Made-for-TV crapper Depth Charge, a new action film starring Jason Gedrick and that B-movie slut brother of Julia Eric Roberts, hits DVD with a bare bones release you will welcome, if by chance, you happen to work for Upcoming Discs and want to get your next bad movie project over with as quickly as possible.All others may find it difficult mustering enthusiasm for what is essentially an ultra-low budget remake of Die Hard on a submarine.
This paragraph is where I would normally tell you some plot details, but my previous sentence sums it up pretty well. Rogue submarine crew holds President Barry Bostwick (and the country at large) hostage after assuming command of a submarine with nuclear arms on board and asking for a payoff of – (wait for it) – one billion dollars! Of course, that’s not quite as funny in Depth Charge when uttered by Roberts as it is in the Austin Powers films with Dr. Evil. But like Dr. Evil’s hairless Egyptian cat, at least Roberts does have a bald sidekick. His is flesh-and-blood, and routinely gets his ass handed to him by our hero (Gedrick), but it’s at least a step in the right direction.
Crummy special effects and by-the-numbers performances from actors who’ve seen better days – Gedrick, Roberts, Corbin Bernsen, and maybe Bostwick – make for a tedious viewing experience, to say the least. But at a tad under 90 minutes? Well, at least it’s short.
Back to the Die Hard thing: this film is a clone. In fact, aside from the smaller budget, change in setting, and incompetence of cast and crew, the only real difference Depth Charge has from Die Hard is that Gedrick’s Bruce Willis is given a black sidekick. Then again, there was the limo driver in the original, so scratch that. Same damn movie.
Presented in 1.66:1 widescreen, the film boasts strong colors, particularly blues and greens. The only weakness lies not with the transfer, but with the cinematography. The film looks like an episode of an hour-long drama from the nineties, such as Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. If you’ve seen any of the episodes on those sets, you have a good idea of what you’re getting here. Not a bad image, but immediately recognizable as made-for-TV, even if you don’t know it ahead of time.
The 2.0 presentation is a quality track with good balance between both speakers. Action and dialog levels show strong performances with roughly the same volume mixed between the two.
Does scene selection count?
Formulas grow old quickly if nothing new is done to keep things fresh and lively. Roberts, Gedrick, and crew, do nothing to add that touch of newness to these familiar proceedings, and what the audience is left to suffer through is a film that would have been much better as an episode of a TV series 30 years ago instead of a modern-day feature. Depth Charge is quite clearly ashamed of its special effects, and the few times they appear, you can understand why. All the clever cuts and character interaction in the world won’t save the day…especially when those elements themselves are done so poorly. Audio and video are strong per format standards, but there are no bonus materials to be found. Hard to imagine anyone would purchase this film…