut off the power supply, cause water to start leaking and sinking the base, and the doors to open. The sharks are ready to party. People get chomped to pieces, everyone panicks, screams, Carter waves his bazooka, and everyone has lots of fun.

Okay, so what if the characters are of the stock variety (rugged hero - Carter, token wisecracking God-fearing Black sidekick - Preacher, scientist who hasn't the brains not to wade into waters alone to rescue scientific notes, and other shark bait), it's still fun. If somewhat predictable fun, that is. Carter is, despite the rather silly script he's stuck in, quite a dashing and capable hero, one I'd certainly bank my money on should I need rescuing. He does all the heroic shennigans like waiting until the sharks are inches away before shutting the metal door shut, swimming beside a shark... a true adventure hero. Susan McAlester is the usual brainless scientist blinded by science, but her cynical lines make up for what she lacks in the brain department. But the poor gal has to undergo one really degrading token stripped-to-my-white-Ursula-Andress-skivvies scene that I really want to knock Renny Harlin's head for. I doubt that naughty pervert of a man intends this scene to be some way to prove that scientists can have great bodies too. Don't lie, Harlin, you lecher. I'm calling your mother right now.

LL Cool J's Preacher is certainly the most fun character. It's great to see the rapper getting the hang of acting better with each movie he's in.

DBS isn't a great movie, but it's definitely a great, nail-biting, on-your-seat-edge way to spend a few hours. Sharks rule, and that's a fact.

Rating: 80


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