Tuesday, May 1, 2018

DEEP BLUE SEA 2 (2018) (Blu-ray Review)

DEEP BLUE SEA 2 (2018)

Label: Warner Home Entertainment
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 94 Minutes 
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.78:1) 
Director: Darin Scott
Cast: Danielle Savre, Rob Mayes , Michael Beach, Nathan Lynn, Kim Syster, Jeremy Jess Boado 

Synopsis: Deep Blue Sea 2, shark conservationist Dr. Misty Calhoun (Danielle Savre) is invited to consult on a new, top secret project run by pharmaceutical billionaire Carl Durant (Michael Beach). She believes the project, performed at a remote, sea-based facility, focuses on extracting shark antibodies to help work toward cures for human diseases. However, Dr. Calhoun is shocked to learn that the company is using unpredictable bull sharks as its test subjects, and Durant has bio-engineered a shiver of highly intelligent, super-aggressive bull sharks. When science meddles with the time-tested process of nature and nurture, the outcome can be deadly.

I have a real soft spot for Renny Harlin's original Deep Blue Sea (1999), my wife and I were in the ninth month of her difficult pregnancy with our first daughter when I happened upon some advance screening tickets for the original engineered smart-shark action flick, so we took advantage of the free passes and went on down the local cineplex with very low expectations. We were (well, I was anyway) rather surprised how fun the flick turned out to be, the CGI was fairly awful but the b-movie sharksploitation bones of it were fucking-a solid. I wouldn't say I re-watch it every year but it gets some replay every now and again when I feel the need for some cinematic shark-action, so when this straight-to-video sequel was announced I was legit excited at the prospect of a new entry.

Well, now that I've watched it I can say that I was a fool people, this is pretty much a straight-up lifeless remake of Harlin's original with none of the style, writing or chops. Again we have a drug-company billionaire, this time named Carl Durant (Michael Beach, Hell Ride), whom has built a lo-tech shark-pen on the open seas somewhere off the coast of South Africa, he's engineering super-intelligent sharks not to cure Alzheimer's, which was the basis of the original film, but wait for it... this guy has seen The Matrix and The Terminator way too many times, believing that A.I. will soon overtake humans as the most advanced intelligence on Earth, which is why he's engineering these intelligent sharks, to harvest their antibodies to create an intelligence-enhancing elixir to keep us smarter than the machines. No seriously, this is the basis of the film!

The film opens decently enough with a pair of illegal shark poachers catching sharks and slicing off their fins for sale on the black market, but they become fodder for five smart sharks who have escaped there electrified shark pen by digging under it - how smart! After dispatching the poachers the sharks are wrangled-up by shark-wrangler Trent (Rob Mayes, John Dies at the End) who takes them back to the shark-pen, just as the facility is welcoming guests, including shark specialist Dr. Misty Calhoun (Danielle Savre, Boogeyman 2), who has been brought in to consult on the project. Right away she is alarmed that Durant has chosen to utilize bull sharks, which are apparently notoriously unpredictable, but the billionaire attempts to prove her worries wrong by pushing his tech guy into the shark tank. Of course she dives in after him, allowing for the camera to pointlessly zero in on her tight fitting wet clothes when she emerges from the water and linger on her while she changes clothing, but far be it from me to have misgivings about pointless exploitation in an exploitation movie, there are far better reasons to loathe this movie. 

The shit begins to hits the fan when a poorly placed generator - located conveniently right next to some poorly stored fuel drums goes up in flames sending the whole facility into a downward spiral. Then the queen shark "Bella" gives birth to a handful of pint-sized baby shark who infiltrate the facility as it begins sinking, the main sharks never actually makes it into the facility, just the piranha-like offspring who give chase to the assorted human-chum through the flooded hallways, bathed in overpowering colored flood flights. 

It's a lot like the original film just wiped clean of any inspiration, fun and cleverness, pretty bland stuff that sort of infuriated me, this could have been so much dumb fun, but they only got it half right. There are a few fun moments, like the shark peering through one of the portals while Durant discusses their fate, like it's eavesdropping on them, and there's a bit of homage to Samuel L. Jackson's monologue-ing death scene from the first film, but it's all sub-SYFY Channel stuff, sapped of fun. 

Now the digital effects in this one aren't too shabby, I'll even say they're better than the effects from the original film, but '99 wasn't a great year for digital effects so that's not saying a whole lot. Intestines spilling from victim chewed in half and a limbless torso sinking into the depth are the highlights, but almost unforgivable is representation of the mini-shark babies, mostly represented by frothing water and air-bubbles accompanied by a screeching sound, none of which makes sense, it's lame how they turned a big dumb killer shark movie into silly piranha flick. Maybe if the writing and acting had been up to par this could have worked, but none of it does, I wasn't entertained, I didn't laugh, I only groaned.

Audio/Video: Deep Blue Sea 2 arrives on Blu-ray from Warner Home Entertainment framed in 1.78:1 widescreen, it starts off nicely with a strong robust image on the open seas but once we go below into the depth of the facility and the scenes are bathed in overwhelming swathes of green, blue and red light it loses fidelity, but the scenes not flooded with colored light fare decently in HD. The English DTS-HD MA 5.1 is mostly relegated to the front with some only occasional use of the rear surround, everything is well-balanced  and crisp, optional English subtitles are provided. 

Warner give the so inclined a few extra to watch, we get a making of featurette which mostly waxes nostalgic about the first (a much better film) film, a kill reel, a gag reel, and five-minutes of deleted scenes. The 2-disc DVD/Blu-ray combo comes housed in a standard Blu-ray keepcase with a one-sided sleeve of artwork, it also includes a slipcase featuring the same artwork and inside you will find a digital copy redemption code for the film. 

Special Features: 
- Returning to the Deep – The Making of Deep Blue Sea 2 (12 min) HD
- Deep Blue Sea 2: Death by Shark (6 min) HD 
- Deep Blue Silliness (3 min) HD
- Deleted Scenes (5 min) HD 

At just 94-minutes long Deep Blue Sea 2 still manages to overstay it's welcome, a shamelessly limp cash-in on a beloved b-movie that stinks like an overripe chum bucket, this is one to avoid. On the plus side while I was writing this I realized I didn't own the original Deep Blue Sea (1999) on Blu-ray and just bought it on Amazon, so I am looking forward to that.


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