Deep Rising (1998)

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“Full scream ahead” says the tagline. Well what a scream this film is. This is one of those brilliant, schlocky, B-movie type deals. The cast is not A-list whatsoever, but everyone is on such top form that it scarcely matters. Directed by Stephen Sommers (The Mummy), Deep Rising is perfect friday night fodder for you and a few mates. It all begins with John Finnegan (Treat Williams) who is the captain of a small boat. He has been hired by a group of mercenaries led by Hanover (Wes Studi) to take them to a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean which Finnegan realises Hanover and his goons want to rob. On board the cruise ship is a thief by the name of Triilian St. James (Famke Janssen) who is trying to raid the vault and ends up trapped.

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It’s not long before Finnegan and Hanover realise that something has made it’s home on the ship already when they get aboard to find the place in ruins. The group find that some sort of creature is aboard the ship and is feasting on the passengers. Leaving Finnegan and his crew battling the creature and Hanover’s mercenaries.

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This film has lots going for it. For a film that is 15yrs old, the CGI is mightily impressive. Hell I’d even go so far to say it trumps some CGI in today’s movies. The supporting cast is great too. Kevin J. O’Connor is great as Joey, a member of Finnegan’s crew. You have great actors like Jason Flemyng and Djimon Hounsou playing mercenaries. You also have the wonderful Anthony Heald, so adept at playing slimy characters, as the cruise ships owner Simon Canton, who knows more than he’s letting on. Also the gore is pretty gnarly too. I shit you not. For a 15’s movie it’s pretty full on. The creature has some sort of stomach acid that helps it digest the passengers, so when one is spat up you see what the effect is.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this. I stumbled across it ages ago and it still holds a place in my DVD collection today. Such a great movie that’ll go nicely with a few beers and a nice pizza. If you haven’t seen it then seek it out. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below too. Enjoy.

4/5

JM

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The Phantom (1996)

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Based on the characters created by Lee Falk, this 1996 actioner stars Billy Zane as Kit Walker/The Phantom. The Phantom comes from a long line of heroes who have defended Bengalla for years. Kit Walker is the 21st Phantom. The role of The Phantom is passed through the generations to make anyone who would commit evil think that The Phantom is a single immortal figure.

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The Phantom stumbles across tomb raiders who are looking for an ancient skull that if used with two other skulls, will grant the user unimaginable power. The Phantom has been protecting these skulls as he knows that if they fall into the wrong hands it could spell doom for the entire world. After foiling the tomb raiders, one manages to escape with the skull, a man called Quill (James Remar). Quill works for an amoral business man in New York called Xander Drax (Treat Williams). Drax has been resorting to any means necessary to retrieve all three skulls as he is looking to rule the world.

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Hearing rumours of Drax’s nefarious acts a woman named Diana Palmer (Kristy Swanson), is sent to Bengalla to investigate rumours of Drax’s business methods. When Diana is captured snooping around it is left to her ex-boyfriend Kit Walker/The Phantom, to save her.

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Diana tells Kit of the rumours about Drax, leaving it up to The Phantom to track down and stop Drax from completing his goal. I’ll be honest this film is incredibly cheesy, but in a very fun way. I remember seeing the trailer when it was being advertised in the cinema and thought it might be something I’d enjoy.

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It is a perfect Saturday afternoon movie. It’s entertaining and has a hint of Indiana Jones about it. Billy Zane is actually quite good as The Phantom. He is cocksure, but presents a brilliant, chiselled, comic-book style hero. Kristy Swanson is unconvincing as Diana. I have never been entirely convinced of her acting abilities at all. Treat Williams is great as Xander Drax. He hams it up perfectly as the cackling villain, bringing a hint of menace to the role. He is an actor I have always liked, never been mainstream sadly, but still a good actor. This is worth watching. It won’t win any awards no, but films that win awards are not always very entertaining. Well in my opinion anyway. Give this a go though, I think you’ll like it.

3/5

JM

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