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An obvious attempt to cash in on the success of Jaws, this 1977 thriller was also based on a bestseller by Peter Benchley, and it features a memorable performance by Robert Shaw (the doomed shark hunter in Jaws) in one of the last roles of his career. Looking very tanned and healthy, Nick Nolte and Jacqueline Bisset play a young couple enjoying a tropical vacation who discover a glass ampoule while scuba diving off the coast of Bermuda. It takes a seasoned treasure hunter (Shaw) to identify the ampoule as part of a valuable shipment of World War II morphine lost at sea, coincidentally, atop the even greater treasure of a sunken Spanish galleon. Thus begins a race for drugs and treasure pitting Nolte, Bisset, and Shaw against a ruthless drug lord (Louis Gossett Jr.) who’ll do anything–even resort to Haitian voodoo–to get what he wants. It’s all rather contrived and exploitative (after all, the movie’s best known for Bisset’s wet T-shirt scuba-dive), but as escapist entertainment goes it’s got some exciting highlights including a moray eel that attacks on cue and… well, uh, Jacqueline Bisset in a wet T-shirt.


The Deep is a movie long on scenes of Nick Nolte and Robert Shaw vacuuming up the ocean floor in search of Spanish treasure and short on anything resembling excitement. The movie has also been “credited” with starting the wet T-shirt craze with scenes of Jacqueline Bisset diving around in a clingy top (what? You thought it was because of the scenes where Robert Shaw was diving around in a clingy top?), but once she gets relegated to bored girlfriend status and just hangs out on the boat while Nick and Robert battle Lou Gossett and that big eel, the movie loses whatever momentum it had. Nolte and Bisset play a dumb couple down in Bermuda on some sort of adventure vacation where they go diving around wrecks in the hopes of finding some valuable doodads or other.
After finding one such knick knack, they’re approached by Lou who claims to be a bottle collector and is interested in buying this piece of glass they found. Guess what? Lou isn’t really a bottle collector at all! He’s really a Haitian thug interested in all the morphine ampules that are still down at the wreck where Nolte and Bisset found their bit of glass. And guess what else? He’ll stop at nothing to get his hands on them! And by stopping at nothing, I mean, he’ll periodically terrorize Nick and Jackie, but won’t actually bother going down to the wreck to get them himself until the very end of the movie when a climax is needed.
The first run in that Nick and Jackie have with Cloche (Gossett) where he reveals that he isn’t really a mild mannered bottle collector, but is the movie’s villain, is when he has them run off the road, kidnapped, and searched for the bottle. For some reason, Cloche is concerned that Jackie might have hidden it in her bikini top and makes her take that off, but doesn’t have the same worries about Nick. In any case, I’m desperately trying to remember why exactly we were stopping at nothing to get our hands on whatever it was those two found. If he’s after the morphine or whatever else is down with the wreck, he could just go down there himself and haul all that junk up or follow our couple out to the site when they go back for more treasure if he’s unsure of the location. And if he’s just after the bottle or whatever they have in their possession, well, that’s just really dumb to be going through all that trouble for one piece of sea junk that could get him into hot water with the police for his kidnapping and assaultive behavior.
The Blu-Ray is such a weird beast. Sure, the A/V Quality is near reference material and sports a Dolby True HD 5.1 track that shows off an amazing John Barry score. What sucks is the only real supplemental is a making-of featurette. There’s also select scenes from the 3 hour cut of the film. Why didn’t Sony bother to add that cut to this disc? Would it have cost more to just mix another cut onto a near featureless disc? They could’ve marketed it as the definitive version of The Deep. But, no one really cares about Benchley’s luke-warm Jaws remainders. Therefore, this is just a rental. 
RELEASE DATE: 07/07/09

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