DEEP BLUE SEA 2 (2018)
Directed by Darin Scott
Written by Hans Rodionoff, Erik Patterson, Jessica Scott (based on characters created by Duncan Kennedy, Wayne Powers, & Donna Powers)
Starring Danielle Savre, Rob Mayes, Michael Beach, Nathan Lynn, Kim Syster, Jeremy Boado, Adrian Collins, Cameron Robertson, Darron Meyer, Marc Hyland, Tamer Burjaq
Find out more about this film here!!
The original DEEP BLUE SEA wasn’t the second coming of JAWS, but it was fun enough. It had a decent cast with Thomas Jane, Saffron Burrows, and of course LL Cool J. The CG was cool and the smart shark idea was an interesting and new avenue to explore in shark cinema. And who could forget that Samuel L. Jackson scene? The film had enough chills and thills to entertain on a somewhat schlocky level and I find myself always watching it when it comes on cable from time to time. Almost twenty years later, they’ve decided to make a sequel to DEEP BLUE SEA. Who knows why. Maybe they wanted to cash in on Shark Week. Maybe they saw a hole that needed filled since the SHARKNADO movies have fizzled out. Maybe films like THE SHALLOWS and 47 METERS DOWN got some exec thinking that dusting off this old chestnut was a good idea. However it happened, DEEP BLUE SEA 2 is a reality and it even spawned a third film, which I will review next, as it comes out this week.
If you remember the plot of DEEP BLUE SEA, then you probably aren’t the target audience the makers of this film are shooting for as it basically is the same from the structure of the film, to the rehashed shocks, to the way it all works out. The story follows intrepid shark specialist named Misty (Danielle Savre) as she is asked to visit a top secret underwater facility off the coast of South Africa. Once at the facility, we meet Carl Durant (AQUAMAN’s Michael Beach) who is developing research to optimize the intelligence in the bull sharks that are contained within the facility’s water fence. He’s also addicted to the miracle drug that he is synthesizing at the research facility. Bo-hunk Alpha male Trent (JOHN DIES AT THE END’s Rob Mayes and is a dead ringer for FAITH NO MORE frontman Mike Patton) basically plays Thomas Jane in this film, who not really has as strong a bond with the sharks as Jane did, but is able to wrangle them with a click of a key fob as if he is opening the trunk of his Prius. As soon as Misty and a few other scientists enter the facilitate, the sharks decide to revolt and destroy the power source for the facility. The reason why Misty was called in in the first place was that she was to take a look at one of the sharks who is acting strangely. Turns out she is pregnant and not a school of baby sharks with powerful appetites and prickly dispositions are loose and swimming throughout the breached and leaking corridors of the facility. Just as in the original, the point is to try to get topside without ending up on the inside of a shark.
While the plot is slightly tweaked—instead of fighting Alzheimer’s disease, things are simplified to a drug that makes us access our full brain potential. Durant has a paranoid notion that machines are going to take over and human brains have to be expanded and improved in order to not be taken over. So I guess this film somehow ties into the TERMINATOR franchise… The film really does miss a lot of crucial details simply because it wants to get to the shark action. But in the original, there was a point to let the audience know that the facility is deep underwater. I’m sure it wasn’t in the budget to communicate this, but I think a few lines made in a long elevator trip would have sufficed. Instead, we rush to a recreation of the scene where Stellan Skarsgård gets his arm ripped off and we are off to the races with everyone scampering in hip deep water in all directions.
Because this was filmed at a fraction of the budget of DEEP BLUE SEA, the bulk of the movie is in the corridors. What’s really nuts is that the main horror this group of chums (see what I did there) is the swarm of mini-sharks that make this more of a PIRANHA movie than a real shark attack film. The bigger bull sharks (described as deadlier than the Great White) appear more as an afterthought in the last ten minutes of the movie. The shark CG is not terrible and there are a couple of good scenes that again look more at home in a PIRANHA film than DEEP BLUE SEA.
The acting is ok. Beach is given the most scenery to chew and chomp on it he does as he gets megalomaniacal as the film goes on. There is a fantastically bad scene where he is taking the drug in his private office and one of the sharks is watching him do this from a porthole window. Later he describes how he has a plan to destroy the sharks after he gets the data he needs and we again cut back to the shark listening closely. This is the funniest moment of the film and it definitely isn’t supposed to be taken that way.
The rest of the cast are capable. Savre looks good in a wetsuit and sports some impressive cleavage for no apparent reason other than to titillate conservatively. Mayes is no Thomas Jane, but he fills the role of Alpha Dog decently. If there is an improvement from the original and the sequel, I think that I prefer the nerdy banter of the tech guy (Nathan Lynn) to LL Cool J talking with his parrot. I’d describe DEEP BLUE SEA 2 as bearable. It’s the JAWS 3 if you compare both franchises to the original of their respective series. It makes the original look awesome and it was in a cheesy sort of way. But it’s not as clever, scary, shocking, and funny as the original by a long shot. The original DEEP BLUE SEA was firmly resting in that fun zone under JAWS but above the myriad of ScyFy shark slop. Unfortunately, DEEP BLUE SEA 2 is quite a few leagues below the original.