There were at least three reasons I was inordinately excited to see the movie entitled Amphibious: Creature of the Deep:
1. It's a movie about a giant sea monster, which is probably my very favorite type of movie.
2. The director is Brian Yuzna, whom horror freaks will remember from his collaborations with Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator, From Beyond, Dolls) or from his time spent in Spain on flicks like Rottweiler and Dagon.
3. The movie was made in Indonesia, which is where The Raid comes from, and I was hoping that this monster movie would mark another firm step forward for the nation's genre output.
Unfortunately for all involved, Amphibious has a lot more assets on the page than it does on the screen, and while you've probably seen worse monster movies during a random Saturday night visit to the SyFy Channel, there's no denying that this is a cheap, chintzy, and ultimately tiresome little export. Even its best moments (the CG effects aren't terrible) have a distinct layer of familiarity, and the movie lacks the wit / energy to rectify its laundry list of technical problems. As indicated on the poster for Amphibious, the flick was slapped together in a hurry in the hopes of riding a little of the Piranha 3D/D press. Nothing works.
The plot offers us a lovely marine biologist (Janna Fassaert) who reluctantly teams up with an ostensibly charming boat captain (Michael Paré) to dig into a mystery that involves a kidnapped girl, a gang of sleazy criminals, and the awakening of a giant scorpion who (eventually) kills a bunch of people. (I just made the movie sound a lot more "fun" than it actually is.) Before we get down to the long finale that takes place entirely on a ... large raft, we're asked to struggle through some of the most drearily familiar plot contortions imaginable, actors who simply cannot act, and a woeful editorial approach that indicates major problems in post-production.
By the time we hit the last third of Amphibious (which was shot in 3D, and it doesn't look so great on basic DVD), there are a few cool moments of creature-related carnage, but they're not nearly diverting or amusing enough to forgive the flick's virtually merciless first hour. It's not the generic narrative, the amateur actors, or the general air of redundancy that sink Amphibious (monster movies can sometimes overcome these shortcomings), but the plodding concoction offers absolutely nothing you haven't seen before, recently, and better. A handful of juicy and/or wackily amusing moments do show up, but they're all near the end, and you'll have to sit through a lot of tedious nonsense to find them.