In 1998, director Renny Harlin helmed a fun little shark movie called Deep Blue Sea, where we learned from Ice Cube that his “hat is like a shark’s fin,” but then two decades later, we got the straight-to-video sequel Deep Blue Sea 2, which showed us that maybe a sequel about his hat would have been a better idea. It’s now 2020 and here comes Deep Blue Sea 3, a film that posits the theory that genetically modified super sharks aren’t enough of a threat, so why not throw in some evil mercenaries to raise the stakes?
The hero of Deep Blue Sea 3 is Dr. Emma Collins (Tania Raymonde), a scientist who is doing her part to save the oceans and its inhabitants from the threat of global warming, but she’s not just a scientist, she’s also a bit of a badass as she’s on “friendly” terms with a Great White Shark named Sally, so we best take her seriously. In her environmental quest to save the world, she is aided by ex-Marine Eugene Shaw (Emerson Brooks), who once fought alongside Emma’s late father and is her stand-in guardian now; we have the adorkable Japanese intern Miya (Reina Aoi) whose undersea sensors can monitor the birthrate of the neighbouring sharks; and finally, there is MIT geek Spinnaker (Alex Bhat) who has the hots for little Miya. Start the egg timer on this guy’s life-metre now. This tight little group studies the marine life surrounding the island of Little Happy, a man-made island that has been subjected to flooding due to rising sea levels and now consists only of our heroes and two of its remaining residents, Bahari (Siya Mayola) and Nandi (Avumile Qongqo), who remain on this sinking place because “It’s the only home we’ve ever known,” which seems like a pretty lame reason to stay anywhere, let alone on a place that will soon be submerged.
One could almost say it’s a good thing that some genetically modified sharks arrived to shake things up.
But are these super-smart sharks the true threat to our band of eco-warriors? Certainly not! Enter the film’s true villains: a boatload of assholes chasing the sharks that escaped the science facility at the end of Deep Blue Sea 2. In that film, a particularly nasty shark named Bella had escaped with some of her pups and now we find that the evil big-pharma corporation, the one that hired mad scientist Durant to create super-smart sharks in the hopes this would somehow lead to super smart humans, has now sent a team to clean up the mess by tracking down and killing these genetically engineered monsters as well as protecting their intellectual property rights. Leading this team is marine biologist Richard Lowell (Nathaniel Buzolic), who just so happened to have been an old classmate of Emma’s and possibly more. Along for the ride is a small team of mercs that are led by a moustache-twirling villain named Lucas (Bren Foster), a man who couldn’t have been more cartoonishly evil if he’d tied Emma to some railway tracks.
It’s the mercenary extraordinaire character of Lucas where this film massively miscalculates what “fans” of this series want, which is sharks eating people, and sure, it’s not intrinsically wrong to have a human antagonist in your shark movie — the mayor of Amity Island was a fine antagonist in Spielberg’s Jaws — but in Deep Blue Sea 3, the sharks are pretty much sidelined by these evil humans for the bulk of the film. Worse is the fact that these particular humans are also very bad at being evil. If one word could be used to best describe Lucas it would be “overconfidence,” as twice his malevolent machinations are hampered by his complete disregard for a quick win. After soundly defeating ex-marine Eugene, in a brutal mix-martial arts-style fight, he doesn’t take the two seconds it would take to kill Eugene. Instead, he hands that job off to one of his merc compatriots with a “Finish him,” who is then hilariously killed by a passing shark.
Awhile later, good ol’ over-confident Lucas goes to finish off our lovely heroine, giving her multiple wounds with his combat knife, but then he sets the knife down because, apparently, cutting her throat would be “Too easy,” and so proceeds to try and drown her, with less than stellar results. Emma picks up the discarded knife and stabs him in the chest with it and thus, we have a villain who first delegates the murder of a man, at the most idiotic moment possible, and then later forgoes a quick kill for some macho reason, which leaves me left asking, “How did this guy land a job leading a team of mercenaries?” I’ve seen Bond villains with more common sense than this asshat.
• This story takes place near Mozambique, so why not have modern-day pirates be the human villains rather than these inept mercenaries?
• People are constantly yelling “Get out of the water!” as if a person surrounded by sharks needed that particular piece of advice.
• As in the previous Deep Blue Sea movies, we see sharks swimming backwards despite this being something sharks absolutely cannot do.
• The sharks are now smart enough to know when one of their own is being held hostage at gunpoint. I’m assuming in later sequels we will get shark negotiators and lawyers.
• Emma is on friendly terms with a Great White Shark; you have three guesses as to who swims in to save her and the first two don’t count.
• A character is supposedly eaten by a shark only to pop up alive at the end of the movie ala Richard Dreyfus in Jaws.
• The villains plant an anti-ship mine inside the shark nursery, which they plan to detonate to kill all the super-smart sharks as well as any witnesses. Guess where that mine ends up? Hint: These mercenaries came on a boat and they are morons.
• Two different people give passionate speeches before suddenly being eaten by a shark.
As sequels go, Deep Blue Sea 3 is a cut above its immediate predecessor, as the writers this time out managed to at least cobble together group of somewhat likeable protagonists, but the switch of focus from killer sharks to two-dimensional mercenaries was definitely not a wise decision, which is a shame because what shark stuff we do get in this film is a definite improvement over what we were served up in Deep Blue Sea 2. I particularly liked that this film showed us that most sharks are not at all interested in eating humans, unless modified by mad scientists that is.
I’ve seen a lot of bad shark movies over the years and I will grant that this one at least tried to do something a little different. Unfortunately, while doing so they sacrificed one of the key reasons people would tune in to watch a Deep Blue Sea sequel, which would be the cool shark attacks. So, if you want to see some decent CGI sharks and a couple of fun kills, then by all means check out Deep Blue Sea 3, but please, do yourself a favour and keep your expectations very low.
Deep Blue Sea 3 (2020)
Movie Rank - 5.5/10
I’m not exactly sure who is clamoring for Deep Blue Sea sequels – it’s not as if the original is all that highly regarded – but this third outing is at least a little better than the second entry in what one hopes is the ending of this trilogy.