Lionsgate | PG13 – 114 min. – $29.99 | April 24, 2012
Directed by: John Stockwell
Writer(s): Amy Sorlie (story), Amy Sorlie and Ronnie Christensen (screenplay)
Cast: Halle Berry, Olivier Martinez, Ralph Brown
Theatrical Release Date: March 30, 2012 (limited)
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish
Disc Size: 22.4 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 2.0/5
Poor Halle Berry, her post Oscar filmography has been less than impressive to say the least. First there was Die Another Day (though to be fair, she signed on to that prior), followed by the dreadfully dank supernatural thriller Gothika, the awful and shameful Catwoman (she was hot, so that’s something), yet another suspense-thriller turkey in Perfect Stranger and most recently the dreadful ensemble romantic-comedy New Year’s Eve. Berry has also had a couple decent roles such as X2 and Thing’s We Lost in the Fire, but needless to say, her career hasn’t exactly been on the upswing.
Her latest is Dark Tide, which received an extremely limited run, so limited that Box Office Mojo only has a foreign tally ($432k). Yikes. But beyond the box office, there’s a reason this movie probably had a difficult time finding a distributor: it’s simply put, downright boring and lacks a cohesive or coherent narrative.
When the movie opens, we meet Kate (HALLE BERRY), an expert in everything shark related. She’s working with a documentary filmmaker, Jeff (OLIVIER MARTINEZ), who just so happens to be her boyfriend. During one of their excursions to film a few sharks in the water, one of her crewmates gets attacked and eaten by one of these sharks; as you can imagine, the fella didn’t make it through…
Fast forward a year and we find Kate playing it safe, only taking customers out into the water for some sightseeing, refusing to allow anyone near any sharks and especially outside one of those cages. Unfortunately for her, the bills are piling up as the number of customers are drying up, preferring to go on ships that allow shark seeing. So with money troubles, she is offered a lucrative job by the now ex-boyfriend to take a snobby rich guy (RALPH BROWN) and his far more down to earth son (LUKE TYLER) out onto the seas and swim with the sharks. Initially resistant, she eventually caves but only under the condition that a shark cage would be used rather than free swimming.
Basically, the middle part of the movie has her butting heads with the rich douchebag, dealing with the emotional baggage of losing a friend and possibly rekindling a romance with the ex-boyfriend. It’s just as dull and boring as the first part and if not for the underwater photography, it would’ve been a complete waste of time. The third act somewhat picks up and while I’m not sure if director John Stockwell did it on purpose to put the audience in the characters flippers, it’s a chaotic sequence as a storm heads in, topples over the boat leaving passenger scattered all around, each trying to do one thing or another.
The biggest problem I had with Dark Tide is that it simply wasn’t a very interesting or compelling movie to watch. Halle Berry, God bless her soul, makes the most out of a lousy script – by Ronnie Christensen (Passengers) and Amy Sorlie (debut) – that crawls at an alarmingly slow rate, introducing us to characters we couldn’t care less about and participating in a plot that is, at best, boring as hell.
Outside of Berry, the supporting cast I suppose are alright. Olivier Martinez is a bit smarmy as the ex-boyfriend; Ralph Brown as Rich Guy Douchebag starts out as a jerk but gets the obligatory arc where he becomes less of a douche; Luke Tyler is alright as the son who is embarrassed by Mr. Douchebag; and Mark Elderkin plays the ship hand who probably is the most likeable character of the bunch.
The one and only saving grace to this movie is thanks to John Stockwell’s incredible underwater photography, giving audiences some awe striking shots of all creatures underneath the sea in very nice detail. Given Stockwell’s history, it’s no surprise how he got the gig, if only the script wasn’t better because otherwise Dark Tide might’ve been a memorable film rather than one destined for the annals of obscurity.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 0/5
This release comes with a matted slip cover (which matches the inner cover), unfortunately outside of a few previews, there’s nothing else on the disc.
VIDEO – 3.75/5
Dark Tide swims and bites its way onto Blu-ray with a good 1080p high-definition transfer, showing off the deep blue underwater shots as well as the land scenes which have fine detail levels and a color array that looks well balanced. The only drawback is, whenever they are in the water, banding is quite apparent so it’s not as smooth as I’d like it, but still it’s not overly distracting.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track isn’t anything fantastic but perfectly fine for this release. The lossless track tends to show off when character bob up and below the water and during the mundane musical score. Dialogue levels are mostly crisp and clean and some of the audio effects, as few as they are, were also fine.
OVERALL – 2.0/5
Overall, Dark Tide receives high marks for its underwater camera work but the story is lame and the acting is sometimes even worse. Halle Berry for her part is OK with a limited role. The Blu-ray offers up solid audio and video transfers but there are no features so even if you enjoyed the film, you might want to hold off until it’s around $5.