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Long-Lost Chum

[whitespace] 'Deep Blue Sea'
Bite Me: Thomas Jane confronts a toothy predator in 'Deep Blue Sea.'

'Deep Blue Sea' goes off the deep end

By Richard von Busack

LET'S PRETEND that Deep Blue Sea is the long-awaited Jaws 5. At Aquatica, a floating sea lab off the coast of Baja California, a biotech company has been harvesting brain fluid from sharks as a cure for Alzheimer's. (Sharks never get Alzheimer's; you'll never see a shark forgetting where it put its car keys.) Determined scientist Saffron Burrows (morally flawed by a British accent and all that it entails in an American movie) has stupidly tinkered with a mako shark's DNA. The result is a trio of fiendish übersharks smart enough to do synchronized swimming but dumb enough not to realize that a scuba tank in a jacket is a decoy. The storm hits; the helicopter crashes; the power goes out. ...

Chum(s) in this bucket: Michael Rapaport, who's supposed to be the brains of the operation (consider, please, an operation in which Michael Rapaport is supposed to be the brains); Samuel L. Jackson, participant in the one joke anyone will remember; shark wrassler Thomas Jane, giving a performance of Hasselhoffian proportions; Jacqueline McKenzie, so powerful in the Australian movie Angel Baby, so eaten alive here; LL Cool J, essentially playing Chef from South Park--smock wearing, silly, but intrepid. (You'll love the scenes in which LL is dissed by his own parrot!)

In the midst of the many, many scenes of people getting knocked on their butts by torrents of water, there wasn't room for the little bit of dialogue that explains that humans have been far worse to sharks than sharks have been to humans. I actually missed hearing the obligatory message. Then again, I missed any other redeeming feature in this dunce's delight directed by the still-floundering Renny Harlin (Die Harder, Cutthroat Island).

Deep Blue Sea (R; 105 min.), directed by Renny Harlin, written by Duncan Kennedy, Donna Powers and Wayne Powers, photographed by Stephen Swindon and starring Saffron Burrows, Thomas Jane and Samuel L. Jackson, plays at selected theaters valleywide.

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From the July 29-August 4, 1999 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 1999 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

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