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Film Review: Deep Blue Sea

OK, OK, I realise that there are going to be more discerning critics going to this film who will HATE it. With a passion. But trust me, if you are in the right mood, this film is possibly the best action film of the summer bar 'The Matrix' (and yes that does include that over-hyped drip 'The Phantom Menace').

photoThe plot is, as par for the course in a Renny Harlin movie, total fantasy. A bunch of scientists grow enormous, genetically modified sharks in order to harvest their brain protein as a cure for Alzheimer's disease. But as with ever 'science on the rampage' story, things do not quite go to plan as the super-intelligent sharks start snacking on the humans as their ocean-bound lab begins to sink.

The plot, and indeed the script, are nothing more than a lynchpin for some of the most tense and crowd pleasing action of the summer. Whatever you think of Harlin's movies (and there have been many stinkers) he is like James Cameron in that he knows exactly how to meld effects and action. The shark effects are surprisingly good, and thankfully, are not overused. The score is effective is building up a sense of foreboding doom, while the constant reference points to Jaws are used as an integral part of at least one huge shock instead of just trying to be postmodernist and 'ironic'.

photoThe actors of course are not expected to do much but provide a difficult meal for the sharks. Jackson of course would give dignity to the yellow pages. Jane proves to be a serviceable action hero whilst Saffron Burrows just about makes it through the film without embarrassing herself. But the real surprise is LL Cool J. His name on the credits did more to scare me then the actual sharks, but he is about the most human of all the characters and is eventually the one you end up rooting for.

Be warned. There is no depth to this film at all. In fact, the whole plot barely stands up to scrutiny. But it is one of those action films, which gets by on pure guts and glory. It is one of the few films this summer in which I went in cynical, yet came out buzzing. If you are in the mood for tension, thrills but without having to think, then 'Deep Blue Sea' is highly recommended.

Ian O'Sullivan

'Deep Blue Sea' was released in Ireland on 15 October '99


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