When it comes to bizarre encounters on the ocean floor, there’s Abyss and there’s everything else. Leviathan falls squarely in the everything else category. If you ask me it’s just a Thing rewrite someone decided was an acceptable alternative. Luckily the movie features an all-star cast full of the cream of the 80’s B list crop for our amusement. Led by Robocop himself, the roles they are known for are so iconic it’s difficult if not impossible to constantly be think of them in that context. Whether it’s Ghostbuster’s Winston being overly emotional or Top Gun’s Goose being girl crazy, it feels like a mild case of typecasting. There’s also a weird Kristie Alley look-a-like with the creepiest blue eyes you’ve ever seen.
There is really no point at all in discussing the plot of this film, but I’ll glaze over it. Some deep-sea miners find a sunken Russian ship which releases a blood thirsty monster in their outpost just days before they were to return to the surface. There was supposed to be some tension about the little guy versus the big corporation but it didn’t really work for me.
The movie never really has any chance of success between the bad dialogue and the worse acting. The poor acting is baffling given many of the actors’ resumes, but when push comes to shove the characters completely lack chemistry. There’s no real bonds between them. When one man encounters the monster after a particularly hammy moment by Goose, he starts lamenting the death of his “friend.” What baffled me was the complete and utter lack of establishment of this so-called friendship.
The movie also fails deliver in the death department. One character takes her own life for reasons never fully explained. The monster deaths seem contrived and clearly don’t carry the weight meant for them. But the most grievous of offenses is the lack of a death. The movie begins with the underwater miners returning from a successful day’s work when suddenly one of the worker’s pressure suits starts to fail. Everybody scrambles to get the guy to safety and later Goose describe the death of a coworker on another job when his suit failed his entire body was forced into his helmet by the water pressure. What seems like hours later the plucky band of characters is fighting off the monster and for reasons I won’t go into they feel the need to get into their diving suits. Unfortunately none of them fail and we are robbed of a potentially spectacular special effect. This is a blatant violation of Checkhov’s gun.
Speaking of the mining operation, the movie was apparently set in the near future with fancy computers and diving suits. However what surprised me was the types of mining equipment needed for a manned deep-sea mining operation. When the actual mining is going on the miners use just a few hand drills and explosives to expose silver and suck it up in big tubes. But later on we’re made aware of their full arsenal. For some reason the miners need chainsaws of ever shape and size imaginable, and at least two flamethrowers. Yes. That’s right. Underwater mining in the future requires flamethrowers. They’re not even special underwater flamethrowers. They’re just big bulky conventional flamethrowers. Even if they served some unlikely purpose, these guys are in a pressurized capsule at the bottom of the ocean. This is the sort of oxygen rich environment in which fire tends to be disastrous.
I’d like to tell you this movie has some redeeming qualities that make it mildly entertaining on some level, but the fact of the matter is the movie is a complete and utter waste of my time and yours. Unless you’re serving life in prison. Then I suppose this would adequately fill an hour and a half of your time.