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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Hanna (2011)

I Just Missed Your Heart

Still getting my delayed review requests out of the way, this time with one from my sister, I think. And if it was my sister, this time it wasn’t a painful chick flick like Sex and the City and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. This time she requested a vaguely artsy action flick, so I was more than happy to oblige. The movie is Hanna, directed by Joe Wright, and starring Saoirse Ronan (whose name I have no idea how to pronounce), Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett, Olivia Williams, Jason Flemyng, Jessica Barden, Tom Hollander, and Michelle Dockery.

Hanna Heller (Saoirse Ronan) is a 16-year-old girl who lives with her father, Erik Heller (Eric Bana), in a solitary cabin in the middle of the wilderness of Finland. They live a perfectly normal life besides the small exception that he’s been grooming her to be an assassin since her youth. Erik’s plan is to send her after a CIA officer, Marissa Weigler (Cate Blanchett), to have Hanna kill her for killing Hanna’s momma. When Hanna is ready, she activates a transmitter that let’s Weigler know where they are, then Erik and Hanna split up, leaving Hanna with only her training, an address for them to meet up at later, and a made up backstory. The CIA take Hanna into custody and Weigler sends in a double (Michelle Dockery) to speak with Hanna. Hanna kills the double and then ass kicks her way out of the facility. As she makes her way towards her father, she stows away with, and later befriends, a wacky progressive family of mom Rachel (Olivia Williams), dad Sebastian (Jason Flemyng), daughter Sophie (Jessica Barden), and son … what’s-his-name. Hanna starts learning about the world her father hid from her while making her way back to meet him. Shortly after the movie ends, Hanna realizes that there are more kids like her, setting up the sequel, Hanna and her Sisters. …That may not be true…

I had sort of expected I’d like this movie when going into it. I like a good action movie, even if they’re dumb. And this one didn’t even seem dumb. But I completely forgot about the movie when it was in the theaters and had even seen it in RedBox a few times but didn’t feel like checking it out, so it was a good thing that I was inspired to watch it by my sister’s request. After watching it, I would say it’s a solid movie with some good action but completely forgettable. Almost immediately after watching the movie, I was having a hard time remembering what happened. But I did like the story. It’s like Hitman if 47 was a 16 year old, genetically engineered girl and not Olyphantastic. And watching her try to understand modern technology and society was pretty interesting as well. The fight scenes were one of the best parts. Most of the time it was Hanna whooping ass on guys that are much bigger and older than her, and once or twice it was Eric Bana whooping ass on people of roughly equal age and height. These fight scenes were pretty well choreographed and great fun to watch. But sadly, the movie made no real impression on me. I’m not entirely sure why it fell short or what it could’ve done to make me love it. I usually have a good concept of what I didn’t like about a movie, but I liked pretty much everything about this movie but I left it with a thoroughly “meh” feeling.

The performances in this movie were all very good as well. Though I resent her for my inability to pronounce her name, Saoirse Ronan was very good. She was cold and in control when it was killing time – she whooped ass like a young female Batman – but she was also a cute, innocent young girl when she was introduced to society. She was always interesting to watch and did a great job here. Eric Bana was pretty good too. Nothing phenomenal, but good. Cate Blanchett’s accent was an interesting choice, though. It seems that, if a movie isn’t going to get her an Oscar nomination, she’ll still be in the movie as long as it’ll let her bust out a crazy accent. In Indiana Jones 4, she got to try out her Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle. In Hanna, it’s some kind of fade-in-fade-out Southern accent. It’s there sometimes and gone a little later. I guess it makes sense since she probably is trained on dialects in the CIA, but it’s never explained what head trauma caused her to lose control of the various dialects she knows. Everyone else was fine and didn’t catch my attention. The guy from Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3 was in this too (Tom Hollander) as some crazy torturer guy that Blanchett hires, and he turned in a very creepy, weird performance. I guess it’s okay to have a bad character be off-putting, though.

So that’s that. I really have a hard time compiling words about this movie because it didn’t stick in my brain whatsoever. All I know is the story is fine, it looks pretty good, there’s some good fight scenes and some good performances, but it didn’t resonate with me. I don’t think anybody would have a problem watching this movie, but you should probably rent it first, otherwise this seems like the kind of movie you’d watch like 4 times a year because you can’t remember anything about it. Altogether I give this movie “I watched what?” out of “Did she turn out as you hoped?”

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