Spielberg’s Jaws begot Joe Dante’s Piranha which begot more man eating fish movies. One of the most fun of these films was the 1999 smart sharks thriller Deep Blue Sea. A fun film starring Thomas Jane, Samuel Jackson, Saffron Burrows and LL Cool J, Deep Blue Sea has become a bit of a cult classic. In spite of painfully dated (and weak) CGI sharks (though the mechanical sharks used in the film are quite impressive) the film still holds up as a solid b-movie thriller.
So, to capitalize on the success of the original, nineteen years later we have a sequel. Shark conservationist Misty is hired by the billionaire Carl Durant to offer her expertise with his special project involving sharks. She is introduced by “loving” shots of her diving with sharks in a sexy wet suit accompanied by a theme song that literally contains the phrase “the Deep Blue Sea”.
Along with Misty is a scientist couple Leslie and Daniel Kim. Durant is using genetically modified sharks to try and create a powerful serum. The purpose of the serum are vague, and Durant is revealed to be injecting himself with the serum and it appears to be destroying his mind.
The plot is essentially the same. The characters are trapped in a sinking research lab besieged by super smart sharks. Oddly, we do not see them deal with the sharks all that much as the main threat is actually the babies of the lead shark. The babies hunt in a big pack and behave like the piranha in the Piranha movies.
These changes don’t really make the film feel all that fresh…and the motive of Durant is laughable terrible. In the original film, the obsessed scientists were trying to create a cure for Alzheimer’s. It was a noble cause where you could totally understand the risks they took. But in Deep Blue Sea 2? Durant’s goal is to create a serum to genetically modify people to prepare for the coming robotic/AI takeover. He is trying to prepare for the arrival of Skynet.
The movie also has a lot of callbacks to the first film, but all they do is remind you how much better those scenes were in the original. Probably the only area where the film has an improvement is the CGI sharks look better.
Deep Blue Sea 2 is a prime example of the “Unnecessary Sequel”. It fails to live up to the original and yet cannot even manage to be the realm of so bad it is good. It comes close to that edge, but never manages to fall over it.