DEEP BLUE SEA 2 Review: Sharks Are Never Boring
Early on in his career, Darin Scott was one of the more exciting new voices working in cinema. He co-wrote Tales From the Hood with Rusty Cundieff, and helped produce Fear of a Black Hat and Menace II Society, along with the criminally underrated Love & A .45. Yet his directing career never really took off, as Scott was always seemingly relegated to helming DTV nonsense. Following the indie street drama Caught Up – which generated a decent take at the box office and gained a cult audience on home video – Scott directed nigh unwatchable horror dreck like Dark House and Something Wicked, before moving on to a literal Lifetime movie with the salaciously titled Megachurch Murder. Was he just another Hollywood fatality – a black artist whom the industry didn't know how to deal with? Possibly. But there's also the chance that he just made a shitload of bad decisions and worse movies.
Now we’ve got Deep Blue Sea 2, the sequel to Renny Harlin's utterly bonkers genetically engineered killer shark bonanza. Only instead of Thomas Jane, Samuel L. Jackson, Stellan Skarsgård and LL Cool J, Scott’s enlisted a bevy of Z-Grade thespians and is obviously working with a budget far below Harlin's $60 million. In truth, watching Deep Blue Sea 2 often feels like the equivalent of popping in an old Enzo Castellari joint, an obvious cash-in on a known brand produced merely to generate dollar bills via a fast and cheap release. While this may sound like an insult, it’s good to keep in mind that a bunch of those Italian rip offs were wild (not to mention wildly entertaining) rides, pure schlock embracing a “bigger, goofier, scummier" ethos that rendered the final product a shitload of fun. Scott seems to be wholly embracing this mentality, knowing he's crafting nothing more than a cheap thrill and having a ball doing so.
Like the original, Deep Blue Sea 2 revolves around a mad scientist – billionaire Carl Durant (Michael Beach) – who’s set up a high-tech research facility in the middle of the ocean, in order to genetically experiment on sharks. Again, like the original, this madman has enlisted a team of biologists – including bull shark expert Misty Calhoun (Danielle Savre), and newlyweds Daniel and Leslie Kim (Jeremy Boado and Kim Syster) – to study his latest creations. But as hot shot shark wrangler Trent Slater (Rob Mayes, looking like a lost Hemsworth Brother on coke) tells IT geek Aaron Ellroy (Nathan Lynn): "these are no normal sharks." They're super sharks; and anybody who's anybody (or at least anybody who's seen Deep Blue Sea) knows: super sharks are never boring.
The same day these marine geeks arrive on the South African base, the bull sharks burrow under its electric fence (yeah…) and straight up murder two poachers cutting fins off their normal brothers to make shark fin soup. Yet Trent's able to call the beasts back home because their shark brains have been altered using some sort of genius drug Durant's pharmaceutical company developed. Instead of wanting to use this medicine to cure Alzheimer's and help people, the scientist's developing a serum to make super soldiers, as he's terrified of an impending Judgement Day-esque computer revolution, when the machines will rise up and take down the human race (sure…). One thing he didn't count on? A bull shark revolt, complete with one of the animals becoming pregnant and birthing a swarm of mini-monsters that are crazy cute, but will still eat your fucking face for a snack. Now, these friendly neighborhood aquatic experts find themselves in a life or death struggle against this school of pissed off test subjects, eavesdropping on the humans’ plans to escape and working to ensure they never see land again.
That's right, Scott actually shows these bull sharks plotting against their human prey, and that's what ultimately makes Deep Blue Sea 2 a ton of goofy, low budget fun. Scott's also smart enough to not only replicate the main scenario from Harlin's first film, but also duplicate certain iconic scenes (yes, in case you're wondering, key characters unexpectedly become lunch after thinking they've bested the monsters). Is it any good? Hell no. But who cares? The director works with DP Thomas L. Callaway (Feast) to ensure that the picture’s aesthetic rises above your usual Syfy Shark Swarm garbage, while Sean Murray (Accident Man) milks the music budget for every penny it's worth to deliver a James Horner OST clone that elevates each scene it plays over. In short, by never really attempting to deliver anything more than a 93-minute lark – filled with plenty of blood, guts and somewhat impressive CGI sharks – Deep Blue Sea 2 becomes a perfectly acceptable Friday night DTV diversion.
Deep Blue Sea 2 is available today on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD.
This article is part of B.M.D. Guide To: SHARKS!!!