Deep Blue Sea (1999)

DVD Cover (Warner Brother)
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Overall Rating 53%
Overall Rating
Ranked #1,236
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Connections: Deep Blue Sea

A businessman sinks $200 million into a special project to help fight Alzheimer's disease. As part of this project, medical biologist Susan McAlester rather naughtily figures out a way to genetically enlarge shark brains, so that disease-battling enzymes can be harvested. However, the shark subjects become super smart and decide they don't much like being cooped up in pens and being stabbed with hypodermics, so they figure a way to break out and make for the open sea... --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: February 20, 2012
It's time to get back into the shark theme that I sort of started a few weeks ago, and to kick it off, I decided to take a look at one of those late-nineties movies that I missed out on when it came out. I'm referring, of course, to Deep Blue Sea, a sci-fi b-movie about super-smart sharks with Samuel L. Jackson in one of the leading roles. How did I pass on this concept for over ten years? Beats me, but here we are just moments after the credits started to roll.

The story finds a group of scientists stationed on a scientific base out in the middle of the ocean, where they are working on a chemical that can cure Alzheimer's Disease. This chemical comes from the proteins found in a shark's brain, but there's just one small problem... the typical shark's brain is too small to produce enough of the needed chemical. So, what do they do? Well, they genetically alter a group of sharks to have super-sized brains. What could possibly go wrong when you make these savage killing machines ten times smarter?

Suffice it to say, things go wrong fast. Soon, these people - shark wrangler Carter (Thomas Jane), research funder Russell (Samuel L. Jackson), head scientists Susan (Saffron Burrows) and Jim (Stellan Skarsgård), extra scientists Janice (Jacqueline McKenzie) and Scoggins (Michael Rapaport), and cook Preacher (LL Cool J) - find the research base crashing down around them courtesy of the sharks, and they must find a way to survive with a trio of highly intelligent sharks hunting down the people who screwed with them for so many months.

Deep Blue Sea is a cheesy sci-fi flick with little going for it in the way of intelligence, but it has a lot going for it when it comes to b-movie fun. Is the scientific basis for the story plausible? Nope. Are there plot holes and stupid decisions? Of course. Would anything in this film be remotely possible in the real world? Doubtful. However, if you can look past all of that, what you have is an entertaining action thriller with a bunch of sharks tearing shit up... and sometimes, that's all you need for a good night in front of the tube.

One of the things that I enjoyed about the movie was how it played with genre conventions and the audience's expectations. The people that you think will make it until the end get torn apart, while the people you think are just shark bait make it until the credits roll. I'm not going to name names, obviously, but there are definitely some surprises in here, one of which you might see coming if you're a fan of Chappelle's Show. Thumbs up for keeping us on our toes.

For the most part, I also enjoyed the sharks themselves... for the most part. You see, the film uses animatronic sharks as well as CGI, and the animatronic stuff looks pretty good - great, almost. However, the CGI stuff looks bad even by 1999's standards, and it certainly doesn't hold up in today's world. I guess one could argue that it adds to the b-movie atmosphere, but me, I was a little let down when I saw certain scenes that almost looked like cartoons.

Getting back to the positives, I also felt that the acting was adequate for the film. Nobody is perfect in their roles (not even Jackson), but honestly, there's nobody that I can single out as dragging the movie down either. Everybody plays their parts, everybody does their thing, and everybody manages to do their part to suck us into the storyline. Again, there are no memorable performances, but you won't find yourself bitching about the acting either.

Overall, I'm giving Deep Blue Sea a recommendation. It isn't a very smart film, but it is a damned entertaining one, and while I doubt it will rank in anybody's list of favorites, I think that fans of cheese will enjoy it as much as I did. 7/10.
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