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Deep Blue Sea Reviews

JAWS had one vindictive shark chewing up unsuspecting vacationers; this effects-heavy action picture has three super-smart vindictive sharks chewing up thick-as-a-plank scientists. That's what we call progress. At the floating research station Aquatica, Dr. Susan McAlester (Saffron Burroughs) is messing with things that man was not meant to know: She's looking for a cure for Alzheimer's Disease, which she thinks lies deep in the brains of sharks. About to lose her funding, McAlester sends most of the staff home for the weekend and, with a skeleton crew, prepares a flashy demonstration of her findings for corporate muckety-muck Russell Franklin (Samuel L. Jackson). Need we say that it goes dreadfully awry, resulting in the bloody demise of one of her team (staged, incidentally, as a striking homage to Ed Begley Jr.'s CAT PEOPLE death scene)? And it just goes from bad to worse. The Acquatica is damaged, trapping McAlester, Franklin, shark wrangler Carter Blake (Thomas Blake) and sundry chum-in-lab-coats deep in the facility's lower levels. The violent storm raging above has cut them off from help, and those sharks are doing some awfully smart and spiteful things... just what did McAlester do to their brains, anyway? The pitch was obviously JAWS meets ALIEN, but the whole is decidedly less than the sum of its parts. The situation is inherently suspenseful (add extra shudders if you have a particular fear of drowning), the pretty evenly-matched second-tier cast makes it a little harder than usual to call the order of devouring, and the sharks are worth whatever portion of the budget was spent on them. But the bottom line is that the characters are two-dimensional and the story is intensely formulaic: Run, splash, scream, repeat with variations. If that sounds like fun to you, get on line.