Deep Rising
Dir: Stephen Sommers
Star: Treat Williams, Wes Studi, Famke Janssen, Kevin J. O'Connor
Cert / Year: 15 - R / 1998
Format: DVD R2

Far below the South China sea lies an underwater mountain range with canyons deep enough to hide the Himalayas, deeper than any man or machine has ever explored.
Throughout the centuries, countless vessels have vanished into these waters without a trace.
Their dissappearance has remained a mystery.

Kind of mercenary/free-lance skipper of a high power E-boat looking cruiser John Finnegan Treat Williams is hired by a gang of bad guys, led by creepily cool Hanover Wes Studi. Unknown to Finnegan (as his motto is "If the cash is there, then we don't care") the gang are racing to rendezvous with a new casino luxury liner on it's maiden voyage. The liner has been left adrift and without instruments thanks to sabotage by it's greedy owner Simon Canton Anthony Heald who orchestrated the "robbery" as a means to claim on insurance. Unfortunately had he not rendered the ship immobile then maybe the enormous creature which ascended from the depths might not have had such easy pickings. Soon afterwards, Finnegan and his "passengers" arrive at the seemingly deserted and lifeless ship. Disturbed by some evidence of blood and complete lack of passengers the would be criminals begin a search of the vessel only to discover a terrified Canton hiding in the ship's vault along with the captain. Meanwhile, attractive jewel thief Trillian St. James (Famke Janssen) awakens in the brig where she was thrown before the incident and promptly manages to escape. Soon every one runs into each other in time to discover the reason for the lack of passengers. In order for the beast from the depths to devour it's victims it needs to ingest them and reduce them down to a fluid........

"I've got a bad feeling about this!"

Despite it's meagre trappings, Deep Rising delivers more than you would expect. In terms of aquatic monster/sci-fi movies this is one of the better ones and it manages to distinguish itself from the likes of Leviathan or Deep Star Six by providing a reasonably good story backed by some good direction. There is of course little that hasn't already been covered from one degree or another in this "sub-genre". Some scenes do play out as standard cliche, but others manage something new and this is part of the charm for this movie. Despite the flurry of excitement after The Mummy I have found the direction of Stephen Sommers to be rather hit and miss to be honest. But in this instance it is one of the occasions where he does quite well. Nothing especially outstanding or rip roaring that "grabs you" as such but it is a very competent piece of film making.

Admittedly much of the "creature" is woefully presented in CGI and it has "dated" already. Don't let that deter you though as despite the occasional shortcomings of the computer effects they do still work rather well and much better than it's predecessor Anaconda. Apart from the CGI the remaining creature effects are impressive and the do an adequate job of building the suspense and sense of impending "terror". The initial attack of the creature is a good indictaion of it's particuarly nasty nature as one of the victims is quite unceremoniously pulled down a toilet to be devoured.......Canned food anyone?. As you would expect for this type of movie, the unnatural multi tentacled terror is designed by sfx maestro Rob Bottin. The creature's tentacles each seem to have a maleavolent mind of their own as they traverse the various pipes and ducting of the ship to find victims. The more teeth they seem to stick on these movie monsters the less inclined you are to be afraid of it.

A good cast provide some excellent performances but the ever understated Treat Williams steals the show. A fantastic lead performance packed with witty quips, some dark humour and good action sequences a worthwhile offering from Williams. Another one of those "Anti-Hero/Bad guy" characters that you just can't help rooting for. The played down performance of Famke Janssen is as refreshing as ever and her jewel thief inevitably becomes one of the more endearing characters. The film serves up a bout of comic relief in the form of Kevin J. O'Connor as Pantucci, Finnegan's curiously sceptical and long suffering mechanic whose penchant for wise cracks at the most inoppurtune moments does little to engraciate him to their "passengers". Pantucci's girlfriend and fellow crew member Leila is very nicely played by the alluring Una Damon, it would be nice to see her do more movie work especially action orientated as I feel she isn't used to the best of her abilities here. The collective bad guys are a rum looking bunch headed by the excellent Wes Studi who is always a good watch (Check him out as "The Sphinx" in Mystery Men for confirmation).

The interior jet ski chase is pretty cool, but has been done before and is let down by some poor CGI. On the whole this is a rather impressive movie and basically far better than it should be. The film is entertaining and in some respects is rather fun as well. Regardless of some minor shortcomings this is a surprisingly enjoyable movie packed with action, explosions and stunts. If you like your horror to be sea bound, then this is a movie for you.


Now What!?

Rating: 4 out of 5

Picture 2.35:1 Anamorphic Generally good crisp image
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Pretty good quality soundtrack. Nothing outstanding though
Features Dull static menu
Theatrical trailer
Tiny "blink and you'll miss it" behind the scenes featurette
Verdict A very poor disc indeed! There is basically nothing special on the disc which is a shame as a good film like this deserves a decent release.

Rating: 1 out of 5

Reviewed by Logan Back Top Home