Trimark // 2000 // 99 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // October 25th, 2002
Terror has never run so deep.
It's the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. President Kennedy has just demanded that the Russians withdraw their nukes from Castro's patio wet bar or face some heavy-duty Hydrogen hash marks. A Soviet sub carrying rotten caviar and toxic waste cabbage broth is scuttled and the oozing brew burbles into the depths of the ocean. Fast forward via title card to modern Russia and a terrorist dressed like an elderly female gypsy complete with huge hairy mole blows up the US Embassy. Why? Because it's Tuesday. For retribution, a whisper-thin CIA agent is assigned to escort our Bolshevik bad boy back to Uncle Sap for a little capital punishment. Just to make the trip more confusing, they have to hitch a ride with Capt. Bulkhead Chinnuedno and the Village People aboard the wimpiest sub in the Navy. Toe tagging along in this nuclear sardine can of seamen is a marine biologist famous for her impression of the "me so horny" prostitute in Full Metal Jacket. She is investigated the mating habits of plankton, reef rash, and sea monster sightings. Turns out an order of calamari from the Olive Garden snacked on the Soviet sludge and, four mutated generations of ink spitters later, one of these pissed off perch is on the constant prowl for canned protein shakes. Oh, and the criminal's cronies have hijacked a cruise ship and plan to rescue the radical rascal because, well, because it's Tuesday!
OH DEAR GOD DOES OCTOPUS SUCK! Man oh Manischewitz, what a bad, limp, drab, dumb dolt of a movie. On some insane level, you have to credit the makers for so blatantly and obviously ripping off any and every underwater/giant monster/Michael Bay overblown action mess ever made without care or conscious. And on some level you have to appreciate mashed yeast, just not as a means of cinematic amusement. We are dealing with a motion picture mentality that considers rendering the Octopi star out of a crossing between The Missiles of October with The Horror of Party Beach acceptable. Apparently, if we had just used some multi-lateral diplomacy and a more committed United Nations, we could have avoided all this life loss at the tentacles of our cranky cephalopod. But the "invention" of the dippy dye squirter is just one of the ill inducing aspects of the film. The scenic design consists of that triumvirate of action movie colors, neon vomit light green, cloudy urine yellow all bathed in a nauseating Cameron-esque blue gel. It is staggering when the effects of a kiddy cacophony like Sigmund and the Sea Monsters can be more scientifically accurate and visually entertaining. Grade school CGI and mental home miniatures just can't take the place of Burp and Slurp squealing "Hey Big Daddy!" The actors all look like vague amateur boardwalk portraits of the Hollywood superstars they substitute for, and the dialogue seems left over from Irwin Allen's stag party. It's as if this whole mess was conceived by some Korean knock-off motion picture factory, something with a name like Amalgamated Movies and Time Spanners, Ltd. You can just hear the sales pitch now:
Priority Numero Uno at our company is the total incorporation and all vacant, uninteresting and confusing film elements from better, high caliber action films into a single mediocre and mundane motion picture. Through our patented process of EER (entertainment and excitement removal), we recycle these choice bits of brain dead boredom and, along with the additional application of our trademarked Minute Maximizer Technology, we turn a 99 minute feature into a six week holiday in Cambodia. One prime example of our success is Octopus, a mish-mash of approximately 137.456 other, better action movies. Just a few of the films we filtered for your painful viewing pleasure are: The Abyss, Crimson Tide, The Hunt For Red October, Grey Lady Down, Run Silent, Run Deep, Das Boat, The Beast, The Deep, True Lies, The Saint, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, Speed II: Cruise Control, Die Hard, Die Hard II: Die Harder, Die Hard With A Vengeance, Leviathan, Deep Star Six, Deep Rising, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms...
So, you may be asking, why a 53? Shouldn't this film's fate be located somewhere around Sally Kirkland's jacked up skirt when it comes to a numerical rating? Well, it's true that the movie is wombat nasty, but the transfer, sound, and extras are actually pretty good and deserve some respect. We get a decent anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen image with just some minor compression issues during the numerous underwater scenes. For overall clarity and detail, the picture is good. On the aural level, there is a fairly immersive Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. It offers good separation in the submarine sequences and the bomb blasts rock the subwoofing house. There was one sequence, however, as divers are being attacked by the angry appetizer where the sound seems to drop out, almost completely, and a slight digital buzz is heard. It only lasted a few seconds, and may be indicative of an attempt at approximating a link-up malfunction within the film. Or it may be a mastering screw-up. Along with a decent trailer, the final fun feature is a 30-minute documentary that goes into some detail about the creation of the creature and boat effects in the film. You will smile when you see just how seriously these artists take the design of the Octopod, or the cruise ship's detailing (considering you know how rat crappy it looks in the finished film). Still, don't let the first class treatment of this DVD title fool you. Octopus reeks like a sand bar filled with fish kill on a warm summer's afternoon. Make sure you leave the beach before low tide. P.U.!
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Release Year: 2000
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* Making of Octopus Featurette