Deep Rising (1998)

Oh Man … What Stinks?

I have no idea what inspired me to rent today’s movie.  I kind of wanted to watch a dumb action movie, so I guess I did that.  It’s one of those times when something is in your Netflix queue and you’re not paying attention so you actually have it get sent to you and then you have to watch it.  What made me put it in my queue in the first place is a better question, but I don’t have an answer to that either.  Either way, let’s make fun of a dumb action movie!  This one is Deep Rising, written and directed by Stephen Sommers, and starring Treat Williams, Wes Studi, Anthony Heald, Famke Janssen, Kevin J. O’Connor, Derrick O’Connor, Jason Flemyng, Djimon Hounsou, Cliff Curtis, Clifton Powell, Trevor Goddard, and Una Damon.

There’s a little boat hauling ass through the middle of the ocean somewhere, crewed by John Finnegan (Treat Williams), engineer Joey “Tooch” Pantucci (Kevin J. O’Connor), and the Tooch’s girlfriend, Leila (Una Damon).  Finnegan has a reputation for putting his boat out to people without asking questions, just as long as the money is there.  This time, the money comes from a man named Hanover (Wes Studi).  He has brought a bunch of heavy weaponry and a crew of mercenaries, comprised of T-Ray (Trevor Goddard), Mamooli (Cliff Curtis), Vivo (Djimon Hounsou), Mason (Clifton Powell), and Mulligan (Jason Flemyng).  Meanwhile, there’s a cruise ship owned by Simon Canton (Anthony Heald), and captained by Captain Atherton (Derrick O’Connor), who are dealing with a mischievous, and hot, thief named Trillian (Famke Janssen).  While they do that, something hits the ship and it goes dark.  Back on Finnegan’s ship, they run into a lifeboat dropped in the impact from the cruise ship, damaging their ship and leaving it nearly useless.  They get onto the cruise ship and find everyone missing.  Apparently, some kind of tentacled monster has attacked the cruise ship, leaving few survivors, and the mercenaries and Finnegan’s crew have to find the parts they need to fix their ship, while trying to survive the creature.

This isn’t a great movie.  I’m pretty sure it’s well aware of that.  It should, therefore, endeavor to be fun.  It gets close to being fun, but is kind of bogged down by being too predictable and cliche.  It’s a fairly typical monster movie, though it seems they didn’t have the money to show the monster very often.  I guess they could have been going for the suspense, but it didn’t really work.  Instead it just seemed like they were afraid to show it at first because it might be ridiculous.  And it was.  For the first 90% of the movie, the monster was just a series of autonomous tentacles that knew where the cast was without actually having eyes or ears.  They were basically just arms on an octopus that wasn’t seen until the end, so how would they know where the people were?  The writing of the movie was pretty typical and cliche.  A few lines required punctuation that came in the form of a shotgun being cocked, for instance.  At one point, the engineer is running down a hallway with the leader of the mercenaries, running from a tentacle that should have no idea where they are, and they both keep mentioning over and over that the only thing that will stop the tentacle from chasing them is if they feed it something.  They say this like five times until the engineer says “What could we feed it?  What could we feed it?!” and the mercenary leader shoots him in the leg, leaving him for dead.  You didn’t see that coming?  Other parts were just badly written.  The one that comes to me right now is when the mercenary puts a gun to Famke’s chest and says “Tell me what I want to know …” pulls back the hammer on his pistol “…or I’ll pull the trigger.”  What a lame punchline!

The cast did what they had to do, but they didn’t have much of a script to work with.  Treat Williams was reminiscent of Nathan Fillion from Serenity, being a wisecracking captain that never seems to take the situation that seriously, but Nathan Fillion had the benefit of good writing.  Una Damon was the hot Asian lady in the movie.  That’s about all that could be said about her character.  I got really angry that she was the first person of the principle cast to get killed, stealing my primary eye candy away.  I’ve never found Famke Janssen too attractive, but she was at her hottest in this movie, so she took over the eye candy role when the Asian died.  She was a entertaining character, and usually portrayed as a tough chick, but that just lead to me getting pissed off at the end when the captain was chasing her with a flare gun.  He fired twice and missed, but she kept running as he started to reload.  She could have gotten to him and whooped that ass before he could reload if the writers didn’t hate women.  I’m pretty sure she punched a guy or two when outnumbered in the movie, and he never gave us any reason to believe he could fight, but women lack the arm strength to best a man of any kind, right writers?  Kevin J. O’Connor was the other role that made an impact with me, but only because he was really annoying.  That was what he was going for, and it worked.  He could not stop words from spilling out of his mouth.  He was playing much the same role as he did in The Mummy, but he never turned evil and the writing was nowhere near as strong.  It was a nice bit of wishful thinking that the writers made him be dating the really hot Asian chick, but really bad writing that this dude survives the ENTIRE MOVIE and she dies first.  No one wants him around!  None of the mercenaries really made an impact beyond the fact that they made me realize that the writers believed that every person can have only one personality trait.  Finnegan is cocky, the Tooch talks too much, T-Ray is an asshole, Vivo is a scary black man, and Mamooli is horny all the time.  If the movie stuck in my head more, I could probably do it for every character.

I’ve said before that I do not mind a movie being dumb as long as it’s fun, but this movie falls short on the fun.  It’s just predictable while making no sense, having poorly written dialogue, and having really basic characters.  The comic relief was mainly supplied by a guy who was always around and would not shut up, but was rarely saying anything funny.  Deep Rising is not a horrible movie, but it’s not good either.  You can skip this one.  Deep Rising gets “There goes one year off my life” out of “Shut your fucking whining weasel …”

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Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)

It’s Just Been Reviewed

I made a post to Facebook today that got a certain phrase stuck in my head.  I had heard this phrase before on Kevin Smith’s Smodcast and on Family Guy.  I knew it was from a movie, and I knew which one, and I knew I owned it, but I’d never seen it.  I also wish I had the foresight to know that inspiration would hit me and I would want to watch this today so that I could review that one first.  I hate breaking continuity.  But I didn’t, so I’m just going to jump straight into the review of Lethal Weapon 2, written by Jeffrey Boam, directed by Richard Donner, and starring Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joss Ackland, Patsy Kensit, Joe Pesci, Derrick O’Connor, Traci Wolfe, Darlene Love, and Stephen Kahan.

Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) are back.  After a car chase, masked men break into Murtaugh’s house and deliver a warning to him and his wife (Darlene Love).  This causes their captain (Stephen Kahan) to take them off of the case they’re currently on and reassign them to protecting a federal witness and candidate for most annoying person ever, Leo Getz (Joe Pesci).  Someone tries to kill Leo (and who wouldn’t?).  Riggs and Murtaugh take Leo to find the base of operations for the people Leo is going to testify against and find that the attempted assassin is there.  They get the police down there and they shut the place down, until DeNomolos … I mean Arjen Rudd (Joss Ackland) comes downstairs and tells the police that he and his men are protected by diplomatic immunity, and it has not yet been revoked.  Riggs and Murtaugh leave empty handed, but at least Riggs meets Rudd’s cute secretary with such a bright future ahead of her, Rika Van Den Haas (Patsy Kensit).  Riggs and Murtaugh know that Rudd is up to something, so they do what investigating they can get away with while still still protecting Getz, and Murtaugh begins an extensive study into what it takes to revoke diplomatic immunity protection.

This is a pretty fun movie, but I feel like it doesn’t hold up that well in some ways.  I probably would’ve thought it was awesome if I had seen it 20 years ago, but today it takes a step down to “pretty fun”.  It’s nice that it jumps right into the action, opening with a big car chase.  It keeps up a pretty good amount of over-the-top action throughout as well.  One such thing was a Rube Goldberg-esque death midway through that involved hitting a car on the end of a tow truck driven by the enemy, it flying up over the car and colliding head on with an oncoming car, causing the surfboard on the front of that car to fly off and kill the driver of the tow truck.  The story itself was somewhat hit and miss, though.  It was interesting that they weren’t able to take on the main bad guy because he was protected by diplomatic immunity, but I feel like there are limits to how far you can push the whole diplomatic immunity thing, and DeNomolos passes those limits pretty early on and keeps going.  The love story for Riggs seemed a little awkwardly placed and unnecessary.  It gave Riggs a little motivation towards the end of the movie, but he also finds out that one of the bad guys was responsible for the death of his wife before the events of Lethal Weapon 1, and that would probably suffice for motivation to take down the bad guys.  Also, the fact that they’re really bad guys and Riggs and Murtaugh are good guys would probably suffice.  A lot of the lines are pretty cheesy action phrases, but they’re still pretty good.  The aforementioned (or at least afore-alluded-to) “Diplomatic Immunity”, “It’s just been revoked”, bang was pretty cheesy, but I like that line.  I do like it better when Peter Griffin uses it when it doesn’t make sense, but it’s still good here.  After Murtaugh kills two guys with a nail gun, topping it off with “nailed ’em both” was pretty classy as well.  The nail gun was part of a funny thing that occurred to me in the movie too.  They make a pretty big deal about a construction worker using a nail gun in Murtaugh’s house in the beginning, and later a big deal about the fact that Riggs can dislocate his shoulder to escape from straightjackets, and – SURPRISE!! – these two things come up again in the movie.  I don’t know why they feel the need to foreshadow these things.  We’ll believe they can do these things equally as much when they come up later, but they may also ruin the surprise.  I know how Murtaugh and Riggs are going to get out of these situations because my memory extends for roughly 2 hours, so I still remember when he did it earlier.

The cast performs exactly as they should in this movie: a little bit over the top, but still pretty good.  Mel Gibson didn’t seem nearly as crazy for most of this movie, probably having gotten soft from being happy spending so much time with Murtaugh’s family.  He does a couple of fairly wacky things, and generally has a nice quip to throw in a dangerous situation, but he doesn’t go nuts until the very end when he just finds out that they murdered his wife.  He comes out of the water and kills two dudes with extreme prejudice and really seemed like he’d lost it.  I don’t know why Mel Gibson is so good at acting insane, but he is.  I never found myself particularly interested in Danny Glover’s character in these movies, but they still give the man the best line in the movie.  He kind of annoys me because he spends most of his time talking about how he’s old and doesn’t think they should do the cool action things that Riggs wants to do.  He’s such a stick in the mud.  But speaking of annoying: Leo Getz!  You will quickly regret finding out how annoying Leo Getz.  Getz it?  Yeah, wasn’t funny in the movie either.  But he was a pretty pointless character that would not stop talking about stupid, uninteresting things.  His mouth was running every time he was on screen.  Joss Ackland was good.  He always comes off pretty intimidating, so I like him in a good villain role.  Patsy Kensit did a decent job in the movie, but I only really connected with her character once she got her tits out.  I felt like her character had no reason to be there, and when she’s gone, I didn’t really care.  They didn’t spend a lot of time building the relationship between her and Riggs (and the audience, technically).  She just met him, had dinner with him, then fucked him.  I wasn’t connected enough to care when she was gone.

Lethal Weapon 2 is a still a pretty fun movie that is just starting to show it’s age.  And not just because of Mel Gibson’s hair in it.  There’s a good deal of action, some of it pretty interesting and cool.  The story is decent, but not fantastic, but they sure did write some great one-liners.  I wish Mel Gibson had been more crazy throughout, as he was in the first movie, but at least he wasn’t as annoying as Joe Pesci’s character.  Also, there’s some decent titties.  I already owned this movie (because it came in a four pack with the other three movies), and I might have purchased the movie itself to keep up the collection, but I only would’ve purchased it because the first movie was so good.  It’s available for Netflix streaming, so I could recommend you check it out at least once.  Lethal Weapon 2 gets “In one ear, out the rubber” out of “They’ve been de-kaffir-nated”

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