John Stockwell seems to have just as big of a fetish for the water as James Cameron. The only notable difference between the two filmmakers, of course, is that nobody really knows who the hell John Stockwell is. If you’ve ever suffered through such classics as Crazy/Beautiful or Turistas, then you’ve seen what kind of work Stockwell turns out. But his greatest achievements without a doubt are his just-as-uninteresting water-based flicks, Blue Crush and Into the Blue. To try and find a point to either film is futile — and Stockwell’s ability to make meandering motion pictures has not diminished in his latest movie set upon the ocean, Dark Tide.
At first glance, one might hope they’re in for some good ol’ sharksploitation fun with Dark Tide, as it’s a movie about a shark expert — played here by Halle Berry — who gets more than she bargained for during a trip into Shark Alley. At second glance, you might expect to at least see Halle’s breasts (I should note that the first and second glances are interchangeable, depending on what you’re primary interest is). Sadly, the PG-13 drama Dark Tide delivers neither. It’s an appallingly dire tale about a former “shark whisperer” (really) who retires when her mentor is carried away by a big hungry fish — only to be lured back into dangerous waters by an adventurous millionaire who wants to dive into great white-infested water without the aid of a cage.
And you might feel like swimming with great whites after watching this turkey. Few movies can establish its main characters, drag itself around for a bit, break away for a scene involving a trio of poachers that has absolutely no bearing on our feature film whatsoever, and then stretch out its existence even further until the barely-exciting finale wherein every cliché from all of the other (good) shark flicks out there is brought into play like Dark Tide can. The only plus to the film is that it doesn’t rely on CGI fishies as heavily as some of its more exploitative cousins out there tend to do. It’s always nice to see real sharks in action, but it really helps if there’s actually a bit of action to have them be seen in. Olivier Martinez and Ralph Brown (yes, Ric Olié himself!) also star in this mess.
Lionsgate brings Dark Tide to us in a surprisingly gorgeous High-Definition release that is more than this title deserves, boasting superb colors, detail, and contrast overall. Sound-wise, the disc sports a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack that — once again — is healthier than the feature film itself. English (SDH) and Spanish subtitles are included. The producers of this release evidently saw what a winner they had here, as there are no bonus materials to be found here apart from an assortment of trailers for other Lionsgate releases.