Deep Rising

Director: Stephen Sommers

USA - 1998

  Hoff! Hoff! 


Did you know we actually know more about deep space than we do about the deep oceans?  Admittedly, most of space is essentially empty, while most of the ocean is filled with water.  In space, you have to build your vessel to hold an internal pressure against an exterior vacuum, but once you reach vacuum, you can’t go any fu"Han Solo, eat your heart out; I got a BOAT!"rther.  On the other hand, in the ocean, water pressure just keeps adding on the deeper you go, and if I recall correctly, it increases exponentially.  Well, maybe not actually exponentially, but if you double your depth, the water pressure goes up by much more than double.  The vast majority of human life, throughout history, has never gone beyond a couple of dozen feet below the surface of the ocean.  You don’t have to reach orbit to encounter an alien and hostile environment, you just have to reach the beach.

I suppose this is why the sea has such mystery to us.  There’s so much of it on this planet, and we have such a history with it, and there’s so much we don’t know about it.  It’s the eternal siren call, the beckoning of the deep.  Maybe that’s why there’s so many movies about sea monsters.

In the old days, you could get away with a superimposed image of a sock puppet or something, a la Viking Women Vs. The Sea Monster.  Of course, when you introduce an aquatic monster franchise, such as Godzilla or Gamera, then you have to introduce new rubber suit effects.  But sea monster movies really came into their own in the modern era, with the development of CGI (which is, I feel compelled to explain, Computer Generated Imagery; it’s surprising how many people don’t know that).  I believe The Abyss started the most recent spate of deep-sea flicks.  I can still remember seeing it in the theater with Lisa and Tressie, the version that turned out to be edited down (dropping some character development and the neat apocalyptic ending which I would have liked better).  And, of course, Orson Scott Card’s novelization of the film was a well-considered, careful reproduction of, and supplement to, the film, as opposed to the usual cheapie paperbacks knocked off from the script, which, as we know, gets changed and shifted around right up to (and sometimes after) the shooting of the scene.  The Abyss remains a superior film, followed by an immense number of flimsy reproductions like Leviathan.  Which, in a roundabout way, brings us to our subject, Deep Rising.

I’ve always wanted to see Deep Rising; I’m a sucker for anything starring Treat Williams, and the TV spot made me laugh.  However, I’ve never taken the opportunity to do so until my most recent Bad Movie Weekend, where I rented a whole passel of questionable films from that fine local purveyor of cinematic pain (and good movies, too), Dark Star Video.  Support your local independent store, peo"That's no monster, that's Kathie Lee Gifford!"ple; I’m willing to rent from elsewhere in Chicago, but Dark Star is just so convenient, and they’ve got a nice selection.  Besides, how can you dislike a store that has categories like “Barbara Streisand and Other Natural Disasters.”  I may be mis-remembering, but I know they’ve got plenty of examples of that sort of thing.  Plus, the young guy who’s in there most of the time (he might be the owner, for all I know), he once gave me, a near-total stranger, a homemade CD for free.  There’s a lesson in that.

As it turns out, Deep Rising isn’t one of those underwater movies; everybody stays mostly on the surface, wades through partly-flooded corridors, or dives just temporarily.  It is a sea monster movie in the classic sense, where the beastie or beasties come up to get you.  So it’s a shirtsleeve environment for the movie (sort of).  It also means there’s less excess indigestible armor and things for the monsters to have to choke down, so we at least have some sympathy for the monster.  (Pleased to meet you, won’t you guess my phylum?)  There are, of course, flaws in the execution, but by and large, it’s a fun romp.

Shall we get to business?

Now, usually I don’t make too much comment about the opening trailers.  But I have to say, when you’re expecting a couple hours of entertaining badness, some good opening trailers can really set the mood.  One night, when my lovely wife George and our friend Jennie and I were doing one of our Triple Threat evenings (three essentially random movies, all back to back or until we pass out), we watched She’s All That and John Carpenter’s They Live, and then just before The Big Hit, we saw the trailers for She’s All That and John Carpenter’s Vampires.  It was like we’d finally gotten a payoff.  Then we had to watch The Big Hit.  But that’s a review for another time.  Point being, only rarely do the opening trailers pay off, so it’s nice when you can get a good chunk of movie review leads.

Allow me to illustrate.  There’s the studio-produced block of ads for the different movies they have on film: Halloween (H20), American Werewolf in Paris, Scream 2, Phantoms, and Children of the Corn 5.  There’s at least three good candidates for reviews right there.  I mean, the fifth movie in a franchise originally based on a Stephen King short story – and they’re still using that fact to hype the movie!  A little later on, there’s a trailer for The Rage, starring Lorenzo Llamas, Roy Scheider, and Gary Busey!  Gary Busey!  Is there a film that he’s been in that you can’t make fun of?  I can’t think of one.  Mind you, he’s almost always quality in those films, but part of his charm is the ability to munch scenery while seeming to stay within his character.  And with Llamas in a starring role, you know this one is direct to video, which ratchets up the cheese factor.  Mind you, he’s not altogether bad as an actor, himself, Lorenzo; he’s been in enough stuff, between TV series and B-movies, to develop a few chops of his own.  Still, he’s freaking Lorenzo Llamas!  With This job requires precision tools.Gary Busey!  Cheese heaven!

Thus, properly prepared, did I start into Deep Rising.  And my, what fun.

Little is as tiresome as a crap movie that takes itself seriously (such as Hardware, for one example).  Much more enjoyable, both on its own merits and for mocking purposes, is a crap movie that tries for something, but still has a sense of humor about itself.  This is not the same as a movie that desperately tries to make fun of itself, such as The Worst Movie I Have Ever Seen, but a B-style movie that knows it’s a B-style movie and works with it.  Tremors, The Mummy, and From Dusk Till Dawn are good examples, and they were all headliners, as was Deep Rising, technically.  Of course, this one has sea monsters.  The action, humor, and gore quotients are up at a reasonable place, so you can actually sit back and just let this one wash over you and enjoy it.  Then again, I don’t get paid for that kind of viewing (a matter I’ve meant to take up with Management…)

After some opening text, and an underwater sequence which neither hurts nor helps the story in the least, we come in on a long boat skipping at speed over the waves on a stormy night.  Inside, we see Treat Wiliams, good ol' Critical Bill from Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead, with 67 credits on the IMDb, in the high-tech cockpit, his swivel chair surrounded by monitors, flashing lights, and a big joystick.  Why does a boat need a joystick?  I mean, it’s not like a helicopter; you basically have a rudder for turns, with engine throttles for forward and backward motion.  What’s to joystick?  Regardless, we soon see that he’s in a dangerous profession, because he’s got a combat shotgun and a bandoleer of shells hanging off the back of his chair.  This is John Finnegan, captain of the… actually, I’m not sure what the name of the vessel is.  Names are hard to come by in this movie; there’s a guy first shown in these opening scenes whose name isn’t mentioned on-screen until the movie is more than half-way over.

Finnegan is captain of this mercenary vessel, with a crew consisting of Joey "Tooch" Pantucci (Kevin J. O'Connor, Illinois boy, who was excellent as Beni Gabor in The Mummy, also directed by Sommers, and is perhaps most recognizable as Philip Swann in Lord of Illusions) and Leila (the eminently hot Asian actress Una Damon, who I recognize as the Head Nurse in the opening of Gattaca).  Joey is chief grease monkey and technical wizard, while Leila seems to be all-around tough-as-nails sailor.  Finnegan runs the business by the motto “If the money’s there, we don’t care,” a not altogether safe way to play it, as it turns out.  He is shown to be a decent, if lazy, boss, and the other two are given brief character-establishing moments before the second group is established, those who hired Finnegan and crew as transport for a 20-hour run to a mystery rendezvous.  It’s some kind of mercenary group in the military sense, rather than in just a “for the money” sense, like Finnegan and crew.  The mercs are headed by Hanover (Wes Studi, a multi-talented full-blooded Cherokee actor who was a memorable bit part Dances with Wolves and also played Sagat in Street Fighter and The Sphinx in Mystery Men) and his lieutenant Mason (the guy who wasn’t mentioned by name until much, much later, played by Clifton Powell, a regular in law enforcement roles who started off in House Party, believe it or not; and they said knowing Kid 'n' Play woul"Hold on, Williams!  Nobody told us YOU were in this film!"dn't get you anywhere).

The rest of the jolly pirate band are Billy (Clint Curtis in his first role), Mamooli (Cliff Curtis, no relation, who did a lot in his native New Zealand, including a Hercules movie, before coming to the US and doing more mainstream films, like Bringing Out the Dead and Blow), Mulligan (Jason Flemyng, a fairly serious actor who did Rob Roy and Stealing Beauty, but also did Spice World and Snatch; for shame, Jason), T-Ray Jones (Trevor Goddard, the illustrious Kano from Mortal Kombat, and what the hell kind of name is T-Ray for a grown man, anyway?), and Vivo (Djimon Hounsou, male model born in Benin, West Africa, who turned to acting as Horus in Stargate and Juba in Gladiator, as well as others).  They’re all hard men, crude and mean and tough.  Which is not to say that all military men are such, nor are even all elite forces men this way.  But if you’re promoting a group as rough customers, and not friendly, this is a believable way to do it; training and bloody experience can easily make a man into a living caricature like that.  Believe me, friends, I've seen it happen.

Now we cut to a big-ass cruise ship, and to a monster zoom inward to the party atrium.  It’s not quite as impressive as the pull back from Picard’s retina in the opening of Star Trek: First Contact, but it will do for this movie.  Once we pass into the ship, we see traditional Japanese Taiko drummers, and hear the jazzy strains of “Lady Luck,” by the Brian Setzer Orchestra, setting up a cognitive dissonance as the drummers appear to be somehow eliciting the sounds of a brass section from their instruments.  But I suppose Sommers was going for that Vegas feel, even though the décor and entertainment was heading in a lesbian South Seas direction (I know how that sounds, but when you watch the movie, you’ll understand).  There were hula dancers, Chinese décor, and other items to elicit the multiple cultures in that region of the planet.  It was a pretty good effort to display the glitz and glamour of the incredibly wealthy.  However, in the midst of it all, the piercing ring of a spoon on the side of a champagne glass cuts across the ear-splitting chaos of the gallery.  No, it doesn’t make any sense to me, either, but that’s how the next character gets the crowd’s attention.  Doesn’t matter if it wouldn’t work; as they say over in the Dimension of Jabootu, IITS (It’s In The Script).

This is Simon Canton, builder and owner of this monster ship, the Argonautica.  He’s played by Anthony Heald, of Boston Public fame.  Canton makes a little speech to the guests, in which he mentions Captain Atherton (the very British Derrick O'Connor, who did Hawk the Slayer and Time Bandits early on, then graduated to Brazil in 1985; you may recognize him as Pieter "Adolph" Vorstedt in Lethal Weapon 2, or Thomas Aquinas in End of Days).  However, we don’t get introduced to the Captain until his wallet is lifted by Trillian St. James, the professional thief and glamour gal (Dutch import Famke Janssen, who was Dorothea in Lord of Illusions with Kevin J. O'Connor, and was Evelyn Stockard-Price in the execrable House on Haunted Hill remake, but is probably best known for being Dr. Jean Grey in fanboy favorite, X -Men).  Why don’t any of these international thieves have names like Frank or Doreen.  Well, there was Thomas Crown, but he’s an exception.  Oh, and James Bond.  But they’re really the same person, aren’t they?  But still, for women, it’s got to be something exotic.  Can’t have a kick-butt glamorous action heroine named Betty, can you?  Ah, the Hollywood patriarchy in action!

Anyway, Trillian picks the Captain’s pocket, makes fun of his ID picture (come on, he can’t help it, he’s an Englishman), takes his electronic passcard, and, because there’s no cash in the wallet, tosses is off the side.  How rude!  Once I got my wallet stolen, and yeah, I didn’t expect to get the money back, but I finally found the rest of the stuff, the ID and all that, because whoever did it tossed the wallet in a trash can.  Why they didn’t just take the money and put the wallet back, I don’t know.  It would have been longer before I noticed anything was missing, that way, but nobody ever said crooks were smart.  In any case, the Captain isn’t going to be able to find it if you just toss it overboard.  Then again, I guess consideration for others is not a good attitude for a career thief.  Just before she goes in, she hears the unearthly moans in the storm of the ghosts of her guilt.  Or the sea monsters.  Whichever.

Back on the Good Ship Lollypop, Joey has been sneaky, getting past the hold where the mercenaries are hanging out and into the hold where they’ve got their main cargo, large long silver cases.  Conveniently, one is not chained to the wall, or otherwise fastened down, and he can get it open to reveal a torpedo!  Unfortunately, he’s hardly sneaky enough with the armament, and he’s caught and roughed up.  It’s then that we get more personality painting, as Finnegan faces off against the mercs to pull Joey’s butt out of the fire.  Then back to the cruise ship, where we see Trillian trying to break into the vault.  Seems she’s got this modern skeleton key; wish they really existed, like that little electronic box in Ghost Dog.  Anyway, so she’s caught, we hear about her record, and she gets tossed in the brig.  Well, not the real brig, because it’sThis is probably the grossest scene in the film. not finished yet, but something close.  This will keep her safe when the inevitable sea monsters attack.

Back on the Flying Dutchman, Leila is stitching up Joey, and we find out they’re involved.  Eewww.  Number one, what do you see in that guy, and number two, good grief, people, please don’t do that in front of others!  You live with each other on a small boat, always getting in each other’s way, don’t you think your relationship would have matured to where you could get past the blasted baby talk?  Sorry.  Put I’m sure all of you know what I mean.  Down in the hold, the mercs get issued their “tools” for this job; nice big rotary rifles, small versions of that minigun that Governor Jesse Ventura uses in Predator.  The guns are pretty neat, but you’ve got to wonder, if they go through ammo so fast, how is a measly little clip like we see them loading in going to last them more than a second or two?  On the other hand, they do have built-in lights, and they’re water-tight, apparently.  Well, not the barrel, perhaps, or the ejection port for the brass.  Don’t you think they’d use caseless ammunition, if they were so advanced?  No evidence to leave behind, not as much opportunity for jamming, and you can fit slightly more ammo in a clip.  Too bad they’re not thinking that far ahead.  Anyway, other than that, apparently they can work in water, which is convenient.  On the cruise ship, a mystery person (face is never shown) takes out the ship’s control CD-ROMs, replaces them with other disks that cause all the high-tech equipment to melt down.  Just as that’s happening on the bridge, the sonar operator (apparently working with lower-tech equipment) reads something coming up from below, something large and fast.  Then the ship lurches, people go spilling, and one of the lifeboats (more like a speedboat, but who am I to quibble with the very rich?) falls into the water.  The passengers panic.  Even though they’re on a freaking ship in the middle of the South China Sea, they still stampede through the halls, trampling each other and trying to get to… where?  Another part of the ship?  There’s no place to run, and any number of defensible places, but nothing demonstrates to the audience the panic of the passengers like a good stampede.  Yee-haw™!

I should mention here that the first of the monster killings happens about now, and while it takes place essentially off-screen, there is the telltale spray of blood.  Remember this, because it is evidence that the people who made the movie weren’t thinking in terms of consistency.

Back on the Santa Maria, instruments cut out just before they slam into the dropped lifeboat.  It rips a few big holes in the boat, and manages to mangle their engines.  This is where we find out the engines are named “Hercules” and “Jezebel.”  Now we know names for parts of the boat, but not the boat as a whole.  They’re leaking fuel, and don’t have the facilities to repair the engines.  That’s when Leila notices the drifting cruise ship with these nifty power binoculars.  Luke Skywalker, you just wish you had these things on Tattoine!  So they propose going to the ship to ask for help, and that’s when the mercs spring out and hold them at gunpoint.  Apparently, that’s their target, and now they have to make sure Finnegan doesn’t back out.  Well, where the hell would he back out to?  He’d just said the cruise ship is pretty much their only hope of getting out of there under their own power.  Yeah, that’s exactly when you want to alienate your chauffeur by holding a gun to his head.  Master strategists, these jaspers.

In any case, there’s now an operation to get in.  They moor against the side of the ship, use remote control to open up this high-placed auxiliary door, and then use grapple guns and, apparently, motorized waist winches to walk up the hull to the door, taking Finnegan and Joey along while Leila works on patching this humongous hole in the smaller boat’s hull.  It’s kind of a neat sequence, and in fact, as they’re heading into the ship (the door leads to a kind of hangar for jet-skis and boards, that sort of thing), Joey turns to Finnegan and says, “That was kind of fun.”  Pause as Finnegan gives him a look.  “Well, it was.”

By this point in my movie-watching career, very little in the way of overall plot is truly going to surprise me.  Once in a while, I will get taken in by a bait-and-switch, but in general, it’s only the details that sneak up on me.  So I notice little things, like characters I’ve not seen before, a new variation on an otherwise standard final scene, and how they specifically create a given effect.  Joey is fresher to me than the other characters.  He’s not completely a screwball comic relief character at heart.  That’s part of his purpose, naturally, but he’s got more elements than that.  O'Connor handles it well, just like he did in The Mummy; almost none of the character’s actions or lines sound unrealistic, improbable.  That’s more than can be said for some of the others.  What can I say, he’s not completely novel, but he’s different enough from the norm for these kind of movies that I hereby dub him my Favorite Character.  As opposeDue to ocean locations, catering was limited during shooting.d to Best Looking Acting Person, or Most Hardbutt Performance, or any of that.  My own personal Oscars.

The merc team is far from stealthy.  Good thing this isn’t really a stealth mission; “Intimidation factor must be high,” and all that.  When they burst into the main chamber, they find… desolation.  Destruction.  Everything’s broken, all topsy-turvy, and there’s nobody around.  A fair amount of blood, but no bodies.  “Post-evac, man,” Mason whispers at one point.  “Total spooky-town.”  One of the fireworks in the party space chooses that moment to go off.  Why?  What sparked it?  And why did they have spark-shooting fireworks inside of a crowded party area, anyway?  Can you say fire hazard?  In any case, the mercs over-react, and we see the guns in action.  They’re so enamored of them, a couple of them blow off a few more seconds of ammo, which is, like 200 rounds or something.  This strikes me as a bad idea.  One of the things that makes weapons in the field so annoying is that you can run out of ammo really fast.  Why do you think the Iron Senator carried a huge backpack with nothing but belts for his rotary minigun?  So you’re limited to the ammo you carry with you, you have no idea of what you’re going to have to deal with, and you have no reasonable re-supply.  So, naturally, being a professional soldier, and viscerally turned-on by the performance of your spiffy new gun, you waste a whole bunch of your ammo intentionally, after accidentally wasting a lot in the first place.  Brilliant.  Watch out, Rommel, you magnificent bastard, these guys read your book!

Movies like this make me think Waldo (of Where’s Waldo? fame) would make a better field commander than most of the current military.  At least what we see on film.

Back on the boat, Leila is using a welding torch, but she’s not really doing much of anything.  I mean, you’ve got a big hole in the boat, you want to patch it, I’d assume that would mean you need to take bi big slab of metal or something, hold it over the hole, and weld it on there, using the torch to melt the metal together, as opposed to using the torch to cut something apart.  Instead, she just plays the flame over the edge of an odd flange.  It doesn’t look like ruptured metal, it looks like just part of the superstructure of the set, is what it looks like.  Hey, guys!  You left a girder join over here!  Let me play this torch over it to show you what I mean.  Geez, I’m the Second Original White Collar Worker, and even I know better than that.  I’m not trying to pull a Full Monty/Flashdance comparison, but this is easy enough for the kids to play.  Since there are no cats in the South China Sea, they toss in a Spring Loaded Corpse, and we’re off and rolling into the “whittling down the good guys” portion of our feature.

On the cruise ship (a.k.a. U.S.S. Killing Floor), everybody splits up do accomplish their various jobs.  As we all know, bad idea, but hey, they’re military.  They’re supposed to do crap like that, Aliens Colonial Marines notwithstanding.  Finnegan and Joey are down in the machine shop with a couple of the merc goons, trying to fabricate some new engine parts to get the Bounty moving again.  Wading around in thigh-deep cold ocean water in a half-lit industrial-style environment… no, this isn’t foreboding at all.  Why do you ask?

So, now, the tough guys start going down screaming, and the wimpy people start getting the weapons (dropped on the workbench, for some unexplainable reason; I actually have a theory as to why the gun gets there, but that leaves me with no explanation for the spray of blood).  Then it all goes to hell in a hand basket.   The mercs and our friendly crew meet up with Trillian, and the named crew-members of the Killing Floor, and they all try to get out of there.  There’s some scenes reminiscent of Alien: Resurrection, and some wh"I blame you for this movie."ich could be out of any “bug hunt” movie.  They don’t make half the use of the ruined splendor of the cruise ship that they could, but they do enough.

It takes a little bit, but finally, the monsters show themselves.  Actually, it might be just one monster.  It’s kind of hard to tell, as these snake/worm/tentacle thingys squirm all over the place.  You never do see any tails, mind you, but you also see each individual thing seem to react individually.  Either the nervous system is way decentralized (possible), or the beastie is way coordinated (also possible; look at the octopus).  I understand that it’s supposed to be a relatively common creature, small at 4,000 feet depth, but large enough at 20,000 feet to eat sharks.  Which species of sharks, and how old?  There’s a wide variation in size between species, you know, so such considerations are important.  Further, the dietary habits of the creature are somewhat suspect, from our on-screen guide.  “It doesn’t eat you,” he intones, “it drinks you.”  Apparently, after using its tentacles to catch its prey, it ingests the fluids.  I suppose this is much like a spider, draining cocooned prey until only dry husks are left.  But that’s not how it’s described, nor how it plays out.  Apparently, it liquefies your flesh and excretes the inedible bones.  Let’s see: ingestion, digestion of useful nutrients, absorption of nutrients, excretion of non-nutrients.  Wow, I guess it really does eat you, after all.  It just doesn’t chew.

In any case, this seems to be one of the rare creatures that varies its attack strategy across a wide range, with no discernible reason to do so.  You don’t find it too often in nature; if a given method of obtaining food is working, a critter will tend to continue using that method.  About the only creature I can think of offhand that varies its strategies is the wily human, and even then, it’s not because the strategies don’t work, it’s because of boredom, or a division of work (leading to trapping rather than hunting), or some other factor not really related to whether or not the given strategy is functional.  This bad boy not only grabs and breaks people (necessitating that wasteful spray of blood; sad that not only do they spill their food, but once we actually see them, that spray never happens again), it also swallows them whole, and when it’s dramatic, it takes more time than necessary to swallow up someone when it’s dramatically appropriate (though I suppose you could say he was doing something to slow down his own ingestion), but the real cake-taker is when it gets into a fist-fight with Finnegan, even though it doesn’t have any fists.  Yeah, yeah, whine about the needs of the story, but damn it, if you’re going to have a monster, make it a consistent monster.  That’s all I ask; if you have your monster act one way, don’t go around and have it act another way without a good reason.  I have similar complaints about one scene in Tremors, but mind you, they had a better explanation for a change in tactics, and besides, the non-monster par"I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. Sommers."ts of that film hung together a lot better than Deep Rising, favorite character notwithstanding.

Sommers is the man behind the two recent Mummy movies, as well as the 1993 The Adventures of Huck Finn, with Elijah Wood as Huck, and the 1994 The Jungle Book, with Jason Scott Lee as Mowgli, and a villain role by Cary Elwes.  He's definitely capable, and he does really well when he shoots the screenplays he writes.  I'm not sure I'd call him brilliant, certainly not for this particular movie, but he's pretty good.

It’s better than a number of monster movies (I’m looking at you, Relic), with a fast, breezy style that doesn’t let you take it too seriously.  This is a popcorn flick that knows it’s a popcorn flick, and therefore provides just enough framework to support itself, but no more.  This leaves big holes in the structure, a few of which I’ve pointed out, but the total effect remains enjoyable.  It’s an unintentional B-movie, meaning it’s generally got A-movie budget and design, but it’s cheesy enough in plot and premise to be highly enjoyable viewing for cheap cinema aficionados such as we.  It’s high amusement factor gives it quality (resulting in less need for Hoff), but it’s ridiculously obvious plot holes and confusing monster (how the heck are those things all connected, anyway?) reverse that quite handily.  Therefore, a moderate rating is the result.


These are the times of which to cherish...


- Treat Williams.  He’s actually a much better actor than he gets credit for, as long as you’re looking for slightly smug, usually glib, and deadpan with the funny lines.  Hey, it’s more range than Juliette Lewis has.

- Love that Joey!  If I were ever transplanted into an action movie, I’d most likely be him.  Of course, I don’t have any technical skills to make me useful to the team, so I’d most likely get shot early on.  At the very least, I’d get left on the boat to serve as an hors d’oeuvre.

- Joey and Leila’s eternal love, which is only good if you don’t mind PDA (if that cramped little boat could be considered “public” for those displays of affection).  I wish Leila had received more screen time, and not just because she’s wicked hot.  She actually seemed like she’d be a cool character, if she’d been given much of a chance to demonstrate it.

- The Girl from Ipponema.  I always like a good “elevator music in tense situations” joke, and this movie not only gives us one of those, it brings it back later on, which I like a lot.  The gag, not the song.

- Though I’m not usually a big fan of gross moments in films, I did enjoy seeing the first half-digested victim we ever got to see, as he flexed his fingers and stared through the back of his hand.  That’s right, all the tendons and muscles in the middle of his hand were dissolved away, but he nonetheless was able to move his fingers.  Now, you try and move your fingers without making anything else move on the back or palm of your hand.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.  There.  See why I find that funny?  It’s like when somebody gets shot through the head, and then has an extended death scene soliloquy (Regarding Henry and certain points of Cecil B. Demented notwithstanding).



-- Copyright © 2000 by E. Mark Mitchell



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