Submerged (2005)
By: Devon B. on June 30, 2013 | Comments
Sony | Region 4, PAL | 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 5.1 | 92 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Anthony Hickox
Starring: Steven Seagal, Vinnie Jones, Gary Daniels, P.H. Moriarty
Screenplay: Anthony Hickox, Paul de Souza
Country: USA
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When I put on Submerged I got a bit of a laugh at the menu screen. It's got Steven Seagal holding a gun, but he looks surprised. Maybe a flash went off unexpectedly and startled him. I'd heard bad things about the movie, but when it started I saw that Anthony Hickox directed and co-wrote it. I liked some of Hickox's early tongue in cheek horror stuff, but went off him after he made Hellraiser III: Hell on Theatre Screens. I thought that maybe Hickox would bring a bit of a satirical edge that might save Submerged. He didn't save the movie, but he does inject a little style into the proceedings.

Submerged is a confused film. An ambassador gets shot when some people get mind controlled to assassinate her. Then a military group are landing for a mission but one of them is mind controlled and they get ambushed. Finally, after 12 minutes, Stevie turns up, and he's a prisoner. He's offered freedom for him and his team if they go on a dangerous mission. From the cover and title you might expect the mission would involve a submarine. Well, it does, but it seems like an afterthought. The group don't board the sub until about 35 minutes into the movie, and then they get off it about 15 minutes later. The title probably should be Briefly Submerged.

There're a few things that make Briefly Submerged mildly interesting. The film co-stars Vinnie Jones and Gary Daniels. Steven Seagal, Vinnie Jones and Gary Daniels in one film? Maybe this is where Stallone got the idea for The Expendables, which Daniels went on to have a small part in. Jones has also brought along one of his Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels co-stars, P.H. Moriarty. So, the cast has some recognisable faces, they're just not given much to do. The characters are so badass they're not worried about firing guns on submarines, and Hickox has got a few nice jokes in. I particularly like the guy that is looking at a family photo and has a bad feeling about the mission he's about to go on. Wonder if he's in any danger?

But there was one thing that I normally find entertaining in Stevie movies that really annoyed me in Briefly Submerged, and that's Stevie being dubbed. I don't take my Stevie movies very serious, but this movie is insane with the dubbing and it quits being funny after awhile. There's so much dubbing I started to wonder if Hickox was making fun of old chop socky dubbing, but I don't think that's it. Stevie is dubbed so much I wondered why they even used his voice at all. Actually, it would've been funny if they'd made him sound like Popeye for the whole thing. Or, even better, Jean Claude Van Damme could've dubbed his lines. That would've been hilarious! The dubbing can change line for line; Stevie's voice can change within the same shot and, in a bold move rivalling Shadow Man's scene where Stevie's double gets to show his face, Stevie's voice changes in the middle of a line! At one point Stevie asks why he feels so strange – I think it's 'cause you have another man's vocal chords! When it's his voice, Stevie appears to be trying to sound Cajun. It's hard to tell since he's rarely speaking and Stevie was not always consistent with accents when he did the whole performance anyway. He pronounces "here" funny, says alligator a lot and calls someone else white. Maybe he has multiple personality disorder and one of him thinks he's black and Cajun? This would also explain the voice change! I like this mental disorder idea. That might be why he feels strange, it would explain the vocal dexterity and in one scene he appears to suddenly have Tourette's, so I may be on to something.

Sadly, Stevie doesn't do much fighting this time out, and in fact, Jones gets to do more beating. I like Jones, but he's not exactly a martial artist, more of a smack down artist. Just one more disappointing element to this movie, I guess.

Briefly Submerged might be better than Hellraiser III. That's as nice as I can be.
The Disc
Submerged is low budget and looks it. The colours are often oversaturated, there's some black crush and some macroblocking. It's often dark to hide Stevie, too. Not the best transfer, but I would say it's not all the DVD's fault. The French and English 5.1 mixes sounded similar to me when I flipped between them. The audio is given the chance to recreate choppers, gunfire and explosions. Most of the time it's fine, but a few things, like a couple of explosions, are less impressive. It's decent enough. The only extras are trailers for Art Heist, Doing Hard Time, Shackles, Trois: The Escort and Wild Things 3.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
It might be a "Steven Seagal is" title, but even calling this Steven Seagal is Briefly Submerged won't salvage it. The story's a mess, the plotting convoluted and the hand to hand action is lacking. A head scratching pile of drivel to start with, this one is sunk by a completely unacceptable amount of dubbing. And that's coming from someone who loves Out of Reach.
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