Dir: Wolfgang Petersen
Star: Emmy Rossum, Josh Lucas, Mike Vogel, Kurt Russell

It says something about Hollywood imagination, that Peterson is director, presumably purely on the basis of his other "F-sized wave" flick, The Perfect Storm. Hey, who needs anything else, right? That may be cynical, but the destruction here is lovingly crafted compared to the characterizations, for example. The plot requires little coverage: a group of stereotypes climb up through a capsized ship, in an effort to escape through the hull. A more irritating, badly-equipped for survival, group of people, it's difficult to imagine: only gambler Dylan (Lucas) seems to have much clue. Though at the end, Robert Ramsey (Russell) suddenly knows exactly where to find the buttons which control the ship's propellors, presumably based on his years of experience as, er, mayor of New York. [Okay, the navy is mentioned, but still: that was decades ago and on a totally different kind of ship]

Such idiocy plagues the film throughout, and you can predict deaths almost from the moment the victims are introduced. These fatalities are certainly done with verve and invention, which turn this into something best described as ocean-going snuff porn, when combined with the pathetic shallowness of the victims. Richard Dreyfuss turns up, playing a gay millionaire - that's basically the sum total of his performance, and neither of these attributes have the slightest bearing on proceedings. In the middle, I turned to Chris and said, "D'you know what would help this? Zombies." Yes, the survivors having to fight hordes of undead sailors and passengers - ideally, with Milla Jovovich involved somehow - would certainly have made for a damn sight more entertainment.

[April 2007]

This ship stinks
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