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Saturday, September 24, 2011

My 100 Worst Movies of the 90's - 79 - Deep Rising (1998)

Monster movies; I like monster movies.  I think some of them are legitimately great films.  Deep Rising is not a great film.  It’s not a good film.  Hell, it’s barely even a film at all.  It is merely a series of concepts that are easily identifiable and therefore easily forgettable.  Deep Rising doesn’t try to do anything particularly original, it just has a big octopus thing attack a luxury liner, a typical captain/action star, a typical group of terrorists, a typical geeky sidekick and a typical sexy vixen.  It’s just… well… typical.

Deep Rising opens with a group of terrorists (led by Sagat from that Street Fighter movie) who hire a team of smugglers (just to nail home that Han Solo ripoff character played by Treat Williams) for their boat, then attempt to overtake a massive cruise ship on its maiden voyage.  Meanwhile, a thief raiding the ship’s vault is caught and arrested.  Everything goes awry for everyone, however, when a giant octopus attacks, and the body count goes up and up and up.  When the terrorists finally arrive, the ship is derelict, and the hint of death is everywhere.  In one of the more tasteless scenes early in the film, involving one of the monster’s first victims, a woman is killed when she is sucked into the toilet.  

Where Deep Rising goes wrong is how it tries to establish its characters.  It is obvious there was intent to take the characters played by Treat Williams, Famke Janssen and  Kevin J. O’Connor further, possibly into a film series, or at least in some other medium.  Treat Williams channels Han Solo badly, O’Connor is the same character he is in just about everything, and Famke Janssen is predicable from the beginning as a feisty jewel thief.  Its funny how most films that tease a sequel in the end are bad.  Since people going to the sequel is dependant on there actually BEING a sequel, which is ultimately dependant on people liking the first movie, it’s essential that you at least try to do something different.  Deep Rising is proof that it isn’t wise to count your chickens too early, you’ll just end up looking like an ass.  

Stephen Sommers wrote and directed this film, and if you aren’t sure who he is, he is responsible for the first two Mummy movies, Van Helsing and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.  He is definitely sequel bait, but seeing that he has only been successful at creating a franchise once, his track record is less than stellar.  Still, you can’t say he hasn’t tried (over and over again).

Deep Rising is bad in its excess.  Bad effects, bad acting, bad characters, a bad plot, bad everything.  The film is too jam-packed with too much crap to be a comprehensible film.  Way too many subplots and throwaway characters drag this one way down; well, that and the many, many overused cliches.  The screenplay kind of saves it a little (there are occasional funny lines), but all it does is keep it out of the bottom 50, that’s not saying much.

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