Many years back, the makers of the Friday the 13th
franchise decided something new was needed to boost the flagging saga of
Jason Voorhees. They decided to combine two separate plot outlines, one
which had Jason running amok on an ocean going vessel, the other which had
him setting foot in Manhattan. The resulting poor film was released as Friday
the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, and it seems to have
inspired the makers of Octopus, in as much as they combined two
different plot outlines for movies in order to make one unwieldy whole.
I wonder if it went like this: Two idea men go before
the studio head with pitches for film. One is a giant monster on the
rampage opus about a mutant octopus, the other an action-adventure
espionage drama about the capture of a terrorist and his transportation to
America to stand trial. The studio head likes both ideas, so much so that
he decides to combine them into one film, also throwing in a smidgen of
that ghastly staple of the macho posturing BS genre, the wiseass
A rookie CIA agent actually gets the drop on Europe's
number one terrorist after the man blows up the American Embassy in
Bulgaria. In order to stop his cohorts from rescuing him, CIA boy will be
taking the terrorist to America via a submarine, that just so happens to
be captained by a washed up and disgraced Gulf War vet. Also along for the
ride is a sexy (well, actually rather goofy looking) lady marine
biologist. She just so happens to be horny. A horny marine biologist is
not something you see every day, but trust me, her act gets tiresome very
quickly. We get an introduction to the tart during a round of strip poker.
She wins and desperately attempts to pull the pants off of her opponent,
the sub's token black character (aka Octopoid chow).
The hijinx are broken up by our good captain and CIA
boy, robbing the horny marine biologist of her chance to see a black man
naked. CIA boy gets the pleasure of bunking with Ms. Goofy Looks and
hilarity ensues. Well, not really. The crew of the sub now set sail. Did I
mention the terrorist's friends are looking to spring him before he
reaches American soil? (It's never established where the bad guys come
from, but their accents suggest Eastern Europe.) They have concocted a
wily plan, they will infiltrate a cruise ship as passengers and crew and
take the boat over when they have pinpointed their buddy’s location. The
terrorist will then escape from the sub via the handy dandy mini sub and
be reunited with his crew of killers. Problem is, no one reckoned on the
appearance of a gigantic, mutant octopus. You can guess the rest.
Well, almost. The filmmakers toss in a couple of fairly
interesting ideas concerning the giant mollusk. It seems he, she or it is
the latest in a long line of mutants dating back from the aftermath of the
Cuban missile crisis. Turns out a Russian submarine, hauling nuclear fuel
to Cuba, is sunk by American torpedoes. Over time the fuel leaked
infecting a family of octopi (but strangely, nothing else). It's great to
see that in the year 2000, filmmakers are still using the tried and tested
"atomic radiation" bit, but that’s not all. It also turns out
that the Russians were ferrying a biological warfare compound that only
added to the mutation. It gave the octopus anemia no less, so the big
fellow must eat and eat in order to get his daily allowance of iron.
Meanwhile, several members of the crew totally flip out after they become
trapped on the bottom of the ocean at submarine crushing depth, which is
exactly what they do in real life. It's a surprisingly realistic touch for
a movie so silly.
The macho posturing BS one-liners are tossed out the
window once the monster gets down to business, but sadly they return in
the movie's climax. You know, if the biggest octopus of all time were
after me, I would be more concerned with survival than with spewing lines
so poor that they wouldn't even be uttered by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Also,
Octopus takes a nod from Alien, Aliens, Deep Star Six
and Leviathan (among others) in the "we have to get out of
here before the thing blows up, we made it, thank God it blew up the
monster, oh no it didn't blow up the monster" sweepstakes. Yes, the
battered sub is about to blow in less then thirty minutes, the heroes have
escape on the mini sub. They do of course and it
appears that old Eight Arms has been blown to hell and back in the
backwash (the octopus was attached to the sub when it blew), but don't you
know, he didn't die after all and mounts a climactic attack on the
terrorist controlled cruise ship. Strangely enough, the mini sub, loaded
with a terrorist bomb is what finally destroys the Octopus. It's strange,
a mini sub carrying a conventional bomb blows the creature up, yet a
nuclear powered sub that goes up in a nuclear explosion fails to put a
dent in him. Guess they reached the end of the road and had to end the
film some way.
The special effects were surprisingly good, far better
than the squid effects seen in The Beast. The performances are
okay, it's amazing that the actors could keep a straight face while
spouting the tagline dialogue ("It's sushi time"). All in all, Octopus
is at the very least so bad that it is enjoyable and does have the odd
surprise. You could do worse, but it looks like we will still have to wait
for someone to give us a really good killer cephalopod epic.
My initial criticism of Octopus, which I predict
and hope to be the lamest of the three movies we’ll looking at in this
round of forums, is that
our title menace doesn’t make an appearance until roughly halfway
through the events. Instead, we begin with a weird ‘origin’ segment
explaining the beast’s existence, followed by a way too long and
discursive sequence introducing our main human characters. This decision, I
assume, was the result of a limited effects budget. The
producers probably decided to save their bucks for the end of the picture,
rather than spacing out appearances by the creature throughout the film.
This is certainly understandable, although the lameness of the
intermediary material is a bad call. In any case, I personally would have
centered on the Octopus from the get-go, using the Beast from 20,000
Fathoms model. Start with a set-piece featuring the monster doing something
spectacular, like, say, destroying a small ship or fishing trawler, and
then going from there.
We open during the Cuban Missile Crisis, which I’m
sure is meant to lend the film subtext or something, although regarding
what I’m sure I don’t know. The Soviet nuclear sub Leningrad (snort)
is breaking the American embargo by attempting to land barrels of nuclear material to Cuba. Now, I’m not a technologically adept person, so
perhaps nuclear weapons fuel is a liquid that can be transported in
barrels, but that’s a new one on me. In any case, the sub has been
spotted and is being ordered to surrender. Its captain refuses to
surrender, though, and the Leningrad is torpedoed and sank. (This seems to
me the kind of thing we’d have heard about.) The nuclear cargo leaks
from the sinking ship and…
We cut to Sofia, Bulgaria, in the present. Here we meet
our wet-behind-the-ears hero, Roy Turner, and his fat, over-the-hill
mentor Henry. They are CIA agents stationed to the American Embassy,
Turner the naive paper pushing analyst, Henry the experienced field agent
waiting for his overdue retirement. (Three guesses what happens to him.)
They stop by to talk with a local office worker and her *groan*
Precociously Cute Young Daughter. They are designated victims, as will be
Henry, so as to give Turner a personal stake in the proceedings. See, that’s
the kind of thing they teach you in screenwriting class.
Their assassin is Casper, who is, inevitably, the Most
Wanted Terrorist in the World, having bombed, we’re told, seven or nine
or something embassies. Even after the guy’s blown up all his friends,
though, Turner proves unable to shoot him. This will become an extremely
annoying recurrent plot devise. Instead, Henry incapacitates him with a
dying shot. This whole seemingly extraneous bit -- this is a giant octopus
movie, remember? – serves to provide the film with one of those tiresome
Dr. Smith characters. You know, someone who will actively work against the
efforts of the heroes, thus increasing ‘suspense.’ As you’d suspect,
our biggest problem with this character is that there are about half a
dozen moments in the film in which you just can’t believe somebody just
wouldn’t shoot him and get it over with. Even more annoyingly, Casper is
one of those textbook post-Die Hard terrorists who are purportedly
For extremely silly plot purposes, the government
decides that the only way to transport Casper is via The USS Roosevelt, a
nuclear submarine. Inevitably, though, the sub is captained by one Jack
Shaw, who’s a maverick yada yada. In real life, I don’t think there
are actually too many maverick nuclear submarine captains, but there you
go. Especially weird is that he was then given another command after
"grounding his last submarine." Furthermore, Turner is, of
course, the only agent anywhere about. Man, those Intelligence budget
cutbacks are really starting to show. Then there’s how Shaw and Turner
don’t like each other at first, but eventually, well, you know the rest.
We cut to the sub’s bridge, where Hot Female
Scientist (is there any other kind?) Lisa is playing strip poker with
Brickman, the ship’s Black Executive Officer (is there any other kind?).
Bad rap music plays on in the background, via a boom box. Meanwhile, none
of the crew are tending to their jobs, which involve driving a nuclear
submarine, as they’re all crowded around the ‘action.’ Again,
the XO is playing strip poker, in front of the crew,
on the bridge of his ship. While being the chief officer on deck!
This might be the single most retarded scene I’ve witnessed in some
time. Inevitably (notice how often that word is popping up?), Shaw and
Turner enter just as Baker is about to lose his skivvies. Of course, Shaw
winks at the whole incident. Ha, ha, life in the Navy today.
Lisa’s on board so as to provide the film with a
Scientist and a slutty, attractive female character. As an excuse, she’s
here to examine various changes in The Devil’s Eye, an area in which
dozens of ships have disappeared. (Hint: Check out the film’s title
again.) "Makes the Bermuda Triangle look like a duck pond," she
notes, leading one to hope that she’s better at science than analogies.
Anyway, Turner ‘humorously’ ends up bunking with Lisa. This is
suggested by Lisa, of course, as The Inevitable Sultry Saxophone Music
plays and all the men in the room gulp at the idea of sharing a room with
this hot number. Har har, my sides. Shaw seems to dislike this idea (gee,
I wonder why), but apparently feels that his position as, you know, Captain
is inadequate in terms of actually making a decision or anything, so Lisa
gets her way.
We cut to Turner -- now wearing a Naval uniform, what
the heck? -- in the storeroom where Casper is imprisoned. (??) They engage
in one of those Hero and the Eerie Evil Mastermind conversations, albeit,
it must be said, not a very good example of one. Back in Bulgaria,
meanwhile, Casper’s Evil Dyke-ish Female Sidekick (is there any other
kind?) is provided with some photographs of Turner and the Roosevelt. I’m
not sure how this will help her rescue Casper from a submarine, but there
you go. These terrorists seems rather well informed, even having the
Roosevelt’s travel route, but, you know, we have to get the plot going.
Their plan, which is rather silly (surprise), apparently involves seizing
control of an ocean liner and tracking the Roosevelt until they get their
chance to affect a rescue. Which is a rather moronic plan, but there you
Down below, the sub (after an excruciating ‘character’
scene with Turner and Lisa) is finally ‘mysteriously’ attacked.
However, if you really think about it, and consider the film’s title,
you can probably figure out what’s happening. A diving team is
dispatched to scout out the damage, with, predictably, predictable
results. For some reason, presumably because all of the running time left,
this isn’t followed by another immediate attack. Meanwhile, Casper ‘forces’
Turner to free him by grabbing a crewmember as a hostage and threatening
to kill him. This, to my memory, makes Turner the single most moronic ‘hero’
in cinema history. How would you even think about freeing the guy under
these circumstances? They’re on a nuclear warship, for Pete’s
sake! Is this really a place you want a terrorist running around on?
The Octopus attacks again and causes the ship to crash
into the seafloor. (Inevitably – there’s that word again – the ship
is left teetering on the edge of a deep underwater crevasse. In fact, I
wrote that sentence before the crash was even complete, I was so sure it
would end up that way.) These events cause the bridge crew to completely
panic, which I didn’t buy at all. These guys are trained to participate
in nuclear warfare, you know. I mean, cripes, has anyone connected with
this film even seen a film about submarines, much less read a book
about one or anything? This thing ranks in verisimilitude somewhere below
a GI Joe cartoon.
Speaking of, Lisa gets captured by Casper. Being a
total freakin’ coward, she manages to break into the secure section of
the ship’s mainframe (!!) and helps Casper launch a positioning buoy.
This, needless to say, is the signal for the team of terrorists to grab
control of cruise ship. (We don’t actually see this occurring,
presumably because a lot of people would have gotten killed and the
producers wouldn’t want us to think about how Lisa was partly
responsible for the carnage.) Being the kind of movie this is, the two
people who react to the launch are Turner and Captain Shaw. Nope, no
security crew needed on this boat. The situation is resolved, for
the moment (the whole point of a Dr. Smith character is to keep causing
trouble over and over again), when Casper allows Shaw to get close enough
to bonk him on the head with his pistol. I guess just shooting him seemed
The launching of the buoy startles the Octopus and it
begins smashing the Roosevelt up with its tentacles. This causes the boat
to plunge further into the crevasse. The crew panics further, not being
very well trained, I guess. The submarine service ain’t what she used to
be. In the confusion, Casper escapes so as to formulate further Dr.
Smithery. With nearly everyone dead (and Our Villain eventually
recaptured), Lisa takes the time to examine a water sample from the nearby
Leningrad and discovers that the barrels contained a synthetic version of
Anthrax. (??!!) Exactly why a germ warfare agent was being sent to Castro
is left to our imaginations. Anyway, the released agent affected the
ancestors of the Octopus and eventually our star was the result. There.
Now that we ‘understand’ how the Octopus came to be, I feel much
better. Don’t you?
The plan is to lure the Octopus to stay with the sub
via a protein powder (don’t ask). Meanwhile, Our Heroes, and Dr. Smith,
skate topside in the ship’s submersible, which, of course, all nuclear
submarines have been equipped since Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.
So they go trailing the stuff down a passageway, Brickman takes the
opportunity to spout some lame trash talk because, you know, he’s the
Black Guy, even if he is the presumably highly educated Executive Officer
of a nuclear submarine. Then, in a scene sure to inspire *cough*
shock in the heart of any genre movie fan, The Black Guy falls victim to a
tentacle. Who’da thunk? Anyway, after surmounting some boring and
schematically scripted obstacles, the submersible is launched. Despite
sitting right near the exploding nuclear reactor, though, the Octopus is
unscathed. (As is the submersible, so that’s fair I guess.)
Making it to the surface, they believe themselves saved
when they spot the cruise ship right nearby. Of course, Casper’s team
has grabbed control of the ship, and Casper engages in some Snidely
Whiplash-esque taunting as he’s released. A helicopter approaches the
ship, coming to pick up Casper. Oddly, it seems to be flying around during
the day, although it’s twelve minutes from the ship, where it’s
nighttime out. Also, I don’t think the copter looks big enough to hold
all the various members of the terrorist team. Since they plan to blow up
the ship after their departure, I’m not sure how that would work.
Meanwhile, as you’d expect, the Octopus makes an appearance and attacks
the ship. It proceeds to attack only terrorists (that’s handy), and
oddly seems to have a lot more difficultly damaging the cruise ship then
it did the sub. I mean, merely by hanging its presumably gigantic mass off
the ship’s bow it should be dragging it down or sometime.
Casper makes it up to the waiting ‘copter because
Turner, for the upteenth time, refuses to shoot him. Suddenly, just
when we most expect it, the Octopus takes things into its own
tentacles. Bye, Casper. Meanwhile, Shaw has failed to dismantle the
bomb. He now plans to ram the submersible into the Octopus and let the
bomb kill the beast, who, need I remind anyone, earlier survived
sitting atop an exploding nuclear reactor. Whatever. Anyway, Turner
instead goes, because he needs to reaffirm his Hero Credentials after
failing to kill the Bad Guy over and over again. He then, in one of
the most retarded ‘happy endings’ I’ve ever seen, Turner bobs up
to the surface alive despite being shown to be in the submersible
literally six seconds before an explosion humungous enough to rip the
Octopus to shreds occurred. Left to our imaginations is how he exited
the vessel while it was underwater and being grasped by the Octopus,
as well as a million other details. Whatever.
The Soviet sub captain remarks to the effect that, "If we are
caught with this cargo, it will start World War III." But
an American sub sinking a Soviet sub wouldn't?
- I think everyone knows that I bow to few in my hated of Communism
and its attendant evils, but the bit with the Soviet captain shooting
his defiant first mate – inevitably named Dmitry -- is a tad over
- The prologue is in Russian translated with subtitles. Here’s a
clue for those doing such work in the future, though. When a crewman
of a sea-going vessel addresses his commanding officer, ‘Captain’
should be spelled with a capitol ‘C.’ Duh. Also, the first word is
a sentence, such as, and I’m quoting, "we’ve lost
control," should also be capitalized
- Given the circumstance, I’d have expected the American sub to give
another warning or two before sinking a Soviet warship.
- Even under these circumstances, I find it funny to hear a Soviet
sailor yelling "Oh, my God!" I’m surprised the ‘c’aptain
didn’t shoot him too.
- Amusingly, the barrels of toxic material rolling down to the
seafloor reminded me of the beginning of The Horrors of Party Beach.
- Uh, could that young woman really hear Henry whistling at her from
across the street and up on that balcony?
- If this is the level of ‘banter’ we can expect, we’re in
- The villain is introduced via an extremely dubious ‘old lady’
disguise, the kind of thing you see in Sherlock Holmes movies where
everyone in the audience recognizes that it’s Holmes in a costume
but everyone in the movie remains fooled. His assumed voice, in
particular, is atrocious, along the lines of John Cleese and Graham
Chapman doing one of those Monty Python drag bits. Inevitably, though,
Henry and Turner walk right past him.
- Sorry, guys, but the strung out Waiting for The Bomb To Go Off scene
isn’t suspenseful, it’s boring. Get on with it!
- I don’t know what kind of bomb was in that bag, but it was the
very definition of an Atomic Grenade. Whoosh! And does every explosion
have to result in tremendous fireballs? What was in the Embassy that
was so flammable? And why does it set off a huge series of chain
reaction explosions all over the building. Doesn’t anyone understand
how a bomb works?
- If this guy’s the World’s Most Dreaded Terrorist, how come he
can’t out-run a wheezing sixty-five year old fat man? This sequence,
by the way, is pretty much the definition of Unintended Comedy. I
especially like how the Embassy building goes up in this gigantic
explosion, yet the chase almost instantly heads into crowds that in no
way appear to have heard anything. If an explosion that big really
happened, you’d hear it for miles, much less like half a block away,
as shown here. And how come all the crowd noises in Bulgaria are in
- Atomic Grenade #2!
- Hero Can’t Shoot the Villain Scene #1.
- Uh, he’d have already been out of pistol range by now.
- OK, even buying that they sent a nuclear submarine into that inlet,
the stock footage doesn’t even match. In the far shots with Turner,
there is land all around, but in the ‘surfacing of the sub’ shot
there’s only water in the background. Nice work.
- Why is Casper locked in a storeroom and held down with handcuffs?
(Well, actually, so he can escape, but you know…) Are you telling me
this gigantic submarine doesn’t have a brig area of any sort?
- The Strip Poker on the Bridge Scene. It must be seen to be believed.
- Why is Lisa such a whore? Oops, I mean slut. Oops, I mean she’s
comfortable with herself and in charge of her sexuality. Never mind,
forget I brought it up.
- How did that sailor end up with Lisa’s panties on his head in the
aftermath of the strip poker match, when she’s still wearing her
- Why did they give that female terrorist photos of the Roosevelt? So
she wouldn’t confuse it with some other nuclear submarine?
- By the way, the plan to transport Casper by submarine was impromptu.
That means that the terrorists had a standing contingency plan waiting
in case their boss was ever captured and then shipped to the States in
a nuclear submarine. Now that’s being prepared.
- Why would the teams of terrorists have "orders" (from
whom?) to blow up the liner after Casper has been saved? Why, because
they’re EEEE-vil, of course.
- You know, I’m no longer buying the idea that anyone with a laptop
can "log into the ship’s main computer system," or
something to that effect. This is just starting to seem like extremely
lazy writing. Why not give them a magic wand while you’re at it?
- Why is only this octopus affected by radiation? In other words, why
isn’t anything bigger? Wouldn’t other types of sea life be
similarly embiggened? (Actually, we know there’s another octopus
around, too, since they’ve already started working on Octopus 2.)
- I think Turner and Lisa are going to fall in love. See, first she
almost accidentally stripped in front of him, then she dropped a bra
in front of him, then they clunked heads reaching for it. With this
much ‘comedy’ between them, they must be soul mates.
- Uh, oh. Lisa just asked what Turner’s ‘story’ was. Prepare to
be beaten mercilessly with the Exposition Stick.
- Why doesn’t Turner have to stow his sidearm in the Weapon’s
Locker? What, he just tosses on the desk in his bunkroom? What the
- Why are all those glass bottles in the storeroom unsecured? What the
heck kind of ship is this, anyway?
- Don’t civilians need some sort of permission before running up
onto the bridge of a nuclear warship? Oh, never mind.
- An, the inevitable Aliens rip-off. The diving team is seen to
die via a series of confused TV monitor images relayed to the bridge.
- By the way, why didn’t the Octopus trigger off a sonar signal when
it initially attacked the ship. And how did it disable the rudders
without getting cut to shreds by the propeller?
- Ah, the not so inevitable Lethal Weapon II rip-off, when
Casper escapes from his handcuffs by dislocating his thumb (?!) and
slipping them off. This sorta gets back to my question about a brig.
Good thing he’s not being guarded, either.
- I know it’s a venerable movie cliché, but guys in the military do
not trade humorous trash talk with their superior officers over
- Just because an audio signal can’t be identified doesn’t mean it’s
"nothing." No sonar man would describe it as such, either.
- If the object isn’t moving, as we’re told, why is it suddenly on
the opposite side of the sonar scope as from shown before?
- Why are the passageways in the sub so foggy? I know it looks *cough*
- Hey, Shaw won’t radio for help! He’s just like Quint in Jaws!
("We’re going to need a better movie!") And, hey, Quint
was played by Robert Shaw! I get it!
- The following statement is heard over the PA: "Agent Turner,
report to the brig." Uh, dudes, just because you stick a guy into
a storeroom, that doesn’t make it a ‘brig.’
- Ah, the pathos over the dead divers. It’s Brickman’s big moment
before he becomes the film’s Designated Black Casualty.
- Jeez, somebody get that mouthy civilian off the bridge. (Why do I
get the horrible feeling that we’re intended to do that "You
go, girl!" thing?)
- Wait, so you can access the ship’s records directly off the
mainframe? Gee, that’s a good system.
- How is Casper making himself foam at the mouth? Can he do that at
command, like when he dislocated his thumb?
- Why isn’t Turner sounding an alarm after Casper grabs that
crewmember? And again, why aren’t there any security officers or MPs
or anything on this ship?
- OK, and those remote mines going off right on top of the Octopus
didn’t harm it, why exactly?
- After being freed, Casper senselessly kills his hostage anyway.
(Which isn’t exactly making Turner look like a Brainiac or
anything.) Why? Because he’s EEE-vil, of course.
- So the Octopus is finally attacking the sub. It’s about time. I
mean, why are we watching this thing anyway.
- FYI: Professional terrorists plotting to seize a cruise ship will
leave bullets wrapped up in their bed sheet. Then, when a maid finds
them, she will be shot while the doorway out into the hall is gaping
- Ah, the inevitable Scientist Defending the Monster scene. Just in
case Lisa wasn’t looking stupid enough. What is Shaw supposed to do,
let it kill all his men?
- Why is Turner yelling at Shaw? Is Shaw the one who made him a
completely spineless retard?
- So the Roosevelt is stranded at crush depth after being attacked by
a giant octopus. Upon being informed about Casper, though, he personally
joins in the hunt. Cripes, aren’t there any security protocols on
- Upon learning that a homicidal maniac is running around the ship,
Lisa, of course, heads off to a secluded (on a submarine!) computer
lab set up, naturally, in another storeroom. The point being, of
course, that she’d be allowed to head off alone. Again, who
wrote this silly crap?! Needless to say, she no sooner starts
taking her shirt off – don’t ask – then Casper the Unfriendly
Terrorist shows up. Boo!
- Why did two people on the IMDB opine that Carolyn Lowery, the
actress playing Lisa, was good? Because, frankly, she’s actually
pretty bad. Not as bad as the guy playing Casper, but still, she’s
none to hot at this whole acting thing. (Of course, Meryl Streep would
look stupid with this material.) Maybe the people who wrote those
comments were friends of hers.
- So Lisa agrees to help Casper get into the ship’s computer system
if he won’t kill her. My, there’s an awful lot of people to root
for in this picture.
- Wouldn’t a guy who was experiencing a nervous breakdown on the
bridge be relieved of duty and sent to the medical bay? His sitting
there crying doesn’t exactly seem designed to help morale or
- Uh, superior officers on an elite warship tend not to call their
subordinates ‘baby,’ and ‘man,’ I’m thinking.
- How the hell would Lisa know the security codes that would allow her
to ready a buoy for launch? Oh, wait, that’s right, she’s a scientist.
So she probably just figured them out.
- OK, why exactly are we still supposed to consider Lisa our heroine?
Of course, she’s certainly the equal of Turner as the hero. So there’s
that in her favor, if little else.
- Hero Can’t Shoot the Villain Scene #2. Good work, Turner, we’re
all rooting for you.
- Why does Turner shoot dirty looks at Shaw after the latter knocks
out Casper? Is it because this makes Turner look even more
ineffectual? Who picked Turner to be the hero of the piece, anyway?
- OK, this I don’t believe! Get this: Shaw captures the mass
murderer who Turner earlier set free. At this point, Shaw tells Casper
that he’d now better shut up and do what he’s told. Turner reacts
to this by telling Shaw to settle down! Again, Turner,
tells Shaw, to settle down. Are you getting this?
- After being warned not to move, Casper pretends to stumble and
launches the buoy. At this point, I just couldn’t believe that Shaw
would fail to shoot him.
- Ah, Brickman is assigned the inevitable enraged "Is that all
you got?!" duties, ala Hudson is, my gosh, Aliens
- Since no one’s paying attention to Casper, why doesn’t he just
- Oh, wait, he did.
- How is the Octopus getting his tentacle into the passageways of the
ship without causing explosive decompression of the ship, which is now
well below crush depth? For that matter, if the tentacle is reaching
into the passage, it seems to be it should be more than half flooded.
- You know, if those bulkhead screws were going to burst, they’d fly
across the passage and cut Our Heroes to ribbons. They wouldn’t just
fall to the floor. Also, those jets of water would probably cut them
in half, given the depths they’re at.
- Hero Can’t Shoot the Villain Scene #3. In this case, by ‘the
villain’ I mean the tentacle of the octopus, not Casper. That’s
right, Turner can’t even bring himself to shoot into the tentacle
that’s threatening to drag Shaw off to a horrible death. You know, I
think even an Amish guy might cut loose with a couple of shots under
- Because she’s got Kick-Ass Grrrl Power, or something, Lisa
grabs a gun and fires through the cascading jets of water in the dimly
lit passageway of the rocking ship and shoots the tentacle grabbing
the thrashing Shaw’s leg. Wow, good shooting, Miss. Oddly, the shots
cause the tentacle to withdraw. I don’t know, I’d have thought a
creature that shrugs off torpedoes would not be much affected by .45
caliber pistol cartridges. But what do I know?
- Unsurprisingly, Lisa (who earlier argued for understanding for the
Octopus) is also given a Kick-Ass Grrrl Power Cool Bon Mot. Firing at
the tentacle, she yells "It’s sushi time!" For somebody
showing such coolness under fire, she sure caved in to Casper’s
demand quickly enough. Would a little consistency in regards to
characterization be too much to ask for?
- With everyone on the ship dead except for Brickman, Shaw, Turner and
Lisa – and Casper, of course, who I’m sure is alive even if an
entire crew actually trained to work on a submarine is dead – and
after being told that the boat’s reactor is unstable, and with that
pesky killer giant Octopus still around somewhere, Our Intrepid
Heroine asks for a water sample to be taken after a "remote
camera" finds the barrels from the wreck of the Leningrad. Well,
everyone needs a hobby, I guess.
- What killed all the guys in the engine room? And why isn’t it
affecting Turner and Shaw? If it was a blast, why hasn’t the hull
- In classic Horror Movie fashion, Turner and Shaw decide to split up,
despite knowing that Casper is running around somewhere. What are they
going to do if they find him? You can’t tell me they’re planning
to take him with them when they leave the boat, are you?
- C’mon, why is Turner bothering to carry that gun? He couldn’t
even bring himself to shoot at the Octopus, for Pete’s sake!
- You know, Casper’s pretty crappy at hand-to-hand fighting. Good
thing for him that his opponent is Turner.
- Hero Can’t Shoot the Villain Scene #4. That’s right, for the third
time, Turner gets the drop on Casper and fails to shoot him. Good
- Then Shaw shows up with cuffs. That’s right, they do intend
to continue risking their lives by trying to save Casper, too. Nice
- The Octopus turns out to be anemic. (Don’t ask – and I love how
one water sample test allowsThe Scientist to accurately theorize so
much about the nature of the beast.) So they plan to distract it
though it’s immense hunger for meat while they escape in a
submersible – one that, presumably, will operate at a depth that
should purportedly be crushing in the hulls of the Roosevelt as we
speak. At first I thought they were actually going to have them use
all the corpses lying around as their bait, which would make a grisly
kind of sense (and which was actually used in Up From the Depths).
But no, I guess that would be too gross. Instead, Lisa has been
provided with a magic jar of nutrient powder that will serve the same
purpose. It’s called Proto-Life (!) and can undoubtedly be found for
sale at your local GNC store.
- Exactly how do they know the exact minute that the reactor’s
going to blow? Does it have a digital readout or something?
- "She smells [the powder]!"? Through the steel bulkheads of
the sub? Whatever.
- The provoked hungry Octopus proceeds to knock the sub down another
level. Since the boat was at its official crush depth like fifty or
sixty feet ago, why is it still extant?
- Also, isn’t there something else this thing could be eating? I
mean, it must mass tens of tons. What does it live on besides the
occasional sunken ship, especially given it’s constant need to eat?
And why hasn’t it been systematically ripping into various sections
of the boat looking for bodies? You’d think after sinking dozens of
ships in the last couple years (as we were informed earlier in the
movie) it’d be better at this.
- Ah, the inevitable Poseidon Adventure rip-off. Watch our
character swim through the flooded corridors of the boat, searching
for air. Where’s Shelley Winters when you need her? She could keep
the Octopus satisfied for hours.
- What kind of plan is "If I’m not back in thirty seconds,
assume I made it and follow me." Huh?
- Huh, Casper can’t swim? So Turner has to lug him around? Listen,
could you just shoot the guy and get things over with.
- Oh, brother, did Lisa really need to strip down to her
panties here? I know, it sorta makes sense, but only because she was
wearing such a comically tight skirt to start with. Still, I’m not
sure the close-up of her ass was totally necessary.
- There’s goes The Black Guy. I’m still shocked, shocked
that he didn’t make it.
- How come when the submersible has problems launching it’s Lisa who
explains things? Wouldn’t Shaw know more about the submersible,
being a submarine Captain and all?
- "It’s going to go in twenty seconds!" What, now you can
tell when the reactor’s going up down to the very second?! And if
they launch from the sight of a nuclear explosion five seconds before
detonation, would they really make it very far? After all, the
submersible is currently below the crush depth rating for the actual
submarine. Wouldn’t any battering at this point cause it to implode
(which it should be doing anyway)?
- Again, it’s Lisa who gets the submersible moving (by smacking the
control panel, of course). And why is she piloting it? Why is
submarine Captain Shaw so useless, again? Is it because he
lacks Kick-Ass Grrrl Power? I guess.
- Why is the sun brightly shining through the water as they approach
the surface, but it’s the dark of night out when they come up ten
- You creeps. It takes a lot of balls to have your villain start
declaiming Shakespeare in a mess like this.
- What kind of glass do they use on the bridge of a cruise ship? One
terrorist fires numerous shots from a sub-machine gun straight into it
before the window shatters from a tentacle hitting it. Also, how come
a tentacle earlier retreated from a pistol shot or two, but now forces
its way through a veritable hail of bullets? Is it because now it’s
the Bad Guys shooting at it?
- While do the Bad Guys keep shooting at this massive thing? It’s
not really bothering anyone else, and you’re just drawing its
- Why are the ‘heroes’ down in the hold cracking jokes when
presumably the Octopus is horribly slaying dozens of civilians?
- Wow, the Octopus has a projecting inner-mouth, just like the Alien.
Must be a result of the mutation process.
- Uh, how many bullets does that thing carry?
- Why does Casper tell his henchman to kill the heroes and then leave?
Why doesn’t he kill them himself? He’s standing right there and it
would take all of five seconds, if that. Oh, wait, it’s so Our
Heroes can overpower the Henchman and escape. I get it.
- Sure enough, Lisa distracts the guy by vamping him. (The fellow’s
also massively violating Ken’s Rule of Guns, by the way.) Yikes,
could I have some butter with that corn?
- So, Shaw can’t run his own submersible, but he can dismantle a
- Uh, that bomb does not match the one we saw earlier. For one
thing, it’s now sporting different color duct tape to hold the
dynamite sticks together.
- Hero Can’t Shoot the Villain Scene #5. For the fourth time
in the picture, Turner finds himself unable to shoot the escaping
Casper, who of course taunts him, being a super-villain.
- Lisa, why are you yelling at Turner to "Shoot him!" You’ve
got a gun pointing at the guy, too! You shoot him, you moron!
- Of course, Casper dies a particularly gruesome death, being the only
one that the Octopus skewers with a tentacle. That’ll learn
- So Turner can’t bring himself to shoot Casper, but he can crack
jokes when the Octopus instead horribly slays the guy? Gee, he just
gets more attractive all the time.
- OK, first, why did the helicopter explode, and second, why didn’t
it kill the Octopus, who was holding it right next to its bodily mass?
- Wow, Shaw and Turner’s mutual antipathy has now turned to mutual
respect. There’s a curve for you.
- You know, you’re holding a bomb set to go off in a minute or two.
Maybe you should cut this rather long and maudlin conversation short
and get going.
- By the way, could he even get topside from the engine room,
presumably down in the bowels of the ship, in under three minutes?
Much less get down into the submersible somehow and drive it over to
the Octopus? I have my doubts.
- OK, Turner can pilot the submersible, why exactly?
- Hey, we saw that CGI shot earlier!
- OK, that explosion was silly even by Atomic Grenade standards. And
how is a gigantic fireball erupting from under the water?!
- OK, that’s the stupidest ending I’ve seen in a very long
time. And that freeze frame ain’t helping.
- W. Kurt and Diana vonRoeschlaub -
Comments marked with a
D are from Diana. She also helped with the final thoughts at the end.
Why would a Russian sub be carrying toxic material labeled so in
English? [Editor’s Note: Actually, freeze frame seems to show that
the text is partly Arabic lettering and partly Cyrillic, with the
English lettering being the beginning of each line, i.e., "TOX"
and "MAT". Which is even dumber, actually.]
And is "Toxic Material" a useful label in any sense? Maybe
labeling it what it is would be more useful, "material" is
rather useless. And, since we know where this is going from the title
why does it produce a giant octopus? It's labeled "toxic
material" not "makes-cephalopods-grow-large material."
D - How did the barrels fall out of the sub? Though an open window?
The storage bay is shown as being conspicuously empty of water.
D - Second favorite line in the movie: "Frankly I'm better at
Euro-Soviet economic relations than I am at smuggling microfilm."
(What is THAT supposed to mean?)
Do terrorists really spend so much effort drawing attention to
themselves? And there is no country in Europe where an abandoned bag
doesn't draw more attention than the bomb itself would.
D- How many kids do you know who whisper to get their mothers
attention? This might have been an alright scene if the girl's voice
were getting louder with each close up instead of that whiny whispering.
Is it really that hard to get an agent there? Even if every agent in
the country was at the embassy at the time, the continent isn't that
D - Are they (Roy and the Captain) going to kiss? If you can see the
actors’ nose hairs the camera is too close.
Lisa is the only woman on board a sub, and she is playing strip poker?
Is she really that stupid? And by the way, she did cheat . . . nobody
gets a royal flush.
D - The captain calls Roy "special" agent. Oh yeah, he's
"special" all right.
Haven't these terrorists heard of a charter boat? They sure are
counting on a lot of variables (like that Steven Seagal isn't on board)
when it would be cheaper and easier to just rent something. Not to
mention the whole plan seems rather contingent on a number of lucky
coincidences happening, like them finding the sub, forcing it to
surface, and then attacking it with a cruise ship.
D - Things I learned: Fish can scream.
Why wouldn't bottles on a sub be secured, and why store them in the
brig? Future Kurt: to provide the terrorist Casper a shank within easy
reach, it would seem.
This agent is rather incompetent when it comes to handcuffs. Even a
dislocated thumb takes up space and they are supposed to be tight enough
to prevent that.
How does a camera the diver is wearing on his helmet show the diver?
And if it takes this long to kill a minor character, how long is the
Hero's Death Battle Exemption™ going to last?
Apparently only an oceanographer is smart enough to consider that a
clue as to what attacked the divers might be on the video of the divers
being attacked, and only a good oceanographer would be smart enough to
hit the pause button.
Casper is pretty dumb (but not as dumb as Roy), but why show his hand
before he really has an opportunity to escape? Since Casper told Roy
outright in their last conversation that he would kill the hostage
anyway, why is Roy forgetting this?
D - Hey, they have an octopus collision countdown timer. What a handy
gadget - put in on my Christmas list, honey.
The navy really overbuilds subs. It collides full speed with an
octopus, hits the bottom of the ocean, skids hundreds of feet and then
smashes into some rocks hard enough to dislodge the wires in the
ceiling, but not a single hull breach.
Why didn't the terrorists on the cruise ship just say "Don't come
in," instead of trying to hide the evidence before housekeeping
arrived? She even knocked and asked if anyone was there at least four
D - Favorite line: "What if somebody walked into your home and
pissed on your carpet?" Uh, yeah, I can see how that is a good
analogy to driving a sub though a part of the ocean containing a giant
D - Why didn't he say the terrorist escaped right away? Because the
other two hadn't finished saying their lines yet.
This "confrontation" dialog is the worst written garbage
I've heard. (Definitely belongs in "immortal dialog.")
[Ken: Ask, and ye shall receive:]
Roy appears in the passageway, holding his head. Shaw,
who has been arguing with Lisa over the propriety of attacking the giant
octopus threatening his sub, reacts:
Shaw, to Roy:
"What? Did the noise wake you?"
Lisa, filling Roy in: "Look, we were attacked by an underwater
creature of some kind, I’m still trying to figure out exactly
Shaw: "I don’t have time for this! When you’re finished with
your briefing, ‘Special’ Agent Turner, I’ll be down on the
Roy: "I don’t need this right now! I think it’s about time we
stopped playing games with the rookie agent, OK?! Casper’s gone! And you
[pointing to Shaw] got a dead sailor on your hands!"
Shaw: "What do you mean?!"
Roy: "He’s escaped! [Actually, Roy freed him.] He’s
"NO!!! That was your responsibility, it was your
prisoner! You better be lying!"
Roy: "I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I’m a little bit
out of my element here! I’m not a field agent! I’m certainly not an
escort! I didn’t even ask for this assignment! So I apologize if things
aren’t going quite as planned! And I’m assuming the same could be said
about yourself right now! And would you please stop calling me ‘Special’
There is a terrorist loose on the sub, a good time for you to sit in a
lab alone and take off your shirt.
D - Do you realize that's the fourth time she's taken off her shirt?
That chamber has been 2/3rds full of water for quite a while now. And
why isn't the room filling instantly once the tentacle breached it?
Don't tell me it's airtight.
Why would an internal door on a sub only lock on one side? No, really,
I can think of absolutely no reason for such a mechanism, and dozens of
reasons why it is stupid.
Now they're dropping boulders on the sub. Definitely overbuilt.
I love this bit: Lisa grabs the gun from the captain, aims it, and
*then* shouts "Gimme the gun."
Let's see, we have an uber-terrorist loose on a sub commanded by a
suicidal captain, it is being attacked by a giant octopus, and there is
a cruise ship being held hostage by a terrorists organization who are
looking for the sub and will blow up their own ship (for no real good
reason) as soon as they do.
Add "unstable reactor" to the plot points.
D - If the Russian sub had been sunk by an American sub and they had
no proof it ever existed, how did they know it was called "The
Why do they need a water sample? I mean other than just to explain the
Hey, a spring-loaded corpse.
One terrorist takes out a dozen trained navel officers without even
being injured? I think there is a reason this all happened off-screen.
D - Every time someone is killed the captain has no reaction. He was
more upset about the game of strip poker than the dozens of dead bodies
D - Hmm, the captain wants to be alone with the corpses. This movie is
Just shoot him, you twit. Okay, maybe the agent is too stupid to
realize that a guy who blew up nine embassies, including his, shot his
partner, cut the throat of a hostage just for fun, then killed a dozen
officers deserves to get shot down, but why would the captain agree to
take him prisoner when he escaped the last two times they did that.
They just now figure out it's an octopus? How stupid are they?
D - Why the hell did they just do a stalker-cam shot?
The first officer considers drawing straws before he considers using
Casper as the live bait. These people are so stupid I bet if it had come
to that they wouldn't have even thought to make Casper draw a straw.
Why did the oceanographer bring a bottle of Purina whale chow with her
on a sub?
Now Lisa takes off her pants, did she work her way through college as
Oops, the first officer shouldn't have ogled her butt, now he's
The disengagement problem was brought up why? Since it solved itself a
second later, wouldn't it have been easier to just leave it out and have
the explosion a little sooner? I guess they felt the plot didn't have
A giant octopus is attacking the cruise ship, and all the passengers
decide to stay out on deck? I'd be way below deck, thank you very much.
I love this; the sub captain is going to try to "figure out the
bomb." It has three buttons, and one is labeled "stop".
Of course, with the intelligence this guy has shown he may not solve
that conundrum so easily.
D - Why don't they throw the bomb overboard?
This makes the fourth time "special" agent Roy won't shoot
Casper, after he plants a bomb to blow up the whole ship. Even Lisa
thinks he's an idiot, but she's got a gun (and proved she was a good
shot) so why doesn't she nail him? At least shoot him in the legs so he
can't climb the ladder.
Why didn't the terrorists just use the helicopter from the beginning
and save a lot of trouble?
Why did the octopus grab the helicopter? No, really?
Hey, it's a "stupid" contest. Looks like a draw until agent
Roy proves himself an even bigger ass. Then they have a "moment of
respect" that goes on an awful long time when you consider they are
sitting next to a bomb.
D - Hey, they actually had continuity about the bomb timer.
Yeah, but only because Roy teleports hither and yon while carrying it
(all off screen).
D - Thank God.
Well, there is the over-complicated and moronic plot.
I've yet to see a more convoluted story wrapped around more pointless
twists anywhere. It really boggles the mind how many "disasters"
they tried to squeeze into a single story.
Then we have the shots. The director obviously has seen
a number of really good films, and decided to copy their cinemagraphic
style, mostly in the way shots are framed, or even to certain camera pans.
The problem is that he doesn't seem to understand why those shots were
appropriate or what kind of feeling they were supposed to create in the
Two such shots that spring to mind are the close-up of
the captain and the "special" agent, which reminded me of the
pod conversation in 2001. In that movie it was supposed to create a
nervous tension with the claustrophobic filming (which is ruined in
pan-and-scan, by the way). Here the tension is wholly inappropriate and
you instead get the feeling the actors are very friendly.
The other is the stalker-cam. It works great in a
horror movie when people are being stalked, as it makes you feel danger is
approaching. It makes no sense where used here because there is nothing
approaching, the scene after it is relatively static, and nothing happens.
Instead it just makes you go "huh?"
Add to that the dialog -- the writer obviously wrote
like he thought he was Shakespeare, and if the story was good enough or
the actors were good enough (or had better direction), it might have
worked. Instead you have overblown lines in a crappy movie, and actors who
actually pause to make sure the last person was done before reciting their
lines with all the emotion of a fourth grade school play. Actually, that's
being a little unfair: my wife directs fourth grade school plays and most
of the kids do a better job (albeit with better source material).
W. Kurt vonRoeschlaub
Applied Visions, Inc.
-Nowhere Man, aka Fred
Observations of clichés (Of Course…), stupidities, and
stuff I didn’t know (IDKT = I Didn’t Know That…), jotted down as the
movie progressed, with some notes expanded later.
By Nowhere Man (Fred Robinson), minion of Jabootu, firstname.lastname@example.org,
(Disclaimer: I know nothing about naval procedures, so I
assume that the US Navy has survived for so long because they have a
certain amount of common sense, and that they use it. Keep that in mind
when you read my naval comments.)
Ah, the wonderful, lively days of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Don’t
those subtitles remind you of The Hunt for Red October?
IDKT the Russians shipped "toxic material" to Castro. In
55-gallon drums. That were not very well secured.
Of Course, the toxic stuff is your standard glowing, smoking, green
Ah, a cute little girl. Of Course, she’s bound to be in danger
That old lady is no old lady. Especially the way the camera is
following her around.
So, why are these foreign nationals talking among themselves in badly
accented English instead of using subtitles? Maybe subtitles are only
for guys in subs! Hah! Get it? Subtitles, subs… oh, never mind.
Hmm. Could there be a bomb in that left-behind bag?
Yep. It’s a big one, too. Of Course, the little girl is holding
it when it goes off. Oh, the pathos.
OK, so we’re in Bulgaria. Why is everyone shouting "He’s got
a gun" in English?
Of Course, the career agent with the old war stories buys it. He was
probably ready for retirement too, if he really was active back in ’54…
or was it ‘53? But he got a heroic death, shooting down the bad guy
with his last breath. Aww.
Fruit cart! Fruit cart! (Translation: Of Course, the swerving, out-of
control car smashes into a fruit cart.)
Of Course, the captain of the sub has a lousy record, but is the only
one in the area to do the job. No doubt he will turn out to be the best
man for the job.
The bay/lake (i.e., surrounded by land) near which the agent and the
bad guy are waiting for the sub suddenly turns into open ocean in the
When the sub surfaces, it is one of those jump-out-of-the-water type
of surfacings. Isn’t that more or less an emergency maneuver?
Of Course, the only woman on board the sub is a hot scientist babe.
Why does the captain tolerate strip-poker games on the command deck?
And why are they playing strip poker in such a public place when they
know they are taking on passengers?
And how did the game survive that surfacing?
There is a small sub attached to the large sub. Of Course, it will be
their only way to escape.
Of Course, the bad guy is locked up in a storeroom full of glass
bottles. I fully expect that he will take the opportunity to make one
into a weapon.
Later on, this room is referred to as the brig. Don’t you
store your breakable containers in the brig?
OK. I have come to the conclusion that the Designated Hero (the agent)
is a wimp.
Hey, that satellite sure took a real good ocean-level side-view shot
of the sub!
Of Course, just to add to the fun, a cruise ship will be in danger as
The camera must be tilted funny, because subs sure don’t travel at
such angles unless they’re in trouble.
Of Course, the bad guy breaks free and escapes. Wouldn’t have much
of a plot without this.
The title critter must be related to the title critter of The Beast,
judging from all the screaming and moaning it does as it attacks.
IDKT digital recordings made tape-rewind noises when rewound.
IDKT they looked like ordinary video tape when rewound either, with
the lines of static across the screen.
The sub’s bombs have no effect on the critter. This thing is pretty
This sub has pretty snazzy computer display graphics for Navy
That 20-second countdown took 30 seconds…
Wanna bet that the hot scientist babe falls into the bad guy’s
Serious question: For what kind of Navy sub is 800 meters (2626 or so
feet) crush depth?
After it grounds, the sub is shown at an angle of about 20 degrees or
so. Yet inside, everything is perfectly level.
How long can the bad guy hide in a sub? And why isn’t a search being
made for him?
Oh, that was fast. The hot scientist babe falls into the bad guy’s
hands already. But not for long – here comes the Cavalry, er, Navy!
The claustrophobic crewman, the guys who’s breaking down, should
have been relieved of his post pronto.
A Prediction: Only the DH, the hot scientist babe, and the captain
will escape in the mini-sub. (Outcome: They did, but they took the bad
guy with them. Dopes.)
A Prediction: The one surviving crewman, the black guy, will die while
doing something stupidly heroic. (Outcome: Nope. He just got between the
critter and the hot scientist babe.)
The critter’s arm reaches into the compartment with the trapped
crewmen but the place does not flood immediately and completely.
How did the bad guy manage to kill the remaining crewmen, so quickly
and completely, and without getting scratched?
Hmm. The sub’s beacon is in the middle of the North Atlantic. This
is pretty much OK, given that they are sailing from Bulgaria. But, do
cruise ships go out that far? (I honestly don’t know.) This is also
the location where the Russian sub was sunk in the opening scenes. And
how does the sub ground at 800 meters at this location, when it’s over
Of Course, the reactor is going unstable, so the sub will explode.
Spring-Loaded Corpse! (A variation on the Spring-Loaded Cat.)
IDKT anthrax causes octopuses to grow to huge size.
IDKT octopuses needed iron. I thought their blood was copper-based.
The World Book doesn’t say.
Of Course, the hot scientist babe takes off her skirt. Doesn’t that
remind you of Alien? (And later on, on the cruise ship, she’s
managed to find another skirt with which to distract a henchman.)
The arm that grabs the black crewman (prediction #2) is shown with the
sucker side outwards.
There is apparently a storm going on, as the long shots of the critter
on the cruise ship show lightning. But the full moon is also clearly
IDKT octopuses had prehensile, grasping tongues.
Octopus beaks do not look like that.
The Designated Hero fails to shoot the bad guy for the third (or
fourth) time. Even the hot scientist babe is yelling at him to shoot. So
The bad guy gets his comeuppance via the critter’s arm going in
through his belly and coming out of his mouth. Octopus arms are not that
sharp and human flesh is pretty tough. At worst, he should have been
knocked against the far wall of the chopper.
The critter survived bombs, an exploding nuclear sub, and an exploding
helicopter, but is blown into sushi by 22 sticks of dynamite.
IDKT you could exit a submerged, moving mini-sub and get far enough
away from the bomb it’s carrying to survive the shock of the explosion
in 10 seconds. But the Designated Hero could do it. I guess he cashed in
his Hero’s Death Battle Exemption.
If you have one giant octopus, won’t there be others? You need a
breeding population to get at least one of anything, and octopuses lay
zillions of eggs. And they’ve been getting bigger in this area for 40
years, about 20 octopus generations. Too bad octopuses aren’t found in
this part of the ocean…
Unfortunately, I missed the first hour of this fine (cough)
film. Therefore, I will try to go easy on anything the film does that
seems incoherent, for the first hour may hold the reasoning behind such
events. Furthermore, it would be pointless for me to write a standard
review of half a movie. That said, let us move on to a list of my thoughts
during the last hour of Octopus.
The first thing I saw was a tentacle, from the titular octopus
presumably, smashing through the window of a bulkhead door to grab a man
on the other side. I know that an octopus’s tentacles are very
sensitive, but how in the world can they sense a man through several
inches of glass and steel?
The man is a naval officer and another officer and a woman are in the
compartment with him. Guy #2's name is Roy, I later discovered, and the
woman is Lisa. I never got the pseudopodally besieged guy’s name, but
he is the captain of the vessel, so I’ll call him Captain.
Captain is splashing around in the water and Roy pulls out a gun, to
shoot the tentacle, I guess. Or maybe to shoot Captain and spare him the
agony of being eaten. Lisa almost immediately grabs the gun, takes
careful aim at the tentacle, and then says, "Gimme that gun!"
Isn’t it a bit late for that, Lisa? You took it from him like, five or
six seconds ago. I suppose they couldn’t afford to reshoot this scene
so she could say her line right as she grabs the gun.
Later, Lisa, Captain, and Roy get to the bridge of what I now know is
a submarine. There’s a black guy there. His name is unimportant, for
he’s just The Black Guy. He’s there to talk trash, provide comic
relief, make some accidental discovery that allows the white people to
realize what’s going on, and then die. Hope I didn’t spoil anything
Black Guy’s discovery is that there are a plentitude of other wrecks
in the general vicinity of their downed submarine. Among them, Roy
notes, is the Leningrad, a Russian sub that sank in 1962. Next to
its shattered hull rest two shiny, freshly painted drums with a
biohazard symbol on them. I guess fifty-five gallon drums keep well on
the bottom of the ocean.
It seems that the reactor of the heroes’ sub is about to explode. Of
course it wouldn’t, it would melt down. Captain and Roy go to fix it
and find a bunch of dead men in the engine room. Captain stays to fix
the reactor while Roy goes off somewhere else. In a storage room full of
nets, he is assaulted by Casper, a crazy guy. I think Casper is a
terrorist that Roy is supposed to take back to the states for trial.
After Casper knocks Roy’s gun out of his hand and they have the
standard fight, Roy comes out on top and reclaims his weapon. Aiming it
at Casper, he asks why he shouldn’t just kill him right now. Yeah,
really, why not? When your submarine is on the bottom of the ocean,
under attack by a giant octopus, shooting the insane man terrorizing you
is a pretty good idea. The Captain intervenes and says the reactor will
explode soon, so Roy handcuffs Casper. I guess military personnel can’t
stomach the thought of killing anyone.
Lisa discovers that the biological waste in the drums is an anthrax
derivative and that the octopus they face is a fourth-generation
mutation created by the poison. So let me get this straight: Anything
hazardous to humans will make any other life form grow to enormous size.
Radiation, lightning, pesticides, extreme heat, extreme cold, the vacuum
of space, poisonous plants, and now biological weapons are all agents
for increasing the size of common animals I’ve seen in movies. Couldn’t
it just be an extremely big octopus for once?
Oh, yeah, the octopus is also iron deficient. That’s why it eats
people, for the protein. If that doesn’t make any sense to you, you
understand Lisa’s reasoning as well as I do.
Lisa gets out some protein concentrate/fish food that’s also high in
iron (I swear) so they can spread it around and distract the octopus
while they make their escape. During the spreading, Lisa says helpfully,
"Spread it around guys, pour it everywhere!" Thanks, Lisa, I’m
sure that helps.
Casper complains that he can’t swim through a flooded compartment
because of his handcuffs. So Roy takes the cuff off of one of Casper’s
wrists and puts it onto his own! Look, just leave him behind. If anyone
asks, say he was a victim of the octopus, or drowned trying to escape,
or that you had to kill him in self-defense. Who will care? Keeping him
alive, especially when it endangers everyone else like this, is
Lisa takes off her pants so she can swim better. (?) This gives Black
Guy the opportunity to grin and comment on how good she looks in her
underwear. Ahh, gratuitous nudity with some stereotype lusty black guy
humor tossed in. Barf.
When Lisa hits the water she starts making "Ah! Ew! Uh!"
sounds and flails about like she’s never been in the water before.
Previous comments made it sound like she was a marine biologist who
often works in the field. And she can’t swim?
A tentacle leaps out of the water and grabs Lisa, who’s still
drowning despite Black Guy trying to help her. Then the tentacle drags
Black Guy away. (?) Captain, who was only a few feet away when Lisa was
snagged, asks what happened to Black Guy. I guess he’s just not that
observant. Lisa replies, "He didn’t make it." Uh, Lisa, that’s
not quite accurate. "He didn’t make it" would indicate that
he failed to escape despite his best efforts. That’s not what
happened. He died because you were in his way when the octopus
came calling and he couldn’t avoid it because he was busy trying to
keep you from drowning because you wouldn’t stop kicking
and screaming while he was pulling you to safety. In other words,
Lisa, he died because of you.
The four get to some sort of submersible. Lisa jumps to the helm,
indicating that it isn’t an escape pod or a naval vessel at all. Its
origin must lie in the first half of the movie. At any rate, it is a
very spacious underwater vehicle, with room enough for four adults to
stand erect and not that closely to each other. Here I always thought
that space was at a premium in underwater vehicles.
Lisa can’t get the submersible to start, so she yells at everyone
else and curses the machine. Gee, Lisa, maybe if you tried pressing some
buttons or something, it might start up. I mean, all you did was jump in
the seat and say, "It isn’t working!" Oh, yeah, now smack
the console, that’ll help. Oh, wait, it did. So why is Lisa still
yelling at everybody?
On the way up, Roy sees stock footage of the underside of a boat and
says, "Can somebody tell me what that is?" I guess naval
officers [Editor’s Note: Roy, of course, is actually a CIA agent,
but still…] actually have no idea what the underside of a boat
might look like. And, say, aren’t they going up awfully fast? Wouldn’t
several hours of decompression be called for?
On board the ship at the surface, Casper is rescued by several
Russians who were posing as members of the crew. I guess that is also
explained in the first hour. Casper also suddenly develops a Russian
accent, then loses it, then comes back with a Spanish accent, then no
accent, then a Russian one again. None of the henchmen has a consistent
The "Russians" take Captain, Lisa, and Roy below. Casper
whips out a bomb made from several sticks of dynamite and tells them he
will blow up the ship. Wouldn’t C4 or some other kind of explosive be
better than dynamite? I’m sure dynamite would get the job done, but
any number of explosives are more powerful and less expensive than
The octopus picks this moment to attack. It lurches out of the water
and wraps its tentacles around the stern of the ship. One of them
reaches the bridge. A female Russian shoots at it with her sub-machine
gun. Yeah, that’ll do a lot of good. The tentacle, now alerted to her
presence, reaches in, encircles her, and breaks her neck, then drops her
onto a radar console. I guess the octopus was only interested in murder,
Below, Lisa remarks that the octopus must be back, showing some mild
aggravation. I guess the fact that innocent people are dying horribly is
annoying her a bit, because at the sound of their blood-curdling screams
she gets a look on her face like the neighbors just turned up the stereo
too loud. Those darned dying people! Can’t they die a little more
Outside, the octopus unleashes its Alien-like inner mouth, which comes
equipped with sparkling teeth. Doesn’t make much sense, but it looks
cool, huh? Another female Russian shoots at it with her puny gun. Not
content to merely break her neck, the octopus sends a tentacle out of
its mouth (it sure isn’t a tongue, anyway), grabs her, and drags the
screaming woman to her grisly death between its teeth. Come on, movie,
don’t sugar coat it, let us know how you really feel about
women. Of the three I’ve seen, Lisa is a heartless witch (with a
"b"), the other is now sporting a broken neck, and this one
has just been eaten alive by a giant octopus. Sheesh.
Captain, Lisa, and Roy escape the single Russian guarding them
utilizing the old "Flash your gams at him, then kick him in the
nuts" technique. Somehow, this results in Captain’s leg getting
broken. [Editor’s Note: He gets shot in the leg, but I myself had
to watch this in slo-mo a few times before I got what was happening.]
While Roy goes to stop Casper from escaping, Captain runs (?) to stop
A helicopter arrives and drops a ladder for Casper. Roy threatens to
shoot him. Casper laughs. I guess Roy is one of those guys who just can’t
use a gun, like that cop from Die Hard. Another Russian sneaks up
behind Roy and prepares to shoot him. Lisa screams for Roy to look out.
The Russian aims at Lisa. Unfortunately, before he can shoot her, Roy
conks him out with the butt of his gun. Casper is now halfway up the
ladder. Lisa grabs Russian Guy’s gun and aims at Casper while yelling
at Roy to shoot him. Roy just can’t do it. Lisa, with increasing
degrees of frustration at being disobeyed, screams for Roy to shoot him.
Look, Lisa, if you want it done, why don’t you shoot him?
It doesn’t matter, because the octopus, eschewing the easy pickings
on deck, reaches for the helicopter, impales Casper in the stomach, up
through his torso, and out his mouth. Then the helicopter crashes into
the ocean and explodes.
Down below, Captain shows Roy and Lisa the bomb. It has only a few
minutes left and Captain wants to feed it to the octopus to blow it up.
Roy wants to do it instead, I guess because he just has to reclaim his
manhood by killing something, and with Casper gone, the octopus
is the only candidate left. Captain’s leg is broken, remember, which
would automatically make Roy the one who has to do it, but nobody brings
this up. While they argue, Lisa makes annoying little sounds, furious
that they aren’t seeking her godlike wisdom in settling the matter.
Finally, Captain hands Roy the bomb, noting that there is only three and
a half minutes left. Hearing the urgency in Captain’s voice, Roy hangs
around a bit so he can have a character moment with Captain and Lisa.
Then he hangs around a bit more just for good measure. Then he kind of
decides that he sort of ought to get going. At last, he leaves. I guess
that time limit and the continued screams of agony from the deck just
aren’t very good motivation.
Roy is piloting the submersible, which now has considerably less
interior space than it did before. On deck, Lisa and Captain emerge from
below. Lisa shoves an old woman out of her way so she can peer over the
railing. "Do you see him? I don’t see him!" she shouts. That
might be because he’s underwater, idiot.
When the bomb goes off and kills the octopus (hope I didn’t ruin the
surprise for anybody) it makes a fireball. Underwater. Said fireball
rises to the surface and expands like a mushroom cloud. From under the
water. That must have been some of that new dynamite. You know, that
kind that sets water on fire.
Roy lived. It’s impossible. There’s no way he could have lived. He
supposedly jumped out of the submersible. He was too far under, he would
have drowned. Then there was that huge blast he would have been caught
Lisa says, "We did it!" No, Lisa, Roy did it. You
didn’t do anything.
In the final analysis, of what I saw anyway, Octopus
is a movie with an interesting monster but without the budget to show
enough of it. It takes some common clichés to new levels of cheesiness.
It bludgeons the audience with a whiny, selfish, controlling and idiotic
"heroine" who gets people killed without feeling remorse or
responsibility and blames others for things beyond anyone’s control. The
movie is misogynistic and kills women horribly in loving close-up and
detail. In short, it isn’t any good and I wish I’d missed the whole
And it’s still better than The Beast.