Genius Products // 2008 // 84 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Patrick Bromley // February 5th, 2009
A deadly weapon. A high profile target.
The only thing I learned from the 2008 made-for-TV film Depth Charge is that life is too short for movies like the 2008 made-for-TV film Depth Charge.
It's not that the movie is horrible. It isn't. It's short, derivative, and cheaply made, and maybe there is an audience for it. Maybe. Unfortunately, what it does has been done many times, all of them better than here.
The movie starts when a prototype stealth submarine armed with nuclear weapons (is there any other kind?) is running a test mission, helmed by two commanders in disagreement -- so it's kind of like Crimson Tide. Then, one of the commanders takes over the sub at gunpoint. Unbeknownst to them, the sub's stowed away doctor is the only man who can bring the terrorists down -- so it's kind of like Die Hard, only it takes place in the water, so it's more like Under Siege. And it turns out the terrorist guy is actually taking over the sub for patriotic reasons -- so it's kind of like The Rock.
That's the movie. It's a lot of people talking into radios, making demands (for "one billion dollars," so it's kind of like Austin Powers) and then the occasional fight, always shot in close proximity so as to disguise the stunt people. How the doctor became an expert at fisticuffs is never explained...or maybe it was. After a while, it all became white noise. There's also some stock footage of submarines and airplanes and explosions. Oh, and Eric Roberts (The Pope of Greenwich Village) plays the terrorist leader. Jason Gedrick (Iron Eagle) plays the doctor. Barry Bostwick (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) plays the President of the United States. Corbin Bersen (Masters of Horror: Right to Die) plays a guy on another sub (so it's actually like Major League).
Depth Charge comes on a bad run of movies lately, and it reminded me of why it becomes difficult to write about unremarkable movies like this one. It's too easy to be snarky and suggest that movies like this not even be made, but that's not my place. I'm not the one who invested months -- possibly years -- of my life and potential millions of dollars into the film. All I had to invest was 84 minutes in watching it.
But then my responsibility is not to the filmmakers. It is to you, the
reader, who wants to know whether or not Depth Charge is worth your time
investment...and I cannot say it is. Why bother with something like this when
there are so many better submarine movies, like Das Boot, The Hunt for
Red October, or Crimson Tide? Or U-571? Or Down
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Genius Products
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 84 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated