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Overall Rating

Awesome: 3.85%
Worth A Look37.5%
Average: 34.62%
Pretty Bad: 17.31%
Total Crap: 6.73%

10 reviews, 44 user ratings

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by Erik Childress

"Not One Wet Underwear Scene In Sight"
3 stars

The Poseidon Adventure is recognized as kicking off the disaster era in Hollywood filmmaking giving way to such Irwin Allen classics like The Towering Inferno and not-so-classics (The Swarm, Flood!, Fire!). It’s also my personal favorite, meshing high-concept with a collective of big-name actors in a race for their lives through one increasingly perilous set piece after another. People remember the Shelley Winters freeswim, but if you go back to experience the rest you will find that it still holds up quite well today. But we’re living in remakeland now, the easiest way to greenlight a project in the 21st century. Although we haven’t made much progress in Hollywood ingenuity, technology is at an all-time high and if you want to make a movie where you have to flip a boat upside-down, that’s a trick worth exploring in an update that should have enough adventure even if it’s been cut out of the title. Ultimately it does not and thanks to some subtle changes to the original script, some sympathies get lost and those marked for death are more obvious than ever.

Running only about 95 minutes sans credits, Poseidon wastes absolutely no time in getting us to know the few characters whom we’ll be traveling with through the bowels of the luxury cruise ship. Robert Ramsey (Kurt Russell) is along for the New Year’s party with his daughter, Jennifer (Emmy Rossum) and Christian (Mike Vogel), the boyfriend he doesn’t approve of yet brought along. John Dylan (Josh Lucas) is a former Naval officer-turned-loner/gambler now looking to make time with single mom, Maggie (Jacinda Barrett) and obligatory precocious youngster, Conor (Jimmy Bennett). Marco Valentin (Freddy Rodriguez) works in the kitchen and may-or-may-not be stowing away his girlfriend, Elena (Mia Maestro). Richard Nelson (Richard Dreyfuss) is a gay architect whose lover just dumped him and Lucky Larry (Kevin Dillon) is just a gambler whose personality is not long for movies like this.

It takes 15 minutes to meet these folks and then the next ten are spent flippin’ that sucker over in extraordinary fashion thanks to the not-so-scientifically-creative “rogue wave” last seen screwing with boats in White Squall and director Wolfgang Petersen’s own Perfect Storm. With the liner floating ass-up, Captain Notleslie Nielsen (Andre Braugher) advises the survivors to stay put in the dining area as GPS alarms have been launched notifying rescue ships. John, who must have seen Titanic, has no patience and immediately leaps into action to get himself out. His antics attract the attention of the others, particularly Robert whose daughter was last seen in the disco, and he reluctantly agrees to work with them.

While we know this action is inevitable, it’s still a major flaw in MarkThe CellProtosevich’s adaptation. John is not a man of reason who warns others not to wait for their deaths. Instead, he’s presented as a gung-ho man-of-action who may be leading nine other people into greater danger. Their adventure doesn’t begin out of necessity when the dining room is flooded. They are already well into their second set piece before that even happens, and may even be indirectly responsible for collapsing the available clock for the rest of the passengers. There’s also a ghastly moment when our escapees have to make a choice amongst themselves between life and death that occurs way too soon and mars our empathy for those who continue on. You could interpret it as social metaphor – the all-American white man orders the homosexual to shake loose the Mexican in exchange for his life – but that’s a little too much to hope for when there’s barely enough time to get to know these characters and backstory is dribbled out with time-wasting dialogue.

If you can’t have well-rounded characters, then likable actors go a long way to make up for it. Russell is as likable as they come (getting another backlit Backdraft hero moment as the fireman-turned-NY Mayor-turned-concerned dad) and Lucas has always been welcome even as Hollywood keeps trying to make him the next big moviestar in junk like Sweet Home Alabama and Stealth. The decision to make Dreyfuss’ character gay is entirely unnecessary. Dreyfuss does his best not to add more flame to the ship, but his pseudo-hitting on Rodriguez during an elevator shaft escape is just too ridiculous to fathom. Plus, I wonder when Child Protective Services is going to step-in and help poor Jimmy Bennett. After suffering through the crisis in Hostage and the abuse of Asia Argento in The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, in 2006 he was already held hostage again as Harrison Ford’s kid in Firewall and is now faced with drowning over and over. The most lasting impression is made though by Kevin Dillon, who plays the role as if his Entourage alter-ego, Johnny Drama, got the part (an avenue I pray is explored in the third season) and knows he’s a dead man. I’m not ruining anything by telling you this, but his exit line is the funniest, out-of-left-field delivery you could ever imagine and I applauded with glee.

“There’s nothing fair about who lives and who dies,” says Russell and just for balance, Poseidon also features one of the most horrifically realistic drowning scenes I’ve ever seen – to the point where I almost choked up water myself. While it may not be fair, it IS obvious who is going to live and die. Since the film wants to get to the adventure as soon as possible, interest is light in who makes it out alive, so they might as well have had fun with the death list as Renny Harlin did in Deep Blue Sea – who knew just when to kill off the expected hero and get the women down to their skivvies. With a bevy of wet babes on display, it’s a shame not one needed to give up their clothes the way Stella Stevens so gallantly did in the original. A shame my focus had to go there since the water escapes, after a few solid set pieces like the elevator and an especially claustrophobic gathering in an air shaft, get repetitive and the pacing just isn’t as urgent for a film that’s 20 minutes shorter for a reason. A longer version could have either corrected or further exposed many of the flaws in a film that’s more of an excursion than a full-blown adventure.

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originally posted: 05/12/06 11:32:10
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell exciting with good effects 4 stars
7/29/11 Bob Dog A great b-movie - best disaster movie I've seen in years! 5 stars
5/18/11 Ravenmad I wouldn't want to die like this, but almost did watching this film. 2 stars
11/23/09 Jeff Wilder Story's predictable, no real suspense and we don't care about the characters. 2 stars
11/03/09 Darryl Great sp. effects, stars & fast-paced! Dreyfuss miscast, Cary Elwes wouldve been perfect. 4 stars
8/14/09 Dan better than you've heard, if still imperfect 3 stars
3/26/09 Eric Much better than I thought it'd be - avoid comparing to original and judge on its own merit 4 stars
2/11/09 Stewart Worst movie I have ever seen! No story or characters, just special effects and bad acting. 1 stars
1/16/09 Shaun Wallner Very Interesting 4 stars
1/15/08 JM Synth Generic with paper thin characters, but great action and suspense 4 stars
1/12/08 Brian Mckay Better than Titanic - at least you don't have to sit through bullshit love story first. 4 stars
10/02/07 Rick Excellent action, but weak character development. Still, awesome f/x make it worth seeing. 4 stars
7/14/07 Vincent Ebriega Great effects, set design and action, but, like the Poseidon, sinks too quickly. 3/5. 3 stars
4/19/07 Stevo UK To sum it up, Battlefield Earth was better. 1 stars
2/28/07 Stanley Thai This film doesn't need character developement and has very good action scenes. 4 stars
2/03/07 Vip Ebriega This remake is great to watch. 4 stars
1/23/07 Matt Lame,rushed,tooshort-and this time we don't give a shit who lives or dies. 2 stars
10/16/06 Mystique This movie really sucks; it's terribly cliché. You're better off renting "Titanic". 1 stars
10/13/06 Indrid Cold Suitably white-knuckle update of the original. 3 stars
10/07/06 Rhonda Heaslip In my opinion it was an awesome movie that kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved it! 5 stars
9/27/06 Anthony Feor I wish i had saw the origional before this, however it comes quite close to it 4 stars
9/03/06 Dragon The Artist A pretty good, ownable rehash of The Posiedon Adventure 4 stars
9/02/06 Danny Even without compairing it to 1972 classic, still merely average and pretty forgettable. 3 stars
8/29/06 David Hasslehof Not enough substance - could have been Titanic set in the modern era - Godzilla anyone? 3 stars
8/24/06 action movie fan sometimes exciting but seen it all before--ship is the only thing new 3 stars
8/06/06 Erik Van Sant It feels longer than 'Titanic', and is a collosal piece of ass. Hated every frame. 1 stars
7/24/06 malcolm thrilling but ultimately forgettable 3 stars
6/05/06 Jon With excellent suspense and action Poseidon makes the already good old one perfect! 5 stars
6/03/06 MickOZ Are you over 14? If so you have seen this type of shite countless times. 2 stars
6/03/06 MP Bartley Fun for the moment but entirely forgettable. Wavers between average and worth a look. 3 stars
5/29/06 inty speed 2 was better 1 stars
5/24/06 Navi this movie just plain sucks. Maybe add a few details about characters, and make an ending. 2 stars
5/22/06 Jeff Anderson Waterlogged to say the least & cruel. Cast & effects are far better than film deserves! 2 stars
5/19/06 Staci Typical blockbuster filled with thrills and chills galore. 4 stars
5/19/06 Mase Quick and painless, if you are looking for great visuals and no depth...enjoy 3 stars
5/18/06 michael not too bad and close to the first if they would just think up some new ideas 4 stars
5/18/06 Gavin Bamber If you've seen Titanic, you've seen it already 3 stars
5/18/06 JOHN PETERSON When I saw this about 29 years ago, it was mediocre at best. This tiime special effects is 3 stars
5/17/06 Astro Boye THis movie Sucked- Homopphobia and racial bias sink this ship! 1 stars
5/16/06 pipe 10 minutes of decent special effects and 1-1/2 hours of mind-numbing plot and dialog. Glug 1 stars
5/14/06 Ron Green The special effects were great! It makes the original poseidon look like a sailboat! 4 stars
5/13/06 Captain Highcrime Moved so fast...Wolfgang must have been double-parked outside the post house. 4 stars
5/13/06 Mike C. Finally a movie that lived up to its preview. It kicked ass! Very intense! 5 stars
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  12-May-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 22-Aug-2006



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