Deep Rising (1998)

[5.5]

Modern-day pirates try to rob a cruise ship at sea only to discover that tentacles creatures from the ocean depths have already claimed the ship’s crew. Deep Rising is a shake-and-bake assembly of Alien and The Poseidon Adventure that pales in comparison to either of those greater movies, but if you’re hard up for some genre thrills, it might do the trick for you.

Treat Williams stars as a reluctant mercenary who takes the pirates to their destination. I think Williams is every bit capable of carrying a film, but Deep Rising is really too much of an ensemble effort for him to shine. The same is true for Famke Janssen, playing a pick-pocket survivor of the tentacled attack who joins Williams and the pirates as they try to escape the blood-stained cruise liner before they’re added to the monsters’ meal menu. An actor who does successfully rise above the fray is Kevin J. O’Connor. O’Connor plays Williams’ sidekick and creates an indelible personality with relatively little screen time. Director Stephen Sommers wisely brought him back for the following year’s The Mummy, where he makes an even bigger impression.

The sets are big and impressive and a Jerry Goldsmith score is always a great weapon to have in your arsenal, but time has not been kind to Deep Rising‘s visual effects. The early CGI is a sore spot, but the practical effects — mostly confined to ghastly-looking skeletal remains — are pretty nifty.

With Anthony Heald, Wes Studi, and Djimon Hounsou.

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