Deep Blue Sea (1999)


I guess it would seem silly to point out that Deep Blue Sea’s characterization of sharks, Makos in particular, are wrong. Mako sharks generally don’t enjoy dining on humans; which is why most attacks by them last one bite. Humans are too boney for their tastes, they prefer the fatty sea lions instead. One bite is all it takes for them to finish their taste test.

Besides this overlook though, I’m tempted to say that Deep Blue Sea is almost a perfect film. A deep sea underwater facility (Aquatica) where sharks are genetically modified in an attempt to cure Alzheimer’s? Yes, it’s here. A daredevil shark wrangler Carter (Thomas Jane) who swims amongst the sharks unaided; pulling license plates from their teeth? Who points out that Makos don’t like eating humans? Yes. And LL Cool J starring as a chef with a pet parrot? I’m in love already.

Deep Blue Sea - Facility

Okay, I don’t want to cry bullshit this early, but why is LL (Sherman Dudley here) working alone? He’s the goddamn GOAT for Christ’s sake! Doesn’t make a goddamn lick of sense. I’d venture to guess that Samuel L. Jackson was added just to give LL some company if I could no longer remember how en vogue Jackson was at the time.

I’m sure the fact that LL kills a shark by himself armed with nothing but a Zippo lighter should account for something.

Deep Blue Sea - Deep Sea Dive

Deep Blue Sea - Deep Sea Hunt

One thing Deep Blue Sea is however, is a clear indicator on how shark attack movies should be. Case in point, when the sharks eat crippled Dr. Whitlock (Stellan Skarsgard). Whitlock coming too close to a not entirely subdued shark during experimentation, and has his arm bitten off. So the crew calls in an airlift to evacuate him to a hospital.

Rather than having the Mako jump out of the water way out of range from where one could actually jump (I’m looking at you, Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus), here the filmmakers use their head. The shark grabs onto the stretcher being airlifted, and pulls it under the sea, dragging the helicopter into Aquatica’s first level. Cue Hollywood explosion.

Deep Blue Sea - Battering Ram

Followed by the same shark ramming the same patient into the windows Aquatica has under the sea. So it’s Jaws III with the shark from Jaws IV (the one with an elephant’s memory) starring in it. What’s so fascinating about Deep Blue Sea though, is how its team of scriptwriters (this is Hollywood after all) didn’t stop there.

Deep Blue Sea - Flood

Three giant Mako sharks genetically engineered to be super intelligent. But they only get the ball rolling, as once the carnage starts it’s actually Aquatica that becomes an underwater haunted house. Haunted by sharks, which might be the only ghost variation I’m willing to accept. The flooding science lab forces the crew deeper under water, only to have to swim their way back up. This might be the omega of the early ’00s disaster films; featuring one sequence where the crew is climbing out a flooding stairwell topped with an inferno (courtesy of the helicopter crash earlier).

Quasi believable hauntings, mutant Makos, and LL Cool J? I love this film even more now.

Deep Blue Sea - Final Hunt


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