By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
I may have enjoyed “Underwater”
a lot more if I had been able to see much of what was going on under water. There’s nothing wrong with my eyes either. It’s just that this ocean drama is way too dark, murky and not all that exciting.
Directed by William Eubank, whose work includes “The Signal” and the 2013 crime thriller, “Broken City” with Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe, “Underwater” stars Kristen Stewart,
fresh off of last year’s flop, “Charlie’s Angels.”
Stewart plays a mechanical engineer named Norah who works aboard the Kepler Station mining rig, seven miles below the ocean’s surface. Norah looks the part. She’s smart, confident and brave. Yet, that calm demeanor quickly changes when the station is abruptly struck by something and water begins to spew everywhere. Norah rushes to alert the rest of the crew and tries to get them to safety.
She gets a big assist from systems programmer/manager Rodrigo (Mamoudou Athie, TV’s “Sorry for Your Loss”). But time is running out and so is their oxygen. They manage to locate their dazed captain (an underused Vincent Cassel, TV’s “Westworld”) along with other survivors; Liam Smith (John Gallagher Jr. TV’s “Modern Love”), his research assistant girlfriend Emily (Jessica Henwick, Upcoming “Godzilla vs. Kong”) and the weird, stuffed animal carrying Paul (T.J. Miller, “Deadpool 2”). Although after hearing a few of Paul’s lame jokes, they probably wish they would have left him underneath the rubble where they found him.
No one is laughing when the team discovers their only shot at survival entails donning diving suits and walking on the ocean floor so they can reach the Roebuck, a mining rig that may have escape pods. It’s an extraordinary task for sure because all sorts of things can go wrong and do. Also lurking within the deep, dark water are a bunch of toothy, sea monsters who aren’t vegan.
Unfortunately, it almost takes until the end of “Underwater” for things to lighten up and to get a clearer view of these familiar looking creatures.
Screenwriters Brian Duffield and Adam Cozad don’t deliver enough thrills and certainly not any new ones we haven’t seen in movies like “Alien” or even “47 Meters Down” for that matter. The latter film featured cheesy sharks, but it still managed to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Just when it seemed that Hollywood had turned the corner on the practice of dumping mediocre/bad movies in theaters during the month of January, “Underwater” rises to dispel that notion.
On Jan. 10 I'll be off the air for my movie segment on The Kitty O'Neal Show (KFBK 93.1 FM and 1530 AM) and headed to Los Angeles for the 25th Annual Critics' Choice Awards which air Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. (ET/PT) on the CW Network. Be sure to tune in as Eddie Murphy will be honored with "The Lifetime Achievement Award" and "The Irishman" and Once Upon A Time In Hollywood" will battle for "Best Picture." It's going to be a great show!
Take A Peek At This Trailer For "UNDERWATER"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC), The Alliance Of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.