Deep Rising

on January 30, 1998 by Lisa Osborne
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"Deep Rising" is a typical disaster movie on board a ship except that the heroes are more concerned about being eaten alive by sea monsters that look like a cross between an octopus and Audrey II from "Little Shop of Horrors" than drowning.
   Billed as one of the largest luxury liners in the world, the Argonautica sets sail on its maiden voyage with much pomp and circumstance and a full complement of wealthy passengers. But by the time mercenary John J. Finnegan (Treat Williams) and his mechanic Pantucci (Kevin J. O'Connor) stumble across the disabled craft, most of the passengers have been reduced to piles of blood, bones and goo. The survivors--Argonautica's captain (Derrick O'Connor), its owner Canton (Anthony Heald), and a jewel thief named Trillian (Famke Janssen)--give sketchy details of the `creatures' that decimated the ship's crew--but all is soon revealed.
   Excellent special effects help maintain the pace and tension in what could have been a rather bland, formula movie. Scenes where one of the creatures crumples metal walls like tinfoil and dissolves the flesh off a victim are particularly graphic. Unfortunately, the great effects can't fully compensate for the predictable plot.
   Finnegan, Pantucci and Trillian are flawed but likable characters, and all three actors give solid performances. Janssen does a good job of playing the cheeky but resourceful female lead. It's always reassuring to see a woman holding her own in a crisis. Happily, the days when women are portrayed shrieking in a corner at the first sign of danger seem to be over. Starring Treat Williams, Famke Janssen, Kevin J. O'Connor, Derrick O'Connor and Anthony Heald. Written and directed by Stephen Sommers. Produced by Laurence Mark and John Baldecchi. A Buena Vista release. Thriller. Rated R for sci-fi violence and gore. Running time: 105 min
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