Thursday, 25 February 2010

No.13 : The Deep



If you mention ‘The Deep’ to most people the first thing they’ll mention will be Jacqueline Bisset’s wet t-shirt, that appears in the opening scene. Well maybe not the t-shirt itself, but you get the idea. This is a bit of a shame as the slight titillation is over after the first five minutes and if you expect any more you’ve got a dull two hours coming your way.

The film is set in Bermuda and opens with 8 dialogue free minutes and Bisset as Nick Nolte enjoy a bit of scuba diving. It’s all jolly stuff, and not a little Jacques Cousteau , but soon we get down to the nitty gritty of scrabbling about in the dirt for some stuff. Nolte finds an innocuous ampoule bottle which is brushed over too quickly to be insignificant and then a medallion to go with his hairy chest.

Back at the beach they make the mistake of showing the scuba rental guy their finds as pretty soon word has gotten to local ‘bottle collector’ Louis Gossett who shows up at their dinner table. They suspect he’s not revealing all and this is confirmed the next day when he kidnaps them and strips Jacqueline bare (no, sorry) while searching for the loot. They had unknowingly been relieved of the bottle the night before by Robert Shaw, a local salty dog treasure hunter who lives in a lighthouse, like you do.

They return to trade notes and find that the bottle is in fact morphine from a sunken world war two warship. Gossett is keen for the drugs and doesn’t mind a bit of voodoo or cat nailing to get it. Added to the mix is Adam Coffin a survivor of the warship who can be bought for a bottle of rum and a gang of henchmen on both sides who make the WWF look like the best actor nominees.

We soon find out that the drugs have landed on top of an old galleon full of treasure and the race is on to salvage the goodies and keep the drugs off the streets.

This is a strange mix of a film. In some scenes it’s like something from Disney’s world of nature and in the next a man is getting an outboard motor stuck in his face. The characters are all thinly drawn with the baddies particularly crummy, with a ‘boo hiss’ complimenting every appearance. There are some elements of subterfuge, with it left unclear for a while whose side Shaw is on, but you are never really in much doubt. Eli Wallach as Coffin does a decidedly poor turn as the embittered lackey, keen to switch sides but it was good to see he hadn’t shaved since ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly‘.

Shaw seemingly took the job for the money and I doubt a few months in Bermuda hurt either. That said he died the following year so maybe all that voodoo bobbins worked after all! He seemed to do his own diving in the film although it was strange that he does it in his shirt and trousers - must have forgotten his swimming costume.

Nolte and Bisset didn’t have much chemistry and their love scene are wisely kept to a minimum. With her plumy accent and his bad acting it was always going to be a tough match. Louis Gossett (no ‘Jnr,’ here) is still five years away from his ‘Officer and a Gentleman’ Oscar and it shows in his totally menace free offering. He tries to use moody silences as threats but I kept thinking he’d lost his script. He does however get some redemption points for possibly the best demise in cinema - ouch!

It is kind of hard to dislike this film with it’s sunny sets and bikini girls running around. The threat is mild but there are some good fights and the sea life is cracking. If you don’t need any deep thinking ‘The Deep’ may just rise to the occasion for you.

THE Tag Line : Deep Shit? No, it’s actually not that bad. 68%

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