Sunday, February 26, 2012
Terror Beneath The Sea!
If ever a movie qualified as a "time waster" then this charming and harmless bit of 1966 Japanese sci-fi fluff is it. Terror Beneath the Sea stars Sonny Chiba and a curvaceous American blonde as a duo of reporters who uncover an underwater kingdom ruled by a mad scientist and his minions and the mutant/cyborg fish-men he's created to eventually take over the world.
There's precious little mystery here as the reporters investigate a failed missle test and are quickly captured by the fish-men and begin to unlock the secrets of the underwater base which seems to be located almost adjacent to an island and presumably would be relatively easy to locate for the military who nonetheless seem at a loss.
This movie is overacted with a tenacity and consistency that almost results in an actual style for the whole shebang. The action sequences are extremely long and seem keyed to rhythms of suspense I'm not immediately familiar with. The final battle beneath the waves is a heady affair with a great deal of exotic pistol shooting as well as some pretty potent spear-gun action.
This movie has the veneer of hip 60's super-spy genre all over it, with a number of scenes triggering memories of James Bond sequences, but without actually being rip offs of same. Sonny Chiba is intense in the lead and while not always believable is relentlessly earnest. The lead actress Peggy Neal is a specimen for sure and seems to have nearly zero actual acting ability, but she sure is dandy to look at. Also of note is Franz Gruber who plays a well-meaning Navy man who gets more and more worked up as the movie unfolds until you actually begin to worry about his health.
This is not a "good" movie, but it is a diverting entertainment of the highest order. It's sleek and delivers what it seems to promise which ain't much. But that's more than a lot of movies do.