HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

BLACK OPS -- movie review by porfle

BLACK OPS, aka "Deadwater" (2007) begins on an old WWII battleship that's being used as a "floating Abu Ghraib" in the Persian Gulf, when suddenly, during the interrogation of a captured terrorist leader, an unknown force of tremendous ferocity attacks from out of nowhere and slaughters most of the crew.  Captain John Willets (Lance Henriksen) and his commandos are sent to investigate and begin to die horribly one by one as they try to uncover the secret of their unseen enemy. 

I love both horror movies and military-type action flicks, but by cramming these two great tastes together you don't always get a Reese's cup.  Sometimes you just get a tedious, barely-coherent mess that doesn't serve either genre very well.  BLACK OPS starts out looking as though it might develop into a passable, though cheesy action movie, but when the apparently supernatural elements begin to emerge, it just gets sillier and sillier.  It also gets confusing--during most of the climactic scenes I couldn't figure out exactly what was going on, and the rest of the time I didn't really care.

The briefing scene at the beginning is promising, with Henriksen as the grizzled old soldier and James Russo as Commander Combs, who tasks him with the job of boarding the ship and finding out why communications with it have been cut off.  Then there's the usual hup-hup gung-ho stuff with the commandos rope-dropping from helicopters onto the ship and scoping out the situation.  They find a few survivors, including Captain Willets' swabby son Colin (Gary Stretch) and an engineer who is put to work getting the ship's engines running before they drift into hostile waters.  Before long, though, the story turns into a stalk-and-kill fest that just gets less interesting and plausible as it goes along.

Gorehounds may enjoy the sight of numerous body parts and other gruesome evidence of the attacks, and sure enough, the only female member of the team (Katherine Randolph, JARHEAD) ends up taking a shower somewhere along the way.  The story's last shred of credibility finally goes overboard when the secret behind the killings is revealed to be something right out of an old 40s pulp magazine.  I won't give it away, but I kept expecting the WWII-era Captain America to show up and square off against the dastardly foe. 

In more capable hands, this shipbound slasher flick might have yielded a few grins, but as it is, BLACK OPS is a turgid, dreary affair with little to offer besides a couple of old pros (Henriksen, Russo) eking out a paycheck and a story that should've been torpedoed before it left the dock.

Buy it at

No comments: