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Fox Home Entertainment presents
Deep Water (2000)

"Contact the Pentagon. Tell them, we've just gone from bad to worse."
- Captain Hal Josephson (James Coburn)

Review By: Jesse Shanks   
Published: December 17, 2001

Stars: James Coburn, Costas Mandylor, Finola Hughes
Other Stars: Alex Hyde-White, Larry Poindexter, Sonia Satra
Director: John Putch

MPAA Rating: R for Violence and Language
Run Time: 01h:34m:58s
Release Date: December 18, 2001
UPC: 024543027997
Genre: action

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B C-B-B B-

DVD Review

The very conventional spy-violence beginning of this movie did not provide high hopes for the content. After researching the film and finding that it had been named Intrepid in the theaters and now had gained Deep Water as a new name for home video (perhaps to dodge bad reviews of the theatrical release?), my hopes were very low. Despite the presence of a favorite actor, James Coburn, in what seemed sure to be a stunt casting cameo, and Finola Hughes (super spy Anna Devane of General Hospital and All My Children daytime stardom), I settle in, endeavoring to persevere.

However, soon into the film, the plot took an odd turn as the two heroes, Alan Decker (Costas Mandlyor) and Max Dennis (David Kaufman), members of the U.S. Navy Special Forces, are sent to bodyguard the daughter of an important diplomat on a cruise ship headed for Hawaii. The activity is very much like Love Boat as our motley crew of passengers and crew board the ship, the Intrepid, and ready for departure. Besides our Special Forces men, there are the young women under their protection: Sabrina Masters (Sonia Satra) and a reporter named Katherine Jessele (Finola Hughes), who determined to get a story on her.

At the same time, Captain Josephson (Coburn) is running an operation to transfer a nuclear device and because of a plot to steal the weapon, the plane carrying it crashes into the ocean. Josephson sends divers to attempt a salvage operation, not knowing that the Intrepid is headed right into the danger zone of a possible nuclear blast. At this point, I though the nuclear danger was an obvious red herring to provide easy suspense. Surprisingly, the darn thing goes off and the resulting tidal wave causes the Intrepid to turn upside down, a la The Poseidon Adventure. This bizarre turn of events caused me to regain my interest in watching. The upsides down sets are not complex but quite eerie. Interesting (or perhaps not surprising) that the same argument is found here as on the Poseidon: Go to the bow or go to the engine room?

Decker is forced to battle the assassin who continues the attempt to kill Sabrina, as well as save the lives of the ship's other survivors. Many twists and turns in the plot make for an enjoyable spy/action film. In fact, there is enough going on in the many plotlines with so many battling clichés that it is hard to keep straight at times what is going on. I cannot understand why a movie like this adds the level of language and graphic violence necessary to make for an R rating, when it would seem so much smarter to tone down the violence, delete the "f-word" and go for PG, allowing the potential of a much wider and more suitable audience for such a cartoon adventure.

As expected, Coburn's part is small, but he does add a certain respectability and humor to the movie that would otherwise be lacking. Mandylor is straightforward and stolid as the heroic Decker. Hughes demonstrates the limited acting range that has kept her career more inclined toward daytime TV than the big screen (she does, however, look quite good in her black evening dress). The rest of the characters are inconsistent actors and make for some stiff scenes that look like outtakes from bad screen tests. Much of the credit for making this film watchable must go to the technical crew in creating a very interesting environment in the overturned pleasure boat and the stunt men who give us plenty of action between stiff dialogue scenes.

While this is far from a great film, Deep Water is reasonably diverting. Certainly not for everyone, but someone who enjoys the spy/action genre could do far worse in the DVD rental store than to pick this up for an evening's viewing.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: C-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo

Image Transfer Review: The image transfer bears the dreaded slogan "This film has been modified from its original version. It has been formatted to fit your screen." This is quite a shame because the sequences on the overturned boat are quite effectively created and losing the widescreen hurts the visualization. But the transfer is pretty clean, with only a bit of film noise visible. The colors and the lighting of the ship sequences are effectively rendered. The heavy computer generation comes off as noticeably cartoonish in some sequences. Also, there are typical integration problems with the stock U.S. Navy footage. Overall, this makes for a mixed bag visually.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The sound transfer is very good. The ambient sound is used to enhance the Top Gun-ish score and sound perception of the underwater sequences very effectively. There are some nice zooming jets and other bits that make for a good home theater work out. The dialogue is clear throughout and the foley work is very good.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The menu system is straightforward and easy to use. The looping snippet from the score is not too annoying. One could only expect that for an action B-film like this one, the extras would be pretty skimpy. But, there is a theatrical trailer and one would be surprised to find a pretty nice filmography section that features résumés for director John Putch, James Coburn, Larry Poindexter, Finola Hughes and Costas Mandylor. It was interesting to me that as I glanced though the filmographies, I found that I did not recognize more than 1 or 2 of the films on each list, with the exception of Coburn. This forces me to suspect that there is actually a whole world of film out there that I don't know about; whether this is good or bad, remains to be seen. It is notable that the narrator of the trailer refers to Mandylor's character, Decker, as a "lone Marine." However, there is a scene in the movie in which Decker shows his U.S. Navy tattoo to prove that he "aint no pussy Marine."

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

"Who gives a ship?" went one of the taglines of this film when it went by the name of Intrepid. One might rightly answer, "Not me." when it comes to viewing it. Surprisingly, despite its flaws, Deep Water is reasonably interesting and diverting for an evening's viewing. Not a keeper, but certainly a rental if all the copies of anything else you haven't seen are gone.


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