Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dark Tide (2012)

**This review contains spoilers**

Kate Mathieson (Halle Berry) enjoys her life, as a highly skilled marine biologist and diver. Kate earned a well respected reputation as the “shark whisperer” during her swimming adventures with Great White Sharks, but during a routine dive, Kate makes a fatal mistake. Her incorrect command causes the death of a friend and fellow diver, and Kate can’t escape the guilt of this tragic accident.

One year later, Kate is trying to move on, and pick up the broken pieces in her life. Kate is the owner of boat tour service in Cape Town, South Africa, but Kate can’t handle the thought of dealing with sharks anymore. Instead, she gives tours for the more friendly sea creatures (seals, whales, dolphins, etc.), but past due bills are becoming a serious problem. Kate is desperate, broke, and down on her luck, but her husband/business partner could provide some much needed help. Jeff Mathieson (Oliver Martinez) has found a rich and cocky client, who is willing to spend a lot of money for a sea tour….but Brady Ross (Ralph Brown) wants to see sharks, and Kate‘s expert guidance is required. Brady is more than willing to take the risk, but Kate isn’t ready to deal with sharks again. She can’t escape the memories of the attack, and she continues to hold a grudge against Jeff, but Kate needs the money, so she agrees to do the tour. But the simple tour eventually takes a turn for the worst, and Kate will have to face her fears of sharks, because returning to the water becomes an inescapable life or death decision.

Boring. This is the one word I would use to describe Dark Tide. This was supposed to be a suspense/thriller, but trying to stay awake during this film was a real test. I almost fell asleep three of four times, because Dark Tide couldn’t provide any real suspense or thrills for me. John Stockwell’s horribly bland style of directing really hurt this film, and Dark Tide just goes through the motions the entire time. You can see everything coming from a mile away, and for me, Dark Tide didn’t provide an enjoyable ride to the end. Dark Tide has a runtime of one hour and fifty-four minutes, and you will feel every second of it, because this film just drags along, and the painful boredom caused too many facepalms for me. “OH GOD, WHEN WILL THIS END!?!?!” This is the one question I kept asking myself throughout this film, because the story for Dark Tide doesn’t feature a lot of depth. Nearly two hours was too much to handle, and they really didn’t need this much time to explain the shallow and thin story for Dark Tide.

For the most part, the acting is solid enough. Halle Berry, Oliver Martinez, and Ralph Brown provided the bulk of enjoyable performances. Berry wasn’t bad as the leading lady here, but she wasn’t the true star of this film. That honor goes to Ralph Brown. Brady was the rich, narcissistic, asshole, who loved to throw his weight around, and Brown’s performance was just excellent. Again, Berry wasn’t bad in the lead role, but she was upstaged by Ralph Brown here. There’s no doubt about it.

Also, I couldn’t buy into Kate’s struggle here. Kate was supposed to be this traumatized woman, who couldn’t let go of the past, and she couldn’t overcome her fear of sharks, but I couldn’t sense any sort of conflict in this character. Berry doesn’t show any strong emotions until the very end of the film. Considering the circumstances surrounding her character, I should’ve been able to feel strong feelings of sympathy towards Kate, but I couldn’t. Berry managed to deliver a solid performance, but at times, I couldn’t escape this “she’s just mailing it in” feeling.

And Kate’s unbelievably stupid decision towards the end did provide a jaw-dropping moment for me, but not for good reasons, though.

Okay, so Kate is terrified of sharks, and she can’t escape the guilt of causing someone else’s death. Well, we’re in the final moments of the film, and Brady has become a real jerk. He can’t smoke a cigarette to calm his nerves (Kate doesn’t allow smoking on her boat, but she doesn’t have a problem, when Jeff lights up a cigarette? Okay then.), and Kate won’t allow him to swim with the sharks. If Brady goes in the water, he MUST stay in a cage. This is Kate’s #1 rule. But Brady wants to be a rebel, and he continues to push Kate’s buttons. After Brady’s taunting and an intense argument with Jeff, Kate decides to take the crew (which includes Brady’s son, Luke) to a different location. The new location is FILLED with sharks, Kate has been pushed over the edge, and she wants to prove herself to Brady and Jeff.

Kate tries to showcase her new found courage, but the boat runs into a series of rough waves. Kate’s boat eventually flips over, and the hungry sharks begin to close in. Kate’s goofy and trusted friend (apparently, he’s in charge of safety on Kate’s boat, and no, I don‘t care to know his name.) loses his life during a shark attack. Brady tries to avoid one of the shark attacks, but he suffers one of the more gruesome deaths here. In the end, Kate, Jeff, and Luke (Luke Tyler) survive, and they’re able to find safe shelter inside a liferaft, as they await a much needed rescue mission.

So let me get this straight. At the beginning of the film, Kate is responsible for the death of a teammate. Then, towards the end of the film, she causes TWO more deaths? Really??? Yeah, I get it. Brady and Jeff pushed her over the edge, and she had to prove herself. But why would you lead an innocent group of people towards shark infested waters? You’re a marine biologist, who specializes in sharks. You know what could happen, and you know the incredible risk involved. Plus, you already survived an incident, that involved a death caused by a shark attack, and you STILL take everyone towards the sharks regardless? Unbelievable.

In the end, the Kate character didn’t learn anything, and she didn’t find any redemption. And how could she overcome her fears of sharks? After all, she did cause the deaths of two more people, and her stupid decision was the main the reason for their demise. The boredom was bad enough, and Dark Tide’s nonsensical screenplay just made everything worse.

Dark Tide is a dull and boring suspense thriller, that features too many long-drawn-out conversations/arguments, and I really didn’t care about any of the characters in this film. I couldn’t get into the story, and the ending really doesn’t make any sense at all. A few brutal and bloody shark attacks/kills towards the end did help this rating a little bit, and they did throw in somemoments of suspense at the end, but I can’t forget about the rest of the film. Dark Tide is just terrible, and this film deserves all of its harsh treatment. It’s a shame, because Dark Tide has a simple enough premise for an enjoyable suspense/thriller, but the screenplay and John Stockwell’s style of directing ruined this film.

Halle Berry is the same woman, who won the Oscar for Best Actress ten years ago, right? For years Berry relied on her sex appeal, but her good looks didn’t win the Oscar for Monster’s Ball. No. It was raw talent, and Berry did give an outstanding effort in Monster’s Ball. But when I take a look at Berry’s body of work, I‘m going to think of someone, who fits the profile of a “one hit wonder.” Her work in the 90’s is VERY forgettable, she has to be remembered as the most uninteresting Bond girl (Die Another Day), and she can’t take any credit for the first two X-Men films. After winning the Oscar for Monster’s Ball, Berry’s career sunk to embarrassing lows. She’s been caught in an awful downward spiral for years. This is an indisputable fact. Perfect Stranger and Catwoman were horrendous (especially Catwoman), and Things We Lost In The Fire was an unbearable piece of melodramatic trash. Also, having a part in New Year’s Eve didn’t help anything. Unlike the overwhelming majority of the critics, I actually enjoyed Gothika. It was an enjoyable horror flick, that featured an incredible and shocking twist, but one film isn’t enough.

Berry isn’t an awful actress. She’s solid enough, and she does look pretty good for a forty-five year old woman, but the vast majority of her career isn’t impressive at all. She’s starred in so many bad films (can’t forget about B.A.P.S), and Catwoman is a potential career killer. Hell, Berry actually showed up to accept her Razzie Award for the Worst Actress in person. Actresses and actors accepting their Razzie Award in person is a very rare occurrence (for obvious reasons), and Berry willingly showing up to accept this award should tell you something about Catwoman. Catwoman was atrocious, and it’s hard to argue against Berry’s win for Worst Actress, but Dark Tide almost out ranks Catwoman for the #1 spot of worst films on Berry’s resume. Yeah, it’s that bad.

Final Rating: 1/10

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