A businessman sinks $200 million into a special project to help fight Alzheimer's disease. As part of this project, medical biologist Susan McAlester rather naughtily figures out a way to genetically enlarge shark brains, so that disease-battling enzymes can be harvested. However, the shark subjects become super smart and decide they don't much like being cooped up in pens and being stabbed with hypodermics, so they figure a way to break out and make for the open sea... Written by
John Smith <John.Smith7@net.ntl.com>
Tense and underrated film from an under-appreciated director.
The premise of many movies can usually be crudely approximated by saying that it is: *insert movie title here* meets *another movie title*. Sometimes you can put in a "via *yet another movie title*" at the end for additional detail. If that's the case, then this movie is simply "Jaws" meets "Aliens" via "Godzilla" or "Jurassic Park." It is a very simple premise. But this movie is all about the execution.
And the execution is very good. Nicely done elaborate sets, tense pacing, and some truly heart-pounding moments as scientists who have become trapped in an underwater, and slowly sinking deeper, facility try to make it out alive. The science is perhaps a little less fascinating that the science (or, rather, science-fiction) of "Jurassic Park," and the science aspect of the film is kept to a minimum as this film is all about suspense. And it knows it, and as a result, that is just what it serves.
Directed by the quite underrated Renny Harlin who has never had too much success after the smash sequel to "Die Hard" and the reasons are all beyond me. He directs great action scenes that make use of a variety of techniques and not just the quick frenetic cutting that other action directors seem to love. He really captures the motion of the action that is happening, and he manages to do it in a nice graceful fashion, which is ironic in capturing utter chaos. But that is really no matter since it works wonderfully. A scene where a helicopter crashes resulting in a tremendous explosion is a terrific example of this and it only gets better from there. Despite some corny story elements (this is an action movie, remember) and some glaringly obvious CGI (I don't think they dared use real sharks for some scenes!) it is still entertaining since the clichés are not there to the point of insult. In an action movie, clichés are inevitable, since the focus is on action and not deep plot. Many films fail at this by providing an assault on the senses for action, lame attempts at drama (that can be side-stepped in an action film with some cliché), and unrealistically badass characters. Sure, an action hero has got to be badass to a point, but some are just plain old silly since it totally conflicts with the drama they a film often tries to inject into its characters. Harlin has a knack for realizing this and offering great action/suspense and an acceptable level of cliché that is just part of the genre. --- 8/10
BsCDb classification: 13+ --- violence/gore
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