DVD REVIEW: BLACK SEA / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: KEVIN MACDONALD / SCREENPLAY: DENNIS KELLY / STARRING: JUDE LAW, JODIE WHITTAKER, BEN MENDELSOHN, SCOOT MCNAIRY / RELEASE DATE: APRIL 13TH
Black Sea starts out promising in the first act, but becomes a predictable, clichéd amalgamation of submarine movies we’ve all seen before during the second and third.
Captain Robinson (Law) is fired from his submarine pilot position with a major deep-sea salvage and recovery company. With job prospects nil for his skills of thirty years and facing a life of flipping burgers, he meets up with a mate in a local pub who tells him of a sunken, World War II German U-boat located in the Black Sea carrying two tons of gold.
After meeting with a shady investor who will finance the salvage for 40% of the take, Robinson hires a motley mix of British and Russians who are experts in their jobs and purchases a beat-up, rusted-out, mothballed Russian sub for the mission.
Avoiding the Russian navy during their search, tensions build between the Brits and Russians creating chaos aboard the ship. To make matters worse, a careless act causes an explosion crippling the sub leaving it on an underwater reef.
Director Macdonald keeps a good pace with a weak story. A ping pong, flip-flop of illogical to logical events during the course of the film gives it an uneven feeling. One moment that comes to mind is when they enter the German sub and there is air, but can’t take their masks off due to the poisonous, chlorine gas from the sub’s defunct batteries that has permeated the interior. Makes sense. In the same scene, they find several of the skeletal crew that had resorted to cannibalism to stay alive. Surely they’d have run out of air before that would have happened. Plus the sub wasn’t that far down so they could have used the sub’s escape system.
The set interiors are well created and have a claustrophobic feeling to them. The visual effects are good. But overall, you’d be better off watching the rare, German 1933 film, Morgenrot, Sam Fuller’s Hell and High Water or for adventure fans, read the Mercenary Sea comic book series.
Avoid this dive.