Sunday, 3 August 2014

Deep Rising (1998)

A year before Stephen Sommers helmed monster-smash The Mummy, he wrote and directed this critically reviled box office flop.

Which I adore.

Deep Rising is not a complicated film.  It certainly doesn't live up to the first word in its title, you might say.  But it's easy to see the prototype of Sommers's later hit in this film.  You've got the same basic trifecta of main characters, the same combination of action, humour and horror (though this film has a considerably greater degree of gore).

An aside: Roger Ebert dismissed this film as 'an Alien clone with a fresh paint job', which suggests that he really needs to re-watch Alien.  Part of that film's power is that it never ever goes for a tension-relieving laugh.  Nor does it have lots of guns.  This film has a stack of both.  It's much, much closer in feel to Aliens, except it has far more humour in it.

Actually, that leads me to a good elevator pitch for the film: 'Aliens meets The Mummy.  On a boat'.  Of course it preceded The Mummy, so that couldn't have been the actual pitch.  But it works for our purposes.

Plot: there's a cruise ship full of rich tourists, and a bunch of mercenaries planning to rob it.  Unfortunately for the mercs (and the crew of the boat they hired to get them to their target), the cruise ship receives even less welcome visitors shortly before they arrive.  They, and the handful of survivors, will soon be in for the fight of their lives.

This is total popcorn cinema, but it's salty, buttery popcorn of deliciousness.  Well worth seeing unless you have an issue with gore, late 90s CGI monsters, or fun.

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