Thursday Night Movie Club
Deep Blue Sea
star rating graphicstar rating graphicstar rating graphic
Release Date: July 28, 1999

Director: Renny Harlin
Thomas Jane
Saffron Burrows
Samuel L. Jackson
Jacqueline McKenzie
Michael Rapaport
Stellan Skarsgård
LL Cool J
Aida Turturro
Carter Blake
Dr. Susan McAlester
Russell Franklin
Janice Higgins
Tom Scoggins
Jim Whitlock
Brenda Kerns
Deep Blue Sea poster.
Deep Blue Sea is a wonderfully scary and exciting movie of the "animals eating humans" genre. In this case, its mako sharks attacking scientists in a remote Pacific location.

Comparing this to the classic Jaws from director Steven Spielberg, Deep Blue Sea is not a classic, but it doesn't miss by much. Whereas Jaws told the tale of a great white shark with seeming "super-human abilities", the mako sharks here have been genetically tampered with.

Thomas Jane is attacked by a mako shark in Deep Blue Sea.Dr. Susan McAlester (Saffron Burrows) is the lead scientist performing corporate-sponsored experiments on mako sharks. Her idea is based on the fact that sharks show no signs of cancer. Their brains show no signs of aging. The experiment involves harvesting a specific protein found in the brains of sharks and using this protein to reactivate human brain tissue. McAlester hopes to cure Alzheimer's disease which afflicted her father.

Dr. McAlester is helped in her quest by several scientists, bioengineers and loner Carter Blake (Thomas Jane), the shark wrangler, who has had a previous run-in with the law so he is on his best behavior. Russell Franklin (Samuel L. Jackson), a Wall Street investor, has journeyed to Aquatica, the name of the remote facility, after a mishap with an escaped shark was reported on in the newspapers. McAlester has 48 hours to prove her hypothesis or the project will be shut down.

Saffron Burrows, Samuel L. Jackson, Thomas Jane and Michael Rapaport in Deep Blue Sea. But something is wrong at Aquatica. As Blake attempts to capture a Gen II mako shark for harvesting of the protein compound, the sharks begin to act strangely. They attempt to ambush Blake by hunting in packs, they recognize the significance of the gun he is carrying for protection, and they can swim backwards to avoid the weapon.

The exultation of a successful experiment is short-lived however. The sharks have plans of their own. Dr. Whitlock (Stellan Skarsgard) is horribly mangled by the test shark. When the sharks foil the rescue operation, Aquatica is destroyed and begins to slowly sink.

Thomas Jane in Deep Blue Sea.Without going into much more detail (what I have mentioned so far is only the first 30 minutes or so), the successful experiment is due to Drs. McAlester and Whitlock tampering with the genetic makeup of the sharks. They did this because the sharks brains were not large enough to harvest a suitable amount of the protein compound. They genetically engineered the sharks toincrease the brain size. As a side effect, the sharks got smarter.

An interesting question is raised by Russel Franklin. What does a mako shark, with a brain the size of a flat-head engine, think about? The answer may just save all of their lives.

The remainder of the movie is a series of narrow escapes as the humans try to kill the sharks and the sharks try to kill the humans. I found these scenes to be very well written, acted and directed. Suspense is maintained throughout as you are not quiet sure were the sharks will pop up next. It could be a real shark or merely a model.

Normally in movies of this sort, it becomes obvious who is going to live and who is going to die and the movie bogs down into typical mayhem. Quite humorously, LL Cool J's character Preacher comments on this very topic. Deep Blue Sea does not fall into that trap. There is nothing in this movie that can be considered typical and I doubt very much that anyone could honestly say they could predict what was coming.

Technology has improved since the days of Jaws, the mako sharks in Deep Blue Sea are free-swimming and extremely realistic. Gone are the days of the shark being strapped onto a track and only able to move in a linear direction.

Also raising the rating level of Deep Blue Sea are all of the other cast members. They play their parts very well as if they have all been working together on this project for a long time. They all have high hopes that their discoveries will change the world. They are a well-oiled machine, each cog knows their exact place, purpose and function. Until things go wrong! Backstabbing, frustration, anger and fear splinters the team. The fewer and fewer survivors must pull together to stop the sharks.

I saw this movie during its original release, I am just a little behind with my review. I have since seen this movie several times on cable TV and my opinion of the movie hasn't changed. This is one scary, exciting, and suspenseful horror movie. I thoroughly continue to enjoy it.