Starring Danielle Savre, Rob Mayes, Michael Beach, Nathan Lynn
Written by Erik Patterson, Hans Rodionoff, Jessica Scott
Directed by Darin Scott
Why does this movie exist? I have no idea.
I mean, yeah, I get that it exists to fleece fans of Renny Harlin’s dumb but fun 1999 shark opus by putting a cheaper, blander carbon copy on the market with a recognizable title designed to sucker viewers in. Other than that, Deep Blue Sea 2 does absolutely nothing to justify its own existence.
A sequel, prequel, remake, reboot, whatever, should do something, anything, creatively to justify why it was made, and one would assume do it in entertaining enough fashion to warrant further milking the moniker for even more money. There should be some fresh take on the material, some extension of the original concept, something that takes things, dare I say, deeper. Deep Blue Sea 2 can’t be bothered. It is nothing more than the exact same movie as the original with a few minor tweaks to the premise, characters, and familiar scenes done on a much lower budget, offering nowhere near the amount of shock and/or schlock value as its predecessor.
Worst of all, there are barely any shark attacks.
Think about that for a second. A sequel to Deep Blue Sea with five full-sized sharks that barely make their presence known. The sharks frequently let the people in the water swim unscathed.
I ask again: Why does this movie exist?
Floating sea lab out in the ocean. Questionable scientific experiments on sharks. Smarter sharks break loose. Station floods. People try to escape submerging station without getting eaten. Sound familiar?
The very similar plot this time focuses on a cast of characters who could be most easily described as Not Saffon Burrows, Not Sam Jackson, Not Thomas Jane, and Not Michael Rappaport. None of these characters are exactly the same as their counterparts from the nearly 20 year old original yet there is no mistaking which actor/character they’re supposed to remind you of. Calling the new versions of these characters one dimensional is putting it mildly. More like half-dimensional.
Not Thomas Jane barely even registers as a character. Late in the movie he mentions being ex-military and it hit me that really was the first and only thing we ever learned about him outside functioning as a buff shark wrangler. He’s quite literally just there to be there at the times he needed to be there.
The premise itself merely takes circumstances from the original and put a mild tweak on how it plays out. In this case, rich dude Not Sam Jackson recruits cleavage-baring sexy shark scientist Not Saffron Burrows to travel to his floating compound to assist with his Carcharodon experiments. Last time it was using Mako sharks to find a cure for Alzheimer’s. This time bull sharks are used to create nootropic drugs that will boost human intelligence so that mankind can evolve and not become obsolete when artificial intelligence takes over the world; a notion Not Sam Jackson lectures about so many times it began to feel less like that character’s driving obsession and more like the writers realizing they have virtually nothing else for him to say or do. Not Sam Jackson has already begun taking some of these smart shark drugs leading to nothing more than another character claiming they’re making him increasingly erratic. Except we barely see any erratic behavior from him. He’s actually one of the calmest and most level-headed when the threat begins, lapsing into douchey bad guy mode only when convenient.
Not Saffron Burrows outright states mid-movie “I’m not sure why you brought me here.” I was wondering the same thing. The reason given only pounds home that there was no reason for her to be there other than so that all the other characters could explain to her what was going on there before she began explaining to them why things were going wrong there and then arguing endlessly with Not Same Jackson about why what he’s doing is crazy and going to get everyone killed there. Her knowledge of sharks is almost never put to any practical lifesaving use. Honestly, a locksmith would have saved more lives in this scenario than any scientist.
About the only creative spin put on the recycled plot starts out promising only to prove to be yet another uninspired idea in this lifeless rehash. The main lab shark gives birth to voracious mutant baby sharks that are described as being “like super-piranhas, but worse”. It quickly becomes apparent these tiny sharks were just an excuse to save money by having people in cramped, half-flooded corridors chased by something that’s more cost effective to visualize – usually just bubbling water – and easier to shoot around than a full-size shark.
I actually began to feel bad for the writers and director because the whole thing should have simply been credited on the screen as WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY THE PRODUCERS’ NOTES. Imagination feels stifled at every turn; a more-talk-than-action recycling in the lamest, dullest, dull-witted, low rent manner possible. Competently made but in the service of absolutely nothing.
Remember LL Cool J’s ridiculously entertaining “Deepest, Bluest, My Hat is like a Shark’s Fin” rap song that put a campy exclamation point on the livelier original? How hard would it have been to hire a rapper to croon an equally silly ditty along those lines for the sequel? Instead we’re subjected to opening credits set to a melancholy lounge act number about the “Deep Blue Sea” more befitting a romantic mermaid movie from the 1960s. In retrospect, this song perfectly sets the stage for the no-fun film to follow.
If you loved Hollow Man 2 you’ll love Deep Blue Sea 2.
Nobody loved Hollow Man 2.
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