THE STORY:The one thing I remember most about this movie is that it seemed to come out around the same time the Abyss and Leviathan came out. I could be wrong...I'm not sure of the release dates for any of those movies, but it seemed that way to me.
At an undersea base, the navy is building a missile site. The base is manned by McBride, the movie's hero, Joyce Collins, his capable girlfriend, Dr. Norris, Scarpelli, Richardson, Hodges and Osborne. Theres also a russian guy who's name I didn't get ( He might not be russian...this movie was released in '89 so he's probably not russian) There's also Snyder, a cranky, not too likable guy. Its commanded by Captain Philip Laidlaw and the missile base construction is supervised by Dr. Van Gelder. Collins and McBride have become lovers during their tour on this undersea base. Collins is pregnant, too, but she doesn't tell McBride right away.
Things go awry when a scan of the area for the missile sled is hampered by the discovery of an undersea cavern. Having only a week to finish the project, Van Gelder orders the cavern to be collapsed with explosives. This job falls on Collins, the russian guy ( hereafter called "foreign dude", or FD for short ) Hodges and Osborne. There's a secondary smaller base which they are in that functions as the forward observation and command post. Well, after collapsing the cavern, Hodges and Osborne lose a remote controlled camera in it. They go in the cavern using their handy little submarine to retrieve it. Apparently this camera is a big deal. I don't know why, but losing it is a bone of contention.
Once in the cavern they are attacked by an unseen thing. It kills them pretty quick and then attacks the Forward post, crippling it and badly injuring FD in the process. Captain Laidlaw and McBride use the second mini-sub to go over and find out why the communications have been cut off. What they discover is the base in ruins and about to fall into the cavern from the damage. Laidlaw and McBride rescue Collins but FD is dead. Captain Laidlaw, being the only black man on the base and the good guy in command is destined to die. ( minorities ALWAYS die in these cheesy movies! Man, I'm so sick of that!) Laidlaw, of course, sacrifices himself to save the others when the base starts to flood.
Back at the main post the order has been given to abandon the base and go to the surface. But the missiles have to be secured before they can decompress and leave. Snyder, in what must be a fit of dementia, goes by the book without thinking and detonates the missiles. The missiles aren't that far away from them and a sane person would have realized that. A sane government would have made sure the computer warned a user of that. Hell, computers nowadays will warn you of doing something stupid to your screenplay you're writing in Microsoft Word. You'd think one that could detonate nukes would have a warning. The nuclear blast wrecks the base. Now, the base's reactor will go critical in a matter of hours and the damage has ruined the power systems. The crew can't decompress. If they can't decompress they can't leave.
But hope is not gone. The crew begins some hasty repairs that will allow them to decompress. Some of the repairs must be done outside and Richardson dons a pressure suit and goes. He effects the repair, but is attacked by the creature. The others get him back in the airlock just in time to watch a giant crab-like beast bite him in half. The chamber floods and with the creature in it, our heroes flee to safety. Scarpelli doesn't make it. After assembling some weapons they go back into the chamber. The repairs to the decompression system are almost done, except for a crucial piece in the airlock chamber. They have to kill the monster or hold it at bay long enough to fix things. McBride manages to fix the problem while in there, but the creature attacks. In the ensuing melee, Snyder accidentally kills Van Gelder.
The guilt of causing their predicament and Van Gelder's death is too much for Snyder. He begins to crack up. Dr. Norris gives him a sedative, but Snyder is still losing it. He runs and takes the escape pod without decompressing. The journey to the surface kills him. ( I thought he just might get the bends, but he practically explodes. Is that right? I don't know, but if you do Email the Inferno and let me in on the true skinny of decompression)
Things looks really grim for McBride, Norris and Collins. But McBride braves the flooded areas of the base and retrieves the mini-sub. He brings it around to the other side of the base so he can get the others, decompress and escape. The monster however, breaks into the room where Collins and Norris are. Norris sacrifices herself in an attempt to stop the creature. She fails to kill it, but she does kill herself. Collins and McBride decompress and take off just as the base explodes.
If you've seen any other monster flick...or even the movie Leviathan....you know the monster will be back. Why it followed them to surface is only overshadowed in the question how it lived through the explosion. But it does and attacks just as the survivors are boarding their life raft. McBride dumps the mini sub's fuel into the water as the beast attacks him and ignites it with a flare gun. This does what a nuke couldn't do...it kills the monster. Afterwards, he and Collins paddle away on the ocean in their raft awaiting eventual rescue.
A lot of people hated this movie. A lot of people hated Leviathan But if I had to chose one, I'd pick Leviathan That movie is by no means a classic, but this one makes it look damn good. I wanted to like this movie more, but it has too many improbabilities. Plus the fact that the situations with the monster were too contrived. There was no reason for it to hunt them out once it was in the base. (its a giant crab...why would it go out of its way to search for and kill these people!?) The monster itself wasn't too impressive, but I can't say it was shabby either. It was just kind of cheap. That doesn't mean the movie had to be lacking. The story did that. McBride was played by Greg Evigan. I have it by good authority that he was on the TV show BJ and the Bear. (I never watched that show) Collins was Nancy Everhard. I think she's cute and she was also in the Punisher among other things. Snyder was actor Miguel Ferrer. Ferrer was the highlight of this flick. He played Snyder so well that he is actually my favorite character in this movie. Heck, without Snyder there would be no movie!
Best Lines:"She don't need no submarine pilot from New Jersey that's never got more than a weeks pay in his pocket...I'd be holding her back."- McBride tells the Captain why he thinks he's not good enough for Collins.
"My father said stay at home, help me with the farm son, but no I had to join the damned Navy, see the f***in' world..."-The Captain during on of those moments when you think you zigged when you should have zagged.
"Well, at least Snyder will get his name in the Guinness Book of world Records...I mean causing two nuclear explosions in one afternoon has got to be some kind of record!"-Richardson about Snyder's incredibly stupid actions.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?:
1.)People in movies do dumb things sometimes...particularly in sci-fi or horror movies. But One of the most insane decisions I've seen characters make on film is to go after the stupid remote camera that got snipped of from their mini-submarine. Its just a [unwrite]ing camera for God's sake! Why go into an unknown cavern miles under the ocean floor where creatures never seen by man may exist!? For a camera? Even Collins tells the crew of the sub "If you lost that remote you're in big trouble!"! Why? You'd think losing a remote camera would kind of be expected considering the circumstances.
2.)Collins is pregnant. No big shock if she's been doing the humpty-hump with McBride for a few months. But uh, did they just forget about birth control? I mean, if McBride never wanted any strings or to settle down, didn't he think if he was having hot monkey love with Collins every night that he might put a bun in the oven?
3.)I didn't think Snyder was stupid. Cranky, yes, but not an idiot. But I was wrong. What kind of complete imbecile would figure detonating a bunch of nuclear missiles that close to the base? I'm no physicist, but I think the thought would occur in my mind that detonating the nukes might be a bad idea. Bad like even if the explosion doesn't kill us the radiation will most likely fry us to a crispy crunch.
4.)How the hell did the monster survive a nuclear explosion? TWO nuclear explosions if you want to be real nitpicky. When Snyder foolishly detonates the nukes you can almost buy it that maybe the creature had swam away out of danger. But then you have to ask yourself, why did it come back to the area? But the second? It was in the base with the hatches sealed! How'd it get out? If it didn't get out and this monster can survive being at Ground Zero in a nuclear explosion, then how can McBride kill it by setting fuel on the water afire? Couldn't the monster just dive underneath the burning water? McBride did.
NUDITY AND SEX:None
HUH?:Hmmmm. Captain Laidlaw and McBride are supposed to be good friends. Really close friends. How's that? A navy captain is the equivalent of a COLONEL. dialogue between them lets us know that McBride isn't an officer. His rank is never given, but lets just assume he's an E-7, or a Chief Petty Officer to you civilians. (and thats hard to believe...wouldn't the others refer to him as "chief" then?) Its hard to believe that a high ranking officer and an NCO would be close, hanging out together, drinking buddies.
With the whole thing of McBride getting Collins pregnant, I can't say that its beyond the realm of possibility. But I've been on missions for long periods of time with female soldiers. Attractive female soldiers. Theres a rule about "no hanky panky" in those situations.
Okay, the whole missile sled thing is dubious to me. Why would the navy, yet the government want to place a stationary missile site under the sea. Isn't that what nuclear subs are for? Aren't there enough ground based nukes to decimate all life on the planet? The cost of building undersea silos and missiles seems ridiculous. What use could they be? Theres already enough nukes to roast the planet.
Add to that, how can Snyder just detonate the missiles by himself? Why not build the system to need two people to detonate the nukes? Why wasn't the system "idiot-proofed" so that Snyder couldn't cause the catastrophe he does?
Speaking of Snyder, he doesn't seem too stable when the movie begins. Ok, maybe the doctor just missed that. But when he does finally crack up (After causing two nuclear explosions and the death of Van Gelder) she gives him a shot to calm him down. Why not give him a shot to knock his ass out? If that happened further tragedy would have been avoided.
If these guys are in the Navy why ain't they in uniform?
THE TALLY:Theres one good reason to rent this...Snyder! He's such an ass-munch and an idiot that its fun to watch him cause a nuclear explosion, put everyone in danger, have a tantrum and then accidentally kill Van Gelder! If you're into undersea monster movies you may want to check it out for that. The story can get kind of slow, and it follows formula tightly so you won't get a lot of thrills! but you'll get an extra helping of Snyder. He's like an undersea movie version of Red Dwarf's Arnold Rimmer!