Thursday, 13 August 2009

Project UFO: The Phillip J. Roth Files

Dark Descent

‘‘Take a deep breath…It might be your last’’

Back to the undersea facility for UFO! If you remember Outland (1981) with Sean Connery, than you’ll know what to expect here. Actually, you may know most everything that happens. But Outland was a virtual remake of High Noon (1952), so I guess Connery and Outland had it coming.
Dean Cain stars as Will Murdack, a marshall in the Deep Submersible Division (eh?) who has come to clean ship so to speak. His first day on the job and there are naked women running screaming in the halls… this literally happens during his orientation. No kidding, we know that there is trouble beneath the waves for sure. Murdack takes action, killing one of the thugs responsible for the nearly glimpsed breasts, but leaves his brother, the psychopathic Vlad Kristov alive. Vlad swears revenge, announcing this intent by yelling NOOOOOOOO--naturally. Good stuff… Murdack continues on his evil bashing ways presumably, and his time to leave the facility, now cleaned up of course, has arrived. But a rash of recent suicides and a mystery drug has him puzzled. Seems there is something making workers go berserk in the Xyloban (that is what they call it)…and there also seems to be some kind of alien force crushing up people in graphic CGI rendered sequences. Ah, you can’t be underwater without at least one explosive decompression sequence…UFO doesn’t disappoint on that front. Little CGI men in suits go sploosh quite nicely.
And then, it’s full on High Noon in your moms pool (I mean at the bottom of the ocean) as the baddies return, the deputy leaves and the final third of the film is a shootout that features some neat CGI tricks (a bisection is always good in my book). Dean Cain leaping in slow motion included. Well, it goes down smooth enough.
The story is thin in spots, and runs into an issue with subplots being generated and then dropped before ANTYHING can happen with them. Murdack is claustrophobic…but so what? Know what, it never gets used! His family dies while he is off boffing another woman (hey it’s co-star Biliana Petrinska, I can dig it)…so he has some serious sexual issues we are told. Never went back to that either. Ah well…there is lots of shooting and action, so I forgot about all that anyhow. The joy of being a target market never ceases.

As seems to be the norm, a little something unique is on show. Our lead is an utter and unrepentant prick. Yes, it’s hard to get behind Dean Cain as the reportedly sexually dysfunctional claustrophobe who works in an enclosed space here. He seems to just be a snippy ass clown with little redeeming value, and I don’t think Dean is really trying to go above and beyond the material let’s say. Hey, if he got shot up, would I really have been sad. Nope ! Again though, one of the lures of low budget films like this is the chance to step away from the cookie cutter at times and give the audience a hero so un-likeable you want to see him explosively decompress! Great underwater effects as usual…those guys at UFO ips really have that software mastered.
Review David Zuzelo / Source USA NTSC DVD
Dark Descent (2002)
Director Mitchell Cox
With Dean Cain, Biliana Petrinska,
Jochen Nickel & William Zabka

1 comment:

  1. Never was UFO's best effort I think and it lacks in tension. But it's a good looking lowbudget-production and I like Dean Cain at least.