Yes that’s right folks, there’s a Deep Blue Sea 3! The legacy of Renny Harlin’s 1999 super-powered shark attack blockbuster lives on in the form of good old direct to video sequels. Number two may have passed a lot of you by (I also haven’t seen it, but it isn’t hard to pick up the threads), but number three has come in hot on its dorsal fin for more shark-scapades, offering ridiculous B-movie thrills. You know what you’re getting, and while it is never particularly inspired, it’s not without its chummy charms.
The action takes place on a man-made island that acts as a Great White Shark sanctuary in the middle of the ocean. This is where the offspring of the highly intelligent shark from the previous installment have headed to, and they’ve made it an all you can eat buffet. Hot on their tail is a team of ruthless mercenaries keen to take them out. The scientists at the sanctuary soon find themselves having to find a way to survive not just the sharks, but the men hired to kill them as well.
Deep Blue Sea 3 isn’t going to reinvent the wheel when it comes to shark attack movies. It ticks off a lot of cliches as it swims around in circles of the characters on the menu. The location itself feels like a watered-down version of the facility in the first movie, and none of the characters particularly stand out as more than archetypes. But that’s not really why anyone would come for a swim in these waters; you come for the shark action. But, I’m afraid to report, there is only the odd moment where the film delivers in provoking much of a thrill.
As filmmakers have been taught since the age of Hitchcock, and more than put into practice in Jaws; these kinds of suspense movies are always at their best when more is left to the imagination. For some sequences, Deep Blue Sea 3 does follow those lessons, with some cheeky editing and points of perspective playfully toying with the audience in a manner that can create some entertaining beats of genuine tension. But most of it is undercut every time a dodgy CGI dorsal fin cuts across the water. While there are also some fun deaths scattered across the proceedings (with one in keeping with the spirit of Samuel L Jackson’s school of death scenes), this film is definitely more content resorting more to pretty unremarkable punch ups then it is anything all that more exciting.
It is hard to be that bothered by Deep Blue Sea 3’s averageness. It doesn’t feel like something that has much ambition to be any more than it is, so it leads to an hour and a half that’s entertaining enough and never demanding. There’s something disarming about the fairly cavalier attitude it has to proceedings, and there’s no doubt it knows exactly what it is. The cast is entertaining, for both the right and wrong reasons, and the action is punctuated every now and again by moments that do make you chuckle, with some ridiculous dialogue sprinkled in for good measure. For what it’s worth, Deep Blue Sea 3 does exactly what you’d expect it to, and does have enough of a cheeky sense of self-awareness to keep the whole thing afloat, even if its action is largely uninspired.
Dir: John Pogue
Scr: Dirk Blackman
Cast: Tania Raymonde, Nathaniel Buzolic, Emerson Brooks, Bren Foster, Alex Bhat, Reina Aoi, Siya Mayola, Ayumile Qongqo
Prd: Tom Keniston, Hunt Lowry, Patty Reed
DOP: Michael Swan
Music: Mark Kilian
Run time: 99 minutes
Deep Blue Sea 3 is out on DVD and Blu-Ray now.