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Deep Blue Sea (1999): An Appreciation
Reviewed by Joe Crowe, © 2007

Format: Movie
Review Date:   August 07, 2007

"What does an eight thousand pound mako shark with a brain the size of a flat head V8 engine and no natural predators think about?"

Deep Blue Sea is a generic monster flick from 1999 with just enough of a sense of humor to be enjoyable, but not quite enough to be a super crazy quote-o-matic geek cult bonanza. Still, I dig it for a couple of reasons.

I found the screenplay.

"Intrepid and daring _________ in a remote headquarters in _________ conduct experiments on ___________ to find a cure for ____________. They lose control of ___________, and the intrepid ___________ , including the rugged ________ and the wisecracking ________, try to escape their _________ headquarters while being pursued by the ____________. One by one, the intrepid ___________ get __________. Finally, the last _____________ succeed in ________ the _____________ . Then they make _______ wisecracks as the credits roll."

In this one, it's sharks. Scientists monkey with shark brains, since sharks never get brain diseases, in order to cure Alzheimer's. Maybe so old people won't forget to be afraid of sharks.

The intrepid top scientist (Saffron Burrows) bioengineered the sharks, making them smart sharks. Or, as I call them, smarks.

There's a super hi-tech station with sublevels and lots of computers and a name, Aquatica. When a scientist lovingly details high-tech features, we know that thing's going down. Sure enough, soon the smarks get room to swim and an all-you-can-rend-and-consume buffet line.

The movie tells us that man shouldn't mess with nature. In this case, nature in the form of smarks. Well, duh.

Another fun, familiar thing is when smark victims haul butt all in a bunch up a hallway, all screaming "RUN!" as if none were clear on procedure when a smark is in hot pursuit.

The standard here-comes-the-monster music buildup is nowhere to be heard. That's a nice surprise. The smarks jump out and chomp without musical warning. It was pretty intense, because victims you didn't think would be eaten got eaten. And there were three smarks. Which are better than two.

The rugged action guy for all the ladies in the house tonight is Thomas Jane, a newcomer to the action guy business then, The Punisher now. He's mighty handsome and a good swimmer. Samuel L. Jackson is a rich bad mofo instead of the usual just getting by bad mofo.

I wonder about one curious scene. Renny Harlin, Geena Davis' ex-husband, is the director. The lead lady, Saffron Burrows looked a lot like Davis. She is cornered by a smark, and strips to her bra 'n panties. Likers of women shan't disagree with the reason for it, but it seems humiliating. Then a smark eats her. A parting shot from Renny at his ex? Not nice.

Where Are They Now?

Thomas Jane was the Punisher, in a skull shirt and everything.

Samuel L. Jackson: Snakes on a Plane, and other awesomeness.

Jacqueline McKenzie: The 4400

Saffron Burrows: Boston Legal with Mr. William Shatner.

LL Cool J: Back to Cali.

Aida Turturro: Janice, Sopranos. Also see below.

The wisecracking cook is LL Cool J, and my goodness. He talks to God with a smark in pursuit. When he and the smark survivors make a last try to escape, he speaks the 23rd Psalm. I never knew the psalmist refers to himself as a bad motherfilker.

Then LL beats on a smark with his swinging gold crucifix. Whoo.

Best of all, the switchboard lady on Aquatica is Aida Tuturro. She plays Brenda, who was a character in one of LL's epic sagas, "Big Ole Butt."

I give the respect to the smarks. In the trailer, the intrepid lady scientist says "The seas would be theirs" if they escape. Would that be such a bad thing? They can swim backwards. That's pretty cool.

I'm ready for Deep Blue Sea 2: The Smarkening. Pretty please? I have some of the script done.

Smark 1: "You eat yet?"

Smark 2: "Nope. You?"

RevolutionSF smark editor Joe Crowe knows a smark from a smorpoise.

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