Submerged: A Perfectly Dreadful Movie

Another one of those really bad movies that I watched as a public service, so that no one need ever watch it again.

Title: Submerged (2000)

Coolio …. Jeff Cort
Maxwell Caulfield …. Agent Jim Carpenter
Brent Huff …. Agent Mack Taylor
Nicole Eggert …. Tiffany Stevens
Fredric Lehne …. Richard Layton (as Fredric Lane)
Dennis Weaver …. Buck Stevens
Hannes Jaenicke …. Dr. Kevin Thomas
Fred Williamson …. Captain Masters
Tim Thomerson …. Owen Cantrell
Robert Torti …. Dr. Frank Ewing
Yvette Nipar …. Agent Wendy Robbins
Stacey Travis …. Cindy Kenner
Art Hindle …. Sam
Meredyth Hunt …. Judy Campbell
Michael B. Silver …. Doctor Winslow (as Michael Buchman Silver)
Meilani Paul …. Karen
Michael Bailey Smith …. Lt. Nick Stuart
Christopher Halsted …. Captain David Rogers
Ernest Harden Jr. …. Mace
Ted Monte …. Bill
Richard Gabai …. Eddie
Ari Barak …. Mr. Drago
Sophia Bruce …. Special Baby Appearance (unconfirmed)
rest of cast listed alphabetically
Brian J. Mahoney …. Party Guest (uncredited)
LaMar Rutherford …. Jack (co-pilot) (uncredited)
Brinke Stevens …. Bartender (uncredited)

The other night, David started watching this movie more or less at random. He paused it while we made dinner, but had not bothered to actually hit “record” in TiVo. So after dinner I hit “play” just to see what was going on, because I’d wondered what the two guys on screen were about to say to each other. After watching this film, their dialog should have been:

Darkhair Guy 1: Dude, my agent says it’s a great script. Coolio is in it!

Redhair Guy 2: Coolio wholio? Only so long as I get to get shot and comfort a pregnant lady.

I ended up watching the whoooole thing – much like the lasagna in the old Alka Seltzer ad. It was the cheese, you see. The yummy, yummy cheese. I’ll try to give examples of said cheese as I go. If you really must read it, the rest of this post is in the extended entry.

Where Are My Frickin’ Sharks With Frickin’ Laser Beams?

So I’m watching this movie. The two generically handsome guys on screen discuss some security problem. One of them seems to be Secret Service, and the actor appears to be going for the legendary movie marquee glamor of Clark Gable. Unfortunately, he is handicapped by having red hair (but has suspiciously dark eyelashes) and by not having sticky-out ears. Much to my surprise, this red-headed actor turns out to be Maxwell Caulfield, whose career has been in a long slow decline since The Colbys. Good heavens! What a terrible dye job – well, that explains the Maybelline eyes. The other generic actor is named Brent Huff, whose resume is typically heavy on the action/adventure, foreign, Canadian-made TV drama end of the not-porn spectrum. Then the scene changes abruptly, without a lot of editing skill. This will remain constant to the end – I think “editing” in this movie was accomplished with craft scissors and Scotch tape.

So. There are some guys out in a boat in the ocean, and they’re led by Tim Thomerson, legendary bad guy character actor. Pretty much all he does is bad SF and action/adventure – I think it’s the scary yet perfectly cut white hair and the rumbly voice. When he was younger, he played surfer dudes. Now he plays elder statesman bad-guy dudes. His character’s name is Cantrell. Ooooh! Guys named Cantrell are almost always bad. Or sexy. Or conflicted cowboy types. Or all of the above. It’s an edgy name, which is why Hollywood seems to use it so much.

One of the other guys in the boat is Coolio, rapper-slash-actor. He’s a headliner in the movie – all week long, the promos for it mentioned his name first. Well, this turns out to be because other than Caulfield and Dennis Weaver, he’s about the only “name” in the movie, and by far he’s got the most current date on his fame ticket. Turns out he’s just a bit part here as a menacing bad-guy salvage diver. They natter with some hot babe on a satellite phone, and I call out “Hey, she looks like a female wrestler!,” but that’s only because of watching Lori on TAR. She looks vaguely familiar. Hot Babe is apparently setting up some deal where they steal something tech-y from the rich guy that the two good guys are protecting. He’s going to be flying his private 747 to Honolulu, and the salvage guys on the boat are going to get the goods.

There is a short scene in Rich Guy’s office pre-flight. He insists that his ludicrously pregnant assistant accompany him. She declines, saying that although she’s only 7 months pregnant, she’s carrying twins who are apparently stacked end-on-end, because her belly sticks out about a yard in front of her sternum. I nod and say “And you’ll be going into labor when? Right after all the shit hits the fan, but before you can be rescued? Check.” Actually, she says she’s taken a second job and can’t leave, and whines about health coverage and child care. She’s a part-timer, and hasn’t been there long enough to qualify for the company insurance plan – a fact she regrets to bring to the attention of the CEO of the damn company. Problem solved, Rich Guy says. He doubles her salary, awards her full benefits, and bullies her into going on the flight that evening. Gee, what a nice guy. And so down-homey.

Everybody starts assembling for the flight. Rich Guy is played by Dennis Weaver, who’s phoning in his performance from his ranch outside Geezerville, Texas. Redheaded security guy, who I will call “Red” owing to the bad dye job, talks to Other Security Guy before he bids him a fond farewell and boards. He meets up with some more guys on board, who chuckle and gee-whiz over the extremely well-stocked antique wooden bar installed in the middle of the coach cabin. There’s some sort of conflict between Rich Guy’s Daughter, who is extremely short, and the Flight Attendant, who’s extremely tall. It’s something about Flight dating Daughter’s daddy, but that’s all over now. It plays like a turf-fight between two snarling dogs who merely bare their teeth at each other and walk away with their hackles raised, except one dog is played by the Yorkie in “Legally Blond” and the other dog is played by the surprisingly graceful roller-skating Great Dane in The Truth About Cats And Dogs.

Also notable during the check-in scene is the appearance of an actor with a Highlander connection, though a tenuous one – it’s Hannes Jaenicke, who was on Raven, a HL spinoff. When these things happen, I start to watch for other HL names in the cast, and I found at least one other. I was also keeping a sharp lookout for anybody from the Vancouver Rep. Co. – in the old HL days, there were any number of Vancouver-based actors that showed up in different roles on different episodes. It was one of the things that made reading credits fun – okay, yes, we were obsessed. That was all a very long time ago, so get over it.


“Red” Jim gets cozy with Impossibly Pregnant Judy, because he lost his entire family in a tragic whatzit, and he’s looking to hook up with another one as soon as possible. So unmarried Judy looks like a Happy Meal Express to him, apparently.

There were several crucial scenes I missed that included the murder of the real pilot of the plane and a substitution by a Bad Guy Pilot, but I can’t figure out who in the cast list was this pilot bad guy. So I’ll just call him Bad Guy Pilot. Anyway, I called him correctly as a wrong ‘un even without seeing the scene where Hot Babe gives him his up-front money and he demands more, so she apparently tells him something along the lines of “You’ll be well paid, I’ll call ahead and they’ll take care of you.” He thinks this means he’ll get more cashola, poor sap. He decides it’s go time and requests clearance for takeoff from the tower. For some reason, they show the nice men in Air Traffic Control, so you know they’ll show them again during the inevitable crisis. After takeoff, Bad Guy Pilot oh-so-casually grabs a loaded syringe out of his flight case and sticks it in his inner jacket pocket. Yep, God is not the co-pilot’s co-pilot.

Also there was apparently a scene that established why one guy stowed away in a crew area with access to the cargo compartment. He didn’t have much to do. More on him later.

There was also a lot of extremely bad dialogue – most of it assigned to Mr. Weaver, Cowboy Thespian. Turns out he’s actually a nervous flier, so he knocks back several bourbons-and-branch, turns pale, and stops making with the corny jokes. Yay him. There was some sort of Slick Tech guy and also there’s a black box handcuffed to somebody, and there was another guy who was Richina Rich’s boyfriend. Much inter-character expositionary chitchat ensues, while meanwhile up in the cockpit, Bad Pilot Guy fixes the co-pilot’s problem with conciousness but good by sticking the syringe in the guy’s neck from behind. Jeez, that’s how they had us kill frogs in high school bio, I didn’t need that particular memory dredged up, thanks. In an apparent afterthought, he twiddles the syringe so that it actually injects something, but Co-Pilot is dead from all the stabbing and needling and so forth. They’re on autopilot during the struggle, so that part’s all right.

The bad guys on the ship take a call from Hot Babe. She tells them to take care of Bad Pilot Guy, also but good. They smirk the evillest smirks that were ever smirked by evil smirking bad guys. And there’s a hint of another wrong ‘un on board, but who?

Suddenly, we’re back on land. The Other Security Guy, Mack, has a chat with a new character, a Hot Security Woman, Not Babe, Thank You. She’s named Wendy, which is a perfectly good name. She’s all pissed off – she’s ATF or something, and she doesn’t want Mack and his Sekrit Service Feddy Boys horning in on her bust. She’s been monitoring Hot Babe, who seems to be setting up a deal to get the extremely important whatsit that’s in the black box handcuffed to somebody – “Red?” or Slick Tech Guy or whatever. It seems to be of national security importance. The Navy, for some reason, is on alert. She asks Mack to meet her at Hot Babe’s place. Hot Babe is her best link to Cantrell! He must see the significance, she’s got to bust Cantrell for something, and I’m betting it’s not for over-age drinking and smoking.

Time to go back to the boat. The Bad Guy Salvage Co. is having another board meeting. Elder Tim Cantrell and Young ‘Un Coolio confer on the best way to perform salvage. Apparently it’s “take out the goods first, then the passengers.” They have confusingly assigned two meanings to the phrase “take out” in the same sentence.

Plane. Bad Pilot Guy goes through his checklist for putting the plane gently down on the ocean, where the Bad Guy Salvage Co. can get to work. He mutters to himself as he flips switches. Co-pilot is still out cold. “Hmm. Dump excess fuel tanks 1, 2, 3. Throttle back on engines 1, 2.” Somehow, the dumped fuel gets sucked into one of the engines, and it catches fire. “Shit, that’s not supposed to happen!”, he emotes, looking pretty peeved. Apparently, it wasn’t in his Bad Guy Pilot Handbook. So he flips some more switches, becoming sweatier by the minute, then intercoms for the tall flight attendant, who I shall call Dania, to come to the flight deck.

Things get bumpy back in the passenger cabin. Everyone buckles up. “Red” helps Impossibly Pregnant Judy extend her seat belt again. He just loves that big ol’ belly. Everybody looks scared. McCloud (oh, he’s called “Buck” here but he’s really McCloud, except rich and obnoxious) looks longingly at the bar.

Dania goes to the cockpit. What’s the co-pilot doing on the floor? Oh, he’s dead. He just fell over, apparently. And died. This is what is explained to her by Bad Guy Pilot, and so that’s good enough for her, because she’s got bigger problems – they’re out of coffee.

I forgot to mention that every time a scene started in the beginning, people were drinking coffee, complaining about coffee, about to make coffee, or telling everyone there was a fresh pot on. This was in McCloud’s office, with the two Security Guys discussing the whatsit in the handcuffed black box, and in the air traffic control tower, and elsewhere. So the fact that they were out of coffee really bothered Dania (okay, I’m kidding, but the writers of this movie are obviously obsessed with coffee).

Anyway, he tells her to keep everybody calm. He starts going through the procedure to put the engine fire out. The passengers, of course, notice the fire and the whole “keep them calm” thing is a big bust.

The ATC guys back in LA notice that the big plane has “dropped off the radar.” They call out a “Code 99” so all the other ATCs know not to bug them and to bring them extra coffee. Then they call the Navy, I guess because they know they’re out there? I don’t know. I don’t think you just pick up the phone and dial 1-800-IGO-NAVY and get anything other than a recruitment recording. They call McCloud’s 747, but Bad Pilot Guy turns off the radio. He does some other things to an instrument panel below him – disabling a button. Huh? Then he starts angling the plane toward the sea. With only one engine, the descent is faster and rockier than he’d planned.

For some reason, we’re treated to the sight of a big-ass flattop naval carrier out on maneuvers. Captain Fred Williamson, commanding. Jesus, he’s got a hell of a resume. Not only was he on a classic Trek episode, he was the original Spearchucker Jones in M*A*S*H. Anyway, he’s approached by a big-ass flattop naval professional wrestler named Nick. Actually, he’s played by Michael Bailey Smith, who used to be a paratrooper and professional football player and a diver before he started playing big-ass flattop (and bald) dudes in action flicks. He’s an Air Force brat, so he does the military thing really, really crisply. Nick reports sumpin-sumpin-sumpin – maybe there’s going to be a test of the software whatsit in the black box, and they’re observing or I don’t know. They’re there. They have a good reason to be out in the Pacific within a few hours of McCloud’s plane’s position. Nick reports that there’s a mayday called on the 747 by the ATC’s, but there’s no emergency beacon signal. Is this the plane with the top-sekrit handcuffed whatchamajigger on board and the top-sekrit satellite gizmo test? Yes, sir. This seems to make both of them pucker stoicly. “How far away from their last known position?” wondes Captain Fred Williamson. “Close enough to effect a rescue?” he adds. “I can be there in two hours in my chopper,” says extremly manly Flattop. Captain Fred acknowledges his superior testosterone levels with a salute (Mine’s only up to here, yours was higher than mine), and they agree to have coffee later in the captain’s cabin before bed (not really).

The details are, thankfully, getting a little hazy, but I think the next thing that happens is… yep, it’s time to ditch the plane in the ocean. At this point I thought about ditching the movie for a “Clean Sweep” rerun I had on TiVo, but I decided to soldier on. Bad Pilot Guy puts on his wrestle-with-the-controls face and, amazingly, flies along about 5 feet above the waves for about 5 or 10 agonizingly long minutes. Various choppy edits take us to different passengers so they can register their concern. Finally, finally, one of the engines catches a wave (dude! that was a gnarly one) and the plane wrecks itself onto the surface onto the ocean, trailing bits of scorched engine and the last of the fuel, but more or less intact.

There’s a shot showing it sort of floating on the surface. Then cut to a crew area on a lower level, where some guy is sitting in a crew jumpseat – the kind with the double over-shoulder harnesses. Once the plane comes to rest he pops open a service hatch and goes down the hatch (yes, please, I’ll have another). He ends up in the cargo hold, where all of a sudden he’s joined by a lot of water, and the cargo bins shift around and squish him so that he’s trapped under the water. Huh? Was this guy one of the guys previously seen in the exposition scene, or was he a completely new guy? I can’t tell from later scenes if anybody is missing, it’s that memorable of a movie. And that’s the last you see of Cargo Man. He may have had some purpose connected with the Bad Guy Salvage Co., as you’ll see. Like setting off an explosive charge to blow a conveniently sized hole in the side of the cargo hold that has the conveniently located ladder. Mission possibly accomplished, he disappears in a cloud of bubbles behind a big metal cargo container.

Don’t Panic! Don’t Panic! Dania the flight attendant must be an h2g2 fan, too! She tells everyone to put on life vests, natter for a bit, then think about opening the doors to get in the life rafts that will automatically deploy. “Red” and one of the other guys go to the main cabin door and start to open it, but one of them points out, quite correctly, that it’s half submerged already. So better not open the door, or the carpet will get wet. Very quickly, the 747 slips below the surface, nose first (which goes against the rules of physics, since I think all the water weight is amidships in the cargo, and the cockpit and upper cabin have a lot of air volume high and forward, and yadda yadda yadda). Everybody screams, each in their own way. “Red” and the other men scream silently, however.

They sink. Everything gets black outside. Then they hit bottom and come to rest on the sea floor, a suspiciously short time after starting to sink. McCloud hollers helpfully “We’ve hit bottom!” which is how I know. Contrary to expectation, the sea does not explode into the cabin from the crushing pressure of the depths. This is also suspicious, because they’re at least 150 miles or more off the coast of California, and the ocean gets really deep that far out.

Nattering. The Bad Pilot Guy comes back and reports a lot of nonsense designed to keep them calm. He tells them he already released the emergency beacon (did not! That was the doohicky button he disabled!). They decide that since the air will remain fresh as long as the batteries are running the atmo-scrubber whatchamajigs, they’ll just leave all the the table lamps on and play music and make coffee. They all take a moment to look out the windows and watch little stunt bubbles float up from below.

Bad Guy Salvage Co. boat. Oh, boy! Time to go get the goods! Let’s suit up, boys! And all the minions appear in their diving gear, and to a man they’re all wearing sweet little boy bike shorts under the sort of dive suit that you pull on over your head and shoulders and then snap a big dangle-dongle thing under the crotch. With two big honkin’ snaps right down low where they catch a lady’s eye. They all look manly, but shift subtly from one foot to another – maybe they’re chafing at the bit, or perhaps they’re just chafing. Coolio gets his final orders from Elder Tim Cantrell, and hefts his totally superfluous speargun as he says meaningfully that he’ll settle accounts with Bad Pilot Guy. And into the water they go. Gee, those shorts are cute. They all have good legs and nice butts, too. Yummy. Maybe I’d better rename this the Good Ship Queer Eye Bad Guy? No, maybe not.

Aboard The Good Ship I Used To Be A Boeing 747, Now I’m A Frickin’ Submarine: the passengers take a moment off from playing “Gilligan’s Island Trivia” to notice that divers are visible outside the windows. Yay! They’re rescued! Not. The divers make their way into that conveniently sized hole in the cargo bay and take no notice of the dead guy drowned and squished under the containers. They don’t waste any time looking around, they just head up the conveniently located stairs and head up through the access hatch.

Meanwhile, back on the mainland, Hot Babe confirms on her big-ass satellite cell phone that the divers are about to make contact with Bad Pilot Guy. But good, of course. And they’re going to get the black box whatsit that’s handcuffed to somebody. It becomes clear that the whatsit is some sort of satellite control hardware, but there’s also a software upgrade available for download or on CD called “Evil Nuclear Satellite Service Pack 2.” Heh. Anyway, she dinks on a laptop for a second.

Outside her rilly posh cool pad, Wendy the Security Babe waits impatiently for Mac to show up. Stood up again, she mutters to herself, and she goes in without backup. Back in Hot Babe’s office, she hears Wendy’s less than stealthy entry and says to Elder Tim Cantrell “Gotta go! Somebody’s breaking in. Byeeeee!” She grabs her laptop, but not her giant cell phone, and makes a run for it. Amazingly, the writers fail to have her confront Wendy Babe and have a nasty girlfight on her way out, perhaps because their subscription to Bad Movie Cliche magazine expired. Wendy Babe runs into the office, correctly assesses that since it’s empty Hot Babe is not there, and runs out into the street, just in time to see Hot Babe burn rubber on her way out of there – she gets away in a not-very-Hot-Babish late model sedan. Wendy Babe waves her gun around a little like when you wave a dead chicken over a broken hard drive, or more like she can’t decide whether there’s a noise abatement ordinance in effect or not. Fortunately, her date Mack shows up at last in another late-model car (perfect for car chases! No money down!) and she hops in, not neglecting to deliver the deathless line “she’s getting away! step on it!”

Car chase on a twisty winding road. They mentioned the name of it, which sounded familiar and California-y to me. It’s night, so there’s oncoming headlights to dodge and such. She exposits again that Hot Babe is her only link to nailing that rat-bastard Elder Tim Cantrell. David was watching at this point, and I predicted accurately that Hot Babe’s car would go over the edge and end up in flaming ruin and stuff blowing up. Almost immediately, her car goes through the guard rail and she’s going down, down, down. However, it seems she meant to do that, sorta. It’s an extremely steep slope but she’s still more or less in control. Wendy Babe and Mack pull over and look down. Hot Babe manages to jump out of the car and roll away just before it plows ungracefully into a small electrical substation of some kind. Stuff blows up, not very excitingly, with a lot of white-hot electrical pops and flashes. Wendy Babe and Mack are disappointed in the cheesy special effects, but scratch Hot Babe off their “To Do” list – she’s dead to them. Hot Babe, meanwhile, trots off in her chunky late-90’s heels to catch a bus or something. Since this is California, that could take a while.

Confrontation in Coach: the Bad Guy Salvage Company marches in a phalanx headed by Coolio and his big manly speargun into the main cabin of McCloud’s 747. They quickly establish that they are the bad guys and they are up to no good. Bad Guy Pilot cheers up, because his ride is here and it’s payday, too. He says something along the lines of “Jeez! What took you guys so long? Where’s my money?” Coolio, who is a good rapper but only a so-so actor, replies by shooting Bad Guy Pilot in the chest, through-and-through, with the speargun.

Bad Guy Pilot, looking very surprised, sits very carefully down in seat 13C and commences to die. He is unable to recline the seat fully owing to a foot of sharpened speargun dart emerging from his back, and the tray table won’t lower because of the 2 feet of the back end of a speargun dart emerging from his sternum. So he’s not only dying, but he’s doing it in a crappy seat, and he’ll die before he gets enough mileage for a free upgrade to First Class.

Everybody becomes pretty attentive. The Bad Guy etc. etc. guys get the black box thingy from (was it Slick Tech Guy? Yes, I think so). It appears that he is their other inside man. Well, that’s just stupid, why didn’t they just meet him in Honolulu at Don Ho’s matinee show and get it from him then? I may be mixed up about who had the black box thing, but really, the whole premise of the sunken plane actually gets even worse, not better from here on in. Anyway, Slick Tech guy professes undying loyalty, and fortunately for him the speargun is a one-shot deal. Or otherwise, he’d be doing the dying loyalty thing just like Bad Pilot Guy, one surmises. He’s told to get into an extra dive suit (complete with sweet little boy bike shorts, so they all still match) as he’s apparently still needed – probably he’s the software guy who knows the whatsit codes. From out of a plastic bag or maybe out of his rubber-snapped crotch area, which looks way too big and so probably has a lot of storage space, Coolio pulls a gun. Or, wait – somebody else on the plane was packing a wee little automatic in an ankle holder – who was that? “Red?” Feh, it doesn’t matter. Coolio shoots “Red” Jim, the security dude, because he’s the biggest threat and most likely to kick his ass in a fair fight. He falls, wounded. Much screaming and dismay. Incredibly Pregnant Judy is the most upset, because it’s impossible to get a date when you’re an unwed mother and her most promising lead looks like a goner.

Coolio and the Gang all turn on their heels and march as one back to the access hatch and down the steps into the flooded cargo hold. Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to the Bad Guy Salvage Company Boat they go! They swim away. Things look pretty grim back in Coach.

About here, another subtle scene-shift takes us back to the mainland, where Agent Mack and Wendy Babe have a little tete-a-tete over Hot Babe’s bigass satellite phone. Wendy boasts that she now has all the numbers of everyone Hot Babe ever dated – oh, if she only knew what a jackpot that is – and also she has a lot of other intel that was somehow on the phone. She knows that Cantrell is on a boat close to the last known position of the plane. Mack decides that the bad guys are going Diving for Dollars, or the nearest equivalent in outdated arms satellite gear, and he decides to hook up with the Navy, since he inexplicably knows the flattop aircraft carrier is out there, too. Again, this may have been covered in one of the missed scenes. Whatever. He decides he’d better pack his trunks (oh, I hope he remembered the little boy shorts ones, I think he’s going to need them).

Hannes, or whatever his character’s name is, turns out to be a doctor. And yay! Flight Attendant Dania was a triage nurse in Iraq I! She checks over “Red” pretty carefully and says the bullet has to come out – there’s not enough bleeding, apparently. He’s very short of breath. I diagnose internal bleeding and a possible collapsed lung, because I saw “Three Kings” too, bitch! Better get ready to stick a chest drain in him STAT!

About now would be a really good time to start to go into labor. Right, Unbelieveably Pregnant Judy? Heck, yeah.

Back on board the USS Action Figure, Captain Fred Williamson greets Agent Mack, who had just landed in one of those cute snub-nosed prop planes they use for cargo and passengers on aircraft carriers – I know this because they show them on JAG, silly. Captain Fred greeted him with the sort of half-assed salute reserved for non-military government Sekrit Service types, indicating that he thinks Mack is about a quart low. So while Mack freshens up and puts talcum powder in his boy shorts, Captain Fred consults with his favorite frogman, Lieutenant Flattop.

He tells Flattop it’s time to load up the chopper with their OWN studly divers in sweet little boy shorts and badly fitting crotch-grabber diving suits and go rescue those people! Honestly, they assumed all along the aircraft was intact, under the water, and full of living, breathing people. Man, it gives a whole new meaning to naval intelligence… well, that’s another story. Anyway, this batch of studly Navy divers in crotch-grabbers looks so much like the former crew of studly Bad Guy divers in crotch-grabbers that they haven’t even dried off yet. Off they go, into the wild blue yonder… sorry, wrong service. They fly off in the chopper, Lieutenant Nick “Flattop” Danger, Third Eye, at the controls. Mack fits right in and sits quietly chafing in the corner, happy that he packed the right color shorts so that he matches the rest of the boys’ outfits. He hopes he’ll be popular with the other chaps. The first pass over the search area turns up nothing. Damn! Lieutenant Flattop tells Captain Fred or somebody that he’s going to go around again just for luck. Another missed opportunity for the writers – they could have written in another twist about low fuel, break off the search, return to the ship like every other rescue at sea movie does, but nooo. They’re pros.

Back at Chez 747, McCloud glances tensely out the window where the stunt bubbles are still indicating that, yes, they’re underwater. Extremely Pregnant Judy gets on with all the yucky squicky business of bringing another New Life into the world. “Red” Jim is looking a mite peaked, but is hanging on just so his death won’t distract Judy (endearingly, he calls her “Miss Campbell” through the whole movie, but she calls him “Jim.” Aww, he’s a gent). The other surviving security guy (why the hell can’t I get these guys straight? or was that Doctor Hannes?) goes to check on the console thing with the disabled button and soon figures out how to set off the emergency beacon. So yay! the second time around, the Navy chopper diver dudes pick up the beacon and start dropping divers into the water. The chopper returns to the ship for the moment – hey, that was smart, they can refuel.

Uncharacteristically alert for a guy that downed so many bourbons-and-branch, McCloud notices a couple of very big, businesslike sharks cruising outside and bellyaches “Aw, that’s just what we need! Sharks!” Yep, they couldn’t have gotten there 10 minutes earlier and gobbled up the Bad Guy Salvage Company boys. Damn unreliable cartilagenous bastards! You’re so fired! No Universal Studios tour for you! And no frickin’ laser beams on your heads until after dinner! Evidently, Mama Shark is looking to open a can of human beans for supper. Fortunately or unfortunately for us all, it seems like she and all her kids have the shark equivalent of ADD, as you’ll see.

And anyway, Dr. Hannes looks worried, because his doctorate was in playing Slightly Menacing Chaotic-Good Character Actors with Tactfully Coiffed Hair. He confirms that Judy is indeed Incredibly Pregnant and leaves her in Nurse Flight Attendant Dania’s capable paws so that he can poke “Red’s” shoulder and diagnose that he’s been shot again.

The sharks appear to be frightened away by all the testosterone emitted by the Naval divers, and the Navy boys soon swim in through the same hole in the cargo hold, ignoring the same dead guy squished and drowned under the containers, and up the same conveniently located stairs. What is this, a bus station? Have a little respect.

Yay, one of them is a really cute doctor and Lamaze coach! He tells Judy she’s doing great and pulls out a very large pair of sterilized medical pom-poms. Yeah, Judy! Rah rah raby, sis boom baby! She calls out for wounded “Red” Jim to come over and hold her up while she pushes. She leans right on his wound. That’s got to hurt, and besides there’s no blood on her hair later. He seems to be recovering rapidly since I’m Not A Doctor Hannes got the bullet out and he can breathe again.

The divers decide that since they didn’t bring enough crotch-grabbers for everyone, they’ll just raise the plane, just like they did in Airport ’77. In fact, they’ll use the exact same footage, so it’ll be really easy. Bring on the craft scissors and the Scotch Tape, and we’ll get us some cool special effects for cheap! So, they just go away (or did they reuse the “Hi Ho” footage from a few scenes back?). Meanwhile, Doctor Cheerleader stays behind to help remove the Goodyear Blimp that has somehow become lodged in Judy’s belly, and by the way, she’s doing great! Before the divers leave, one of the other guys – either Daughter Dating Cad Guy, or “Red” Jim – gives Agent Mack the pre-printed laminated wallet-sized card that contains a series of commands that disables the blackbox-whatsit Death Star satellite gizmo. Dude, that’s so secure! That’s why you’re in Security! Mack must shut the satellite down, or Elder Tim Cantrell will use it to do something unthinkable, like target well-known buildings in New York or Washington!

Oh, right, this movie is so September 10 – it was made in 2000 even.

Speaking of Elder Tim, he and Slick Tech guy are in the back seats, and Coolio and a pilot are in the front seats of a chopper that’s just lifted off from the deck of the Good Ship Bad Guy. The rest of the cute Swedish Bad Guy Boy Shorts team are off impersonating Naval personnel, so they’re not in this scene, and besides the chopper they’re using only seats 4. Slick Tech guy looks a little nervous as the really bad Bad Guys banter about how they offed the Bad Guy Pilot guy, so now they all have more money to split. Heh! Heh! He hopes they still need him to enable the satellite whatsis with the command codes (he has his little card, too), so he guesses that’s while he’s still alive. Right? Right?

“That’s right,” says Elder Tim Cantrell, as Coolio smirks and nods his head to some unheard rap groove. See, Coolio apparently knows they just need the little wallet-sized card. He’s got the 411. He’s down with the tech thing. Then Elder Tim pulls out a very nice big automatic and shoots him in the back of the head. Not Slick Tech guy, but Coolio! The headliner! And then Elder Tim says evenly to Slick Tech “Give me a hand with this, will you?” and they get ready to dump Coolio’s body out into the ocean below. A shot of the helicopter from behind going toward land does not show Coolio falling, however. Maybe Elder Tim needs Slick Tech to read the teeny-tiny print on the wallet-sized card because he forgot his reading glasses, and he got tired of Coolio’s endless gangsta head-bobbing. Somewhere on the ocean behind them, the Good Ship Bad Guy sets sail for the Catalina Triangle and is never seen again, thus clearing up an annoying loose end by simply not referring to it once its function in the plot has screened.

Oops! While everybody on the plane waits for the Navy guys to find the footage from Airport ’77 and raise the 747 from the sea floor, the plane slides a little on the level and wholly unrealistic “ledge” that is the reason they’re only one hundred feet down. Gosh, it might go over the edge and they’d all finally be crushed and/or drowned, what a shame that would be. Also, the medical guys think something’s funny with the air scrubbers, and the CO2 level might be rising. But that could only happen if there was something keeping the batteries from getting power to the scrubbers, which are located under the deck flooring. Something… like sea water? They open a conveniently located floor hatch, and somebody dips a hand in and brings it out, dripping. Seawater! Filling the lower compartment! The carpeting’s ruined! After all this time screwing around on the bottom of the sea, they only have a few minutes of air left.

Meanwhile, after obligatory screaming, sweating, cheering (Dr Lamaze again) and pushing, Suddenly Not Pregnant Judy leans up against wounded, yet strong Agent “Red” Jim and delivers a Special Baby. This Special Baby Appearance is even in the end credits, while poor dead Co-Pilot is not. The nerve. Anyway, “Red” looks pretty hopeful about his chances with Judy now that she’s Not Pregnant anymore.

And up topside, Captain Fred Williamson proudly deploys all the testosterone-filled manly seamen he can spare from their duties swabbing his decks and pooping his mainsail. The camera pans lovingly, yet awkwardly, over all the activity. Meanwhile, ginormous yellow liftbags that Agent Mack had brought along with him in the little snub-nose prop job are obviously about to be deployed. There are all kinds of odd little boats full of guys with specialist diving gear, including the yellow lift bags, but the color values are off from the rest of the movie and their uniforms look oddly archaic. This must be the beginning of the footage from the other movie. The divers busily attach lift straps and start pumping air in the bags. There is no footage to explain how the lift straps got UNDER the fuselage, however.

And LIFT! and SEPARATE! Yep, the plane rises to the surface, nestled in bright yellow mammary glands, and suddenly it’s time to debark this turkey and get to the happy ending already. But first, open the door, throw the new mother and her baby in the Navy rescue raft, then everybody else jumps in the raft except McCloud, who’s standing in the door. Offscreen, a bored stagehand throws cupfuls of water in front of a fan so the actors all get sprayed lightly and rhythmically. Things start to go wrong with the lift gear – just like in that other movie, too. One of the liftbags comes loose from its D-ring and pops up in the air. The sudden movement shakes the plane and McCloud stumbles, hits his head, and stumbles back into the coach cabin (I know, he was going back to rescue that last bottle of Old Cowpoke from his beloved antique wooden bar). The others call out but another lift bag pops off and suddenly the plane is tilting toward the bottom again and the Navy dudes motor away so as not to get caught in the undertow or wreckage or sucking chest wound that is this movie, because straps and D-rings and airbags start popping off all over. Oh no! McCloud is going down with the ship, but at least he’ll be able to go on a short but very intense bender before the cabin fills with water through the open door, incidentally ruining the last batch of coffee Dania managed to make. Poor bastard. He hates bourbon-and-seawater.

Lieutenant Nick Flattop reports crisply, yet lovingly to Captain Fred Williamson that all passengers except one accounted for. I can’t remember if there’s a joke about a supernumerary in the person of the Specially Appearing Baby, but there should have been. Captain Fred unpuckers at last. Everybody makes the obligatory refugee-in-a-blanket appearance to say thanks for watching the movie all this time. Dania and Yorkie the yappy, bereaved, but newly rich daughter, make up and sniff each others’ butts, and then Agent Mack, still relatively fresh after his dip, takes off for somewhere on the mainland where he can dink around on a computer with the security code card propped up in front of him. Kind of like me when I get into “helpless flailing” mode.

On the mainland, Wendy Babe has Elder Tim Cantrell’s house under surveillance. She’s shocked when Hot Babe drives up in a slightly newer late model car – apparently, Hot Babe not only survived, but caught that elusive suburban bus to a rental car agency – and then she goes into the house. Wendy Babe decides to call for backup, and then contacts Agent Mack last of all.

And wow, Agent Mack made it back pretty quick on that plane. He’s at McCloud Enterprises corporate headquarters, talking to another security guy and typing madly away. Apparently those are some very, very, very long commands on that little wallet-sized card, but he types them swiftly and accurately. He’s evidently a graduate of the Mavis Beacon Institute for Computer Security Guys and Sekrit Agent Mans. After a few tense moments – I believe he was supplied with a cup of hot, fresh coffee just in time – he announces that he’s disabled the satellite and locked the codes so that Elder Tim can’t have Slick Tech simply re-enter them from his own card. This is good, so we won’t get into one of those wars where you stand at a light switch and turn it off, and somebody else stands at the end of the hall by the other switch and turns the light back on. Repeatedly. I used to get into these all the time when my niece Ranny lived with us. We’d get hysterical turning the lights on and off. Hilarity! Well, you had to be there. So, we won’t have its computer equivalent. Or the ensuing nuke-killer war, as it turns out the satellite whatsis has nuclear capabilities. However, he and the other security guy rush off in answer to Wendy Babe’s call for backup, because Elder Tim and Slick Tech still have the hardware control gizmo, so all they need is to hook it up to a compatible computer and hack the codes (apparently, there’s not one available at your nearest Radio Shack, so they’ve got some time).

Wham! Wendy Babe’s backup arrives in the form of ATF agents and their distinctive jackets at Elder Tim’s house. Bam! Macho Agent Mack shows up with his Sekrit Service guys – they’ve got bigger, brawnier guns and no girlz aloud. She asserts authority and says they’re all under her command and don’t get in her way. Macho Mack is all “Yeah, right, in your dreams” and brushes past her to head into the house. “Thank you, ma’am.” His superior diplomatically offers that it will be ATF’s bust, they will follow her lead since she knows the house from all the boring surveillance work and off-screen investigating she’s done. However, it’s clear even to her own ATF guys that Agent Mack is the big dog and has the upper hand… or paw, anyway. She does a slow burn, but you know there’s a lot of appraisal in that smolder. Oh, she can actually emote – that’s better than everybody else except Special Appearance Baby can say. Or gurgle.

Plan? We don’ need no stinkeen’ plan, we threw that out with the badges. They all rush into the house in the standard “you take the front and I’ll take the back, and I’ll be in Scotland afore ye” home invasion pattern. There is much shooting. Hot Babe, Elder Tim, and Slick Tech somehow avoid all the mayhem, since it’s only minions that get shot in this scene. Actually, a lot of stuff gets shot at but no bullet holes appear. Guess they ran out of the stuff they use for small-yield stunt charges. Anyway, Slick Tech is interrupted in his hackery and reluctantly packs up the gizmo in its black box and runs out following Elder Tim. Hot Babe runs out and – yay! runs smack into Wendy Babe, so the girlfight is ON. It’s a slapping, punching, whirling, kicking kind of girlfight – no hairpulling – so I’m guessing Hot Babe was wearing a wig. She’s still wearing the same outfit she had on in the first reel – a midriff-baring sleevless black top and a pair of black Lycra flares that right up too high on her waist and ride down a little low on her butt. She’s a bit hippy, and oh, the catty things she’d hear if ever she appeared on the British version of What Not To Wear.

Reeer! Rowr!!! Raaaahr! The catfight continues. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the house, guys run around shooting the crap out of anything that moves. Predictably, Elder Tim and Slick Tech escape unharmed to the driveway, where a luxury limo disguised as a large U-Haul truck with the logo painted over is waiting to whisk them to their back-up lair. The girlfight concludes with a dirty move by Hot Babe – stop drooling, she eventually kicks Wendy Babe’s ass and runs away to the driveway, where she also arrives unscathed in spite of all the hot lead flying around her ears. Elder Tim yells at her to move her not-insubstantial butt and get in the damn truck already. Asskicked Wendy Babe joins Agent Mack at the foot of the driveway as the luxury U-Haul executes a careful and competent 3-corner turn and prepares to move away at high speed (which on this type of vehicle is no faster than 55, because there’s typically a governor on rental trucks). Oh no, it looks like they’re slowly and ponderously getting away! But fear not, one of the anonymous Security Dudes hands Agent Mack a frickin’ bazooka, tricked out in jungle camo. Jeez, is that thing rated for urban use? And nobody wears does jungle camo anymore, so you know it’s surplus.

Agent Mack takes careful aim, because he’s got plenty of time. Why? Because Elder Tim Cantrell notices the cool green flash of jungle camo in the big side-mounted rear view window (yeah, he’s a control freak, so he’s driving, and if you call “shotgun” that’s exactly what you’ll get). And he stops the disguised U-Haul and sticks his head out the window so he can get a better look at what happens next to last in his entire life. He has time to say something profound, but settles for hollering “Holy crap!” instead. Agent Mack fires the bazooka, and the rental truck blows up pretty well for something stuffed with wood shavings, flame gel, cordite, and whatever odds and ends of inflammable shit the special effects guy can dig out of his toolkit. So that puts “paid” to the Elder Tim/Hot Babe/Slick Tech gang.

And that’s pretty much it for the movie – I can’t remember if Wendy Babe and Agent Mack sneak back into the house for their long-postponed but inevitable makeout session, but that’s probably in the sequel (please, God? No sequels).

The ending credits offer a few further insights, such as the previously-mentioned S. A. Baby, played by Sophia Bruce. Also, Hot Babe is played by Melani Paul, which is when I fall off the couch laughing, because first of all, she used to be married to Adrian, was in an episode of Highlander when they were still married, and I’ve actually met and spoken with her (I bought a Celtic pony-tail thingy from her at the first convention in Denver). So the one person I should have recognized, or could have if she hadn’t been wearing that appalling wig or dye job or whatever, I identified as a random female wrestler instead. Oh, well.

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