What can you expect from a sequel almost two decades late that goes straight-to-video? Well certainly don’t expect much from Deep Blue Sea 2, as it could either be billed as “The sequel that no one wanted” or, more accurately, “A carbon copy of the original minus the fun.” That it stars a bunch of television B-listers, one should not be surprised that this particular shark film sinks without a trace.
In 1998, director Renny Harlin created a fun shark film with a pretty ridiculous premise; sharks don’t get Alzheimer’s, so if we genetically enlarge shark brains, a cure for Alzheimer’s disease would be right around the corner. Of course, this results in super smart sharks who proceed to eat the scientists. Now in 2018, we have a sequel where pharmaceutical billionaire Carl Durant (Michael Beach) is playing around with neurotransmitters in sharks and extracting their antibodies to create a brain enhancing serum. What is hilarious here is he isn’t doing it for anything noble, like trying to cure a disease that afflicts millions of people—no, Carl Durant is in full-on mad science territory (heavy on the mad) as he believes that quantum computers and artificial intelligence will soon lead to machines dominating mankind. He’s clearly a fan of The Terminator franchise, and so his solution is to use his drug to artificially enhance human brains one thousand fold so that we can compete with computers on a level playing field.
That Deep Blue Sea 2 is not only a rock stupid movie and one of the most unoriginal films every created; and is mostly a carbon copy of the original film—though with a drastically reduced budget—but the film’s protagonist, Dr. Misty Calhoun (Danielle Savre), is approached by Durant’s lawyer because of her shark expertise and is offered full funding on her research if she will make a visit to their facility. Replace shark with dinosaur and you have one of the opening scenes in Jurassic Park. And the character of Misty is as badly written as the plot; we first meet her as she gives a lecture on how sharks are not the evil killing machines as depicted in movies, with bull sharks being the only ones she considers really scary, and then when she arrives at Durant’s aquatic research facility and sees his tests subjects are bull sharks she freaks out claiming, “This will end in disaster!” Now at this point she is unaware of the nature of the experiments, she simply believes even normal bull sharks are too dangerous to be kept in captivity. This was basically Alan Grant’s sensible reaction to Hammond cloning raptors in Jurassic Park, but here it’s seems a tad over-reactionary as they are just sharks; sure, I wouldn’t want to swim with one, but if you are not in the water, you are pretty much safe.
The original Deep Blue Sea was guilty of having a certain level of script stupidity for the plot to work; for instance making a shark smart should not in turn make them knowledgeable, but we see them taking out cameras when even the idea of what a camera is would be totally foreign to a shark. In Deep Blue Sea 2, we get a moment where one of the sharks is actually listening at a porthole when Durant is discussing his plans to kill the sharks once his project is complete. Director Darin Scott may just as well have given the sharks mustaches to twirl and monocles to adjust.
Knock-off sequels are notoriously of a lesser value, but Deep Blue Sea 2 reaches new depths of awfulness as not only is the script dumber than the already pretty-dumb original, but the cast is full of third-tier television actors, has effects that make the Sharknado films look good by comparison, and worst of all, it is a damn boring shark movie. We are told that five bull sharks have been enhanced, but for most of the film’s running time, all we get is our cast of characters running down partially flooded corridors with a swarm of baby bull sharks (the lead evil shark having secretly given birth) hot on their heels. If we let slide that bull sharks have litters of around three pups, and not the several dozen we see in this film, we are still left with the problem that people running hip deep in water is not intrinsically exciting. For what one assumes is a budgetary reason, we rarely see these piranha rip-offs, but instead get shots of water churning as our “heroes” flee for their lives, and when someone is caught, a bunch of red dye is dumped into the water. We do get an occasional shot of the CGI swarm of little sharks, mostly the same shot repeated over and over again, but it is neither convincing nor exciting.
When I sat down to watch Deep Blue Sea 2, I certainly didn’t expect it to be on par with Spielberg’s Jaws, but not only is it simply a poor knock-off of the original Deep Blue Sea, it’s not even as fun as the crappy Sharknado movies. This film promised us a bio-engineered pack of highly intelligent, super-aggressive bull sharks hunting and killing people, and it failed to even deliver that. Be warned this is not a “So bad it’s good” type of movie; it is simply bad and completely forgettable.