For those that were around for the experience 1989 was a strange year for science fiction movie fans. That was the year we got three high profile underwater monster films released all within a few months of each other. This was back in the heady days of producers trying to rush similar films into production to piggyback on the predicted success of a big budget movie that was in the public consciousness. That's how 1982 saw THE SWORD & THE SORCERER in theaters before the highly anticipated CONAN THE BARBARIAN. Well, in cinema the rip-off dollar is a very good dollar so the news of hit maker James Cameron's new project called THE ABYSS sent other studios into a frenzy to find a comparable script and so we got Sean Cunningham's miserable DEEPSTAR SIX as well as this low rent effort.
On the surface LEVIATHAN has everything going for it. It has a decent budget, a talented cast, a tried-and-true plotline and a director coming off a huge hit. Sadly, the one thing they forgot was to locate a good script instead of just any old pile of papers. This film has many faults but almost all of them can be traced back to that sad-ass script. The story is nothing but a transparent combination of chunks of ALIEN and a measure of Carpenter's THE THING mixed with a dash of ...... not much. The film can be summed up (as it is on the IMDb) this way - " Underwater deep-sea miners encounter a Soviet wreck and bring back a dangerous cargo to their base on the ocean floor with horrifying results. The crew of the mining base must fight to survive against a genetic mutation that hunts them down one by one. " In other words, its 'ALIEN meets THE THING underwater' and I'm sure that was how it was sold to the money people to convince them it was going to be a hit in the year of Cameron's CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE OCEANIC KIND. It wasn't, making about $15 million which did not return a lot to the investors I'm sure.
When I mentioned before that the director (George P. Cosmotos) was coming off a big hit it should be clarified that the film in question was actually made four years before this - RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II (1985) and isn't exactly a cinema classic. In fact, it is one of the dumbest action films of the 1980's but it WAS a huge hit, which is something that you couldn't say about his next film COBRA (1986). Yeah - two shitty Sly Stallone movies in a row with rumors that the star/writer was the real director on both occasions. And knowing the fact that Stallone had COBRA edited down to his less-than-ninety-minutes specifications it would appear that Cosmotos might have been a name hired to fill a slot for some reason other than his skill behind the camera. Hell- the man supposedly didn't even direct the western
TOMBSTONE (1993) from
what I've read with star Kurt Russell reportedly stepping in to get the moviefinished.