Directed by Nick Lyon
Air Force One is flying high in the stormy skies above the Bermuda Triangle. No sooner does a member of the Presidential staff outright state that they’re flying over the Bermuda Triangle than a massive lightning strike takes out Air Force One’s engines. The Commander-in-Chief jumps into his escape pod, narrowly jettisoning before Air Force One goes kablooey; narrowly, only because the Secretary of Exposition wouldn’t shut the hell up about all the amenities the escape pod contains to keep him alive until rescue can come.
A US Naval fleet and the brave members of what looks to be ROTC Team 6 are sent in to rescue Jon Voight’s understudy… I mean the President of the United States stranded somewhere at the bottom of the ocean.
The tough-as-nails Naval Admiral leading this ticking clock rescue mission is played by none other than Oscar-nominated Terminator star Linda Hamilton, looking more than ready to now star in a Hillary Clinton biopic. The state of perpetual annoyance displayed by Hamilton’s Admiral, I’m not entirely sure it was all acting.
Faster than anyone can again say “we’re in the Bermuda Triangle”, the fleet is attacked by monstrous, semi-translucent tentacles that sort of resemble Doctor Octopus’ robot tentacles with the heads of the Pitch Black aliens. Countless seamen are whipped, snared, and impaled while different-looking, even more gigantic squid-like arms arise to slap planes and helicopters out of the sky.
No one can ever accuse Bermuda Tentacles of not delivering on its title. If Ursula from The Little Mermaid and Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean made a sex tape, there wouldn’t be this much red hot tentacle action.
But this is not a new hentai anime from Japan. No, this is a new Asylum/Syfy creature feature that answers the burning question of what would happen if you tossed Deep Rising, The Abyss, Independence Day, and Battleship into a great big movie blender and made a sound and fury, signifying nothing smoothie. The action may be non-stop, but everything else is non-start. An assembly line product, first; a motion picture production, second.
Look no further than the casting of Jamie Kennedy (looking like he’s preparing to star in a Devin Faraci biopic) in the role of the resident scientist, the one who almost instantly identifies all the biological properties of these previously never-before-seen species of gargantuan alien sea life just by looking at them for a few seconds. Kennedy is mostly known for his comedy work so naturally, none of that is on display here. Not even a certain degree of quirkiness a la Jeff Goldblum. Like most every other character, he exists to bluntly state lines of dialogue devoid of personality.
Having watched as many Asylum movies as I have over the years, I’ve picked up on an annoying characteristic that many of their genre movies such as this tend to share. That unfortunate need to over-explain stuff, in particular the scientific mumbo jumbo, in far more detail than the viewer really needs or really cares and typically done so in way too matter-of-fact a manner. There’s such a science class lecture quality to the way this stuff is usually explained, it practically dares the viewer to zone out. When I think back on it, one of the reasons I so enjoyed Sharknado was because people weren’t constantly standing around trying to justify the logistics of the impossible.
They also really love to espouse military protocol. Goddamn, do Asylum writers love piling on the military protocol.
Of course, it doesn’t help that far too many of the actors sound like they’re reading these lines directly off a cue card. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that this movie was filmed with such due haste that a lot of what we’re seeing was the first and only take.
By the half-hour mark the tentacles had already arisen from the ocean, attacked the ships, been shot at mainly by actors on boat decks with machine guns, submerged, and repeated the exact same sequence of events about three times. Just when things were starting to get more than a little repetitive, the Special Forces team hops into a hi-tech submarine to descend deep beneath the Bermuda depths in search of the Commander-in-Chief. You want to talk about military readiness? Stuffing a heavily-armed commando unit into a tiny submersible to retrieve a man trapped at the bottom of the ocean inside an even tinier submersible anticipating the possibility of a dry land battle with enemy forces – that’s a whole other level of military readiness right there.
It should be mentioned that team commander Trip Oliver (Now that’s a name you can set a watch to!) has a bad history with Admiral Hamilton even though he barely looks 25. It should be mentioned because this is the closest instance the movie ever comes to having a smidgen of character development.
Their tracking of the Presidential escape pod’s beacon leads them into a deep underwater chamber housing a sandy ship graveyard filled with boats and planes that have gone missing in the Bermuda Triangle over the centuries. The myriad of possibilities the introduction of this graveyard held and how it might tie in to the aliens suddenly captured my imagination. And just as soon as I found myself intrigued as to where this might be going, what happens next? You guessed it. The soldiers are attacked by yet more of the same tentacles. And with that my interest in this movie vanished into the abyss.
I really was hoping that something a bit more imaginative would have been threatening them once inside this mysterious undersea cemetery and/or that it would lead to something more substantial than just another shoot-down-the-UFO-before-it-blows-everything-up plot. If The Asylum ever made their version of the biblical story of “Jonah and the Whale,” it would have Jonah in the belly of the whale fighting to survive against smaller, hungrier whales.
Once the President is located, one might find him or herself wondering if maybe they should have just left him down there since all he wants to do from then on is launch a preemptive War of the Worlds that would make Dick Cheney proud.
The remainder of the movie… Honestly, I had kind of mentally checked out by this point. Have you seen The Asylum’s Battleship mockbuster American Warships? You should watch that instead. Roughly the same basic mechanics done in a more entertaining fashion.
While I’m recommending more enjoyable b-movies with roughly similar scenarios, there’s this old 1990 knock-off of The Abyss called Endless Descent from the director of Pieces that doesn’t get nearly enough love. Watch it and you’ll totally understand why I was so let down by the lack of creativity put into the undersea chamber portion of Bermuda Tentacles. I think you can find it on Netflix instant streaming right now under the alternate title The Rift. Worth a look if you’ve never seen it. I’d rate it a solid 3 1/2.
This on the other hand, or should I say tentacles…
1 1/2 out of 5