Having grown up watching and enjoying Deep Blue Sea, I still went into this threequel with extremely low expectations. Some would say that’s to be expected with the way that shark movies have been for years, with just a few films being able to distinguish themselves. So the big question is, was Deep Blue Sea 3 able to transcend the mold? Not really. But is it what you expect and a little bit more? Perhaps.
Following up on the events of its predecessors, Deep Blue Sea 3 focuses on a group studying sharks on a man-made island. They record, upload, and document their experiences for the world to see while discussing the effects of climate change on the environment each summer. Of course, the internet cuts off when they desperately need help or to let the world in on the madness as a group of men show up hunting three sharks that have been killing people, but more importantly, are private property. Dr. Collins (Tania Raymonde) and her team just want to preserve the environment; this new group is tidying up loose ends.
A few of the characters stand out, including grad student Miya (Reina Aoi) and the brave Eugene (Emerson Brooks), but there’s only so much they can do. When Dr. Collins’ ex shows up leading the shark hunters, I kept waiting for more development that simply didn’t come. That Dr. Collins cares about sharks is admirable, given how shark movies have reduced them to a human’s worst nightmare, but the attempts at philosophy and debate in this film feel somewhat phoned in.
What this movie did have was potential as the script is ridiculous in that fun B-movie way at times. Characters make one reveal after another. They can’t call for help, and the island begins to sink just like the original. It all seems like it’s headed in the right direction, but there appears to be very little innovation. Having a classic action hero like Thomas Jane holding onto sharks is one thing. But the other characters in the original only entered the water by necessity and with great reluctance, knowing there are sharks in the water. Not so here as characters talk even more about the significance of enlarging sharks brains and how they think, and still jump in. As a result, the movie, like one of the sharks at one point, flies off the handle in ways that are occasionally amusing but ultimately a bit disappointing. The movie starts to stall, and it’s like the sharks are taking a smoke-break.
One thing that could’ve helped significantly was if we got more of a sense of the space these characters were in. There’s a good portion of time where two characters are trapped in a building that’s halfway underwater. I found myself wondering how they were going to get out of there, only for them to climb through a hatch above them only after sitting trapped for a good long while. In all honesty, I feel like director John Pogue and the crew needed more time or budget to have pulled this one off. Despite severed limbs, there’s a lack of brutality that could stir the imagination or make us outright laugh as an audience.
Perspective is everything. This is a direct-to-video release so perhaps an audience would’ve valued it and made me appreciate it more sitting in an actual theater. But I doubt it. Instead, I’ll label this as a noble effort that delivers what it promises; just not in a way I could really enjoy.
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