Submerged (2005) (part 6 of 6)

More random dialogue follows, with no plans being made. Meanwhile, we see Dr. J in prison, where she’s being taken to meet the new US Ambassador, and somehow, this allows Fletcher to capture her. I guess just grabbing her at the demonstration would have been too easy for him.

Caption contributed by Ed

“Next person who bashes the WNBA to my face is going to get hurt. I can guarantee that.”

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Back at the “safe”house, Henry’s purloined satellite phone comes in handy (no way!) when Cody makes a call to Lehder. And in one way or another, this call gets picked up by the guys on the Clinton.

Dr. J is brought to Kelin Dyle, and at the same time, Cody intercepts an ambassador. His plan, it seems, is to replace the ambassador at the opera that night. Apparently, the President of Wherever The Hell They Are will also be in attendance, along with Sandro.

Earlier, we saw that Sandro captured El Presidente’s fiancée, and Lehder brainwashed her. So Cody is going to take the ambassador’s place so that he can protect El Presidente. Yeah, there’s a good plan. I’m sure Sandro won’t notice the ambassador suddenly looks like a beached whale packed tightly into a tuxedo. No problem at all. Then there are a few vague scenes at Kelin Dyle where Lehder double-crosses everyone. He eventually ends up imprisoning Dr. J and Fletcher in tiny cells.

Caption contributed by Ed

In the future, Hollywood Squares will take on a more sinister, low budget aura.

At the same time, the opera begins, and oddly enough, it’s daytime. Cody enters the opera house, dressed like a pallbearer. The President arrives with his fiancée, who gives Cody an “I’m a psycho!” stare that amazingly goes unnoticed by anybody else. I probably don’t have to mention that her appearance is accompanied by a schizo-cut that reminds us she’s brainwashed, do I? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Meanwhile, Cody’s team piles into a cab and heads for the opera house. They’re being followed—a bit more obviously than one would expect from trained killers, I think—by a black car that eventually begins to ram them. As they panic, a shot suddenly kills the cab driver. I think it was Henry’s gun, but the editing is so haphazard it could have been the second gunman on the grassy knoll for all we know.

Luis grabs the wheel as we quickly cut back to the opera house. El Presidente takes his seat, while Cody sits next to Sandro. Whiplash ensues as the scene cuts back and forth between the car chase and the opera. And no, this is not helping to build suspense one bit.

An assassin places a rifle over the shoulder of a random woman in the opera house, aimed at Sandro and Cody. There are more chase/opera/chase cuts again, and finally the cab smashes through a restaurant and crashes into a truck filled with watermelons. Which gives us our obligatory Fruit Cart scene for this movie. You know, even at their cheesiest, most pandering, lowest common denominator, hit-every-cliché level, the films of Michael Bay never reached this level of incompetent boredom and incoherence. This all makes Bad Boys II look like Lethal Weapon 2.

Back at the opera, Cody and Sandro have a little chat in which Cody suddenly appears to be a few steps ahead of the audience. Evidently, he knows all about the mind control program we’ve been viewing all along, though I have no idea how. Lehder calls up Sandro in the middle of this conversation, asking for the access codes to the something or other, so he can get to Sandro’s money.

Caption contributed by Ed

“Oh, that’s why I haven’t gotten any calls. I forgot to put the battery in. Stupid!”

Henry, Luis, and Damita have staggered away from the Fruit Cart crash. They make their way to the opera house, where Damita and Henry go over a fence. Hey guys, try the door. It’s an opera house, not the castle from Where Eagles Dare. And Luis… Well, I’m not sure what he does, but he staggers around for a while until finally making it inside somehow.

Henry gets in first, knocking out a guard. There’s a very limp joke where Damita kills a guard backstage, using a rope that causes a prop to fall on stage in the middle of the performance. Needless to say, I think we’re fortunate this is the film’s sole attempt at humor.

Meanwhile, Lehder activates his one brainwashed drone that we know about (more will appear that we’ve never seen before, a sure sign the filmmakers were just making things up as they went along). Namely, the President’s fiancée. For the record, and so I don’t have to mention it again, the other drones are the guard Henry knocked out upon entering the building, a waiter, and the conductor leading the orchestra [!].

Now, you might be wondering why I’m not talking about Dr. J and Fletcher right now. Odds are you’re not, but I suppose there’s a chance you could be. So, I’ll tell you right now what’s going on with those two: Nothing. That was easy.

After more wasted time—otherwise known as one last pathetic attempt to milk suspense out of this stupid plot—Henry gets behind the gunman and shoots him. While this is happening, Luis staggers onstage and looks around. Not quite the dynamic, heroic entrance you’d expect, is it? Generally speaking, a good guy shouldn’t stumble into a climactic scene like he’s the party animal in the office on the Monday morning following a three-day weekend.

Finally, Cody does something other than sitting on his ass. A random guy near Sandro pulls a gun, only to be shot by Cody. The conductor draws his gun, and so does Luis, and the two of them end up shooting each other almost simultaneously.

Another guard shoots Henry, and in turn gets shot by Cody. Henry falls to his death while Damita grabs a large ribbon decoration, and swings down from the balcony. Damita takes out the fiancée just as she’s pulling a gun on El Presidente. And frankly, this makes Damita come off as a hell of a lot more heroic than our lead character. Cody takes Sandro outside as cops show up. The brainwashed waiter comes at Cody, but quickly gets shot. And then we get a theoretically poignant moment as Cody finds Henry’s dead body.

Caption contributed by Ed

Jane, Jane, Jane of the B-Movie, strong as she can be! Watch out for that tree!

Caption contributed by Ed

He died as he lived, surrounded by people nowhere near as unappealing as him.

And from that stunningly boring attempt at a suspenseful scene, we go to a stunningly boring attempt at a rip-roaring action climax. I’ll save you the trouble of all the farting around by simply cutting to the chase.

Lehder is getting ready to leave, taking Dr. J with him and leaving Fletcher to die. I guess he plans to kill Fletcher by putting him in the brainwashing machine and cranking it up to the highest level. Not sure how that works, but I’ll go with it if gets us to the end faster.

Lehder leaves some goons to supervise, which allows Fletcher to get hold of a gun and kill the goons. Cut to Cody and Sandro driving to Kelin Dyle. Cody crashes the gate (well, it’s really a guard shack, but let’s not nitpick) and runs over a guard. Meanwhile, Lehder is heading for a helicopter to make his escape.

Cody spots Lehder and floors the accelerator, but for some reason the helicopter begins to lift off without Lehder [??]. In a truly stupid moment, Cody drives under the chopper and takes out the landing gear, which somehow causes the chopper to lose power and crash back down [??]. The top rotor blade pops out, but strangely, this doesn’t factor into anybody’s death. You know, this film could have scored major points with me if it had ended with either one of the villains being cut in half by an errant helicopter blade. Hell, for all I care, it could have ended with the entire cast being turned into julienne fries by the damn thing. At least that would have been memorable.

The chopper takes a good portion of forever to crash into the building. After this, Dr. J breaks free and Cody takes another good portion of forever driving directly into the lobby of the building. He forces Sandro out at gunpoint, but is ambushed by guards. The guards shoot Sandro [?] who whines “I pay your wages!” [??]

A static shootout occurs with Seagal just standing and shooting, taking the occasional moment to mince over to a pillar and grab a shotgun. A shotgun which, once again, fires and reloads as fast as a machine gun in the hands of Seagal.

Lehder is now back in the lab, where he sees Fletcher has killed everyone in the room. Fletcher appears and adds one more to the body count by tossing Lehder into the brainwashing machine. For some reason, this electrocutes Lehder [?]. Even dumber than that, this means the main bad guy was killed not by our hero, but by the turncoat villain. Way to send the audience home (or in this case, back to the video store) happy, guys.

Caption contributed by Ed

The effects, as you can see, are shockingly bad. Yeah, I apologize for that one, too.

Back in the lobby, the elevator opens to reveal a large, bald henchman. He fights with Seagal, sort of. The fight is basically just close-ups of punches being blocked, followed by Seagal shooting the guy in the head with his own gun. Yep, this Seagal “action” film only has two trademark Seagal fights, neither of which last more than a minute. And this one is only 29 seconds. Not helping matters is that Seagal clearly doesn’t give a shit, which, let me tell you, really enhances the viewing experience. In fact, Seagal’s fight scenes make me yearn for the almost swan-like athleticism of actions stars like Pamela Anderson.

Caption contributed by Ed

“I said extra butter, asshead!”

Cody drags the dead guy to the elevator and uses his hand to get access. Back in the lab, Fletcher is waiting for the elevator, and if you can’t guess what’s about to happen next, you should just give up on watching movies altogether.

Sure enough, the doors open and Cody stands there. I’d say he looks angry, but this is Steven Seagal we’re talking about here. I’ve seen Buddhist monks project pure rage better than this guy. Cody kicks Fletcher, sending him through a window. (Presumably, his foot is loaded with buckshot.) Fletcher ends up on top of the electrocuted Lehder, where he gets impaled by the guy’s cane [!!]. Which is ironic. Well, it’s not, but I’ll just call it that to spare the screenwriters any hurt feelings. After all, it’s not nice to make fun of the mentally handicapped.

There’s one final bit of stupidity where Cody, Luis (who apparently survives being shot better than the second-billed actor in the movie), Damita, and Dr. J have drinks at a beachfront hotel. As they talk, we get a long zoom-in on Dr. J’s eyes, with flash cuts to indicate she’s been brainwashed. Naturally. And that’s the end of the movie.

Caption contributed by Ed

“We got next, or I’ll kill you!”

Oh man, I never thought I’d find an action movie more annoyingly made than 3000 Miles to Graceland, but here it is. Even for a direct-to-video film, this is bad. Really bad.

And Seagal? Well, for him, this is just one more nail in the coffin of what used to be a fairly decent career. We get virtually none of the things we expect, even from a bad Seagal flick. No martial arts mayhem, no obligatory speeches about how great Seagal’s character is, no hysterically funny shots of Seagal running and holding his gun like a girl, and no snapped limbs at all. This film seems to have been made on autopilot at virtually every level.

And the worst part? This isn’t even Seagal’s worst film. That would be a dull piece of detritus called The Foreigner, which I might end up recapping at some point. Until then, just imagine how good this film could have been, if only it had starred Chuck Norris.

Ed Harris

A fan of less than great cinema since childhood, Ed divides his time between writing scripts, working an actual paying job and subjecting himself willingly to some of the worst films society has produced.

Multi-Part Article: Submerged (2005)

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