Review: 'Dead Water' is a shipwreck waiting to happen

Posted September 17,2019 - 04:42 PM

I knew I shouldn't do it, but I fell for it again anyway. There's just something about seeing Judd Nelson's name that makes me want to see whatever film it is attached to. This time his name graced the cover art for Dead Water.

Do you know the old saying about judging a book by its cover? Well, it cuts both ways. Sometimes the cover is simply amazing only to lead to frustration when the film/book fails to live up to your heightened expectations.

And that's exactly what happened with Dead Water.

In the film, a relaxing getaway turns deadly when a mysterious pirate shows up to disturb the tropical bliss of a former Marine, his wife, and his rich yacht-owning friend. Of course, things aren't what they first appear and a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse unfolds over the clear waters of paradise.

When the two top-billed leads are Judd Nelson and Casper Van Dien, it doesn't too many brain cells to figure out where this ill-fated homage(?) to Dead Calm is heading. Unfortunately, it doesn't dive directly for Davy Jones' locker, instead, it uses the entire 85-minute running-time to bore the audience to death, or at the least a comatose state.

That said, the work turned in by Nelson is actually rather noteworthy. He seems to be the only in the small cast to realize that he's stuck in a terrible B movie and instead of moping around, he embraces the craziness with both arms. Let's face it Judd Nelson is a national treasure, so we should do everything in our power to protect him from rubbish like this.

Van Dien has a couple of interesting moments, but otherwise, he simply phones in his performance yet again. Whatever happened to Casper Van Dien? There was a time there (think Starship Troopers) when it seemed that his career was on an upward trajectory. Perhaps he should have passed on one or two of the five sequels to Starship Troopers.

I will say this though, the film really tempted me to take a vacation to the Virgin Islands. The water and beaches are spectacular and the filmmakers do a great job capturing its beauty. Even though the water is itself a bad character larger than life in the plot, if I was going to be stranded in open water, I'd want it to be the pristine ocean surround the Caribbean.

Unless you are a diehard fan of either Judd Nelson or Casper Van Dien, then there's really not much here to see that hasn't been done better a dozen times over already. I was really hoping to like this one, but it just didn't do it for me, but your mileage may vary.

Dead Water is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.