Starring the rectangle-jawed and entirely likeable Treat Williams as a typically rascally hero-guy, the never-more-beautiful Famke Janssen as a mega-sexy thief, and a whole bunch of colorful character actors who are given maybe eight lines of dialogue and one personality trait apiece, Deep Rising is the flick Sommers made before he hit the big-time with his off-kilter rendition of The Mummy -- which he promptly followed up with two certifiable dung-heaps: The Migraine Returns and the unwatchable Van Hellstink. (Prior to Deep Rising, Sommers directed a pair of flicks for Disney: The Adventures of Huck Finn and The Jungle Book.)
So that's six whole movies that Stephen Sommers has written/directed, and yet the only one I can go back to for repeat viewings is 1998's Deep Rising. Ostensibly a monster movie in a disaster flick suit, DR benefits from a quick pace, a good deal of action, some strong doses of very visual viscera and a bunch of actors who are clearly playing the piece with tongue planted firmly in cheek. You want to talk about plotholes, lackluster editing and a general lack of actual story, I'd listen and probably agree; Deep Rising is a genre flick that wears its glitches firmly on its sleeve (and some of the CGI is really weak) but it still moves forward with such playful abandon that I'm more than willing to overlook the rough spots (most of which arrive in Act III and during a powerfully chintzy-looking epilogue) and just enjoy the flick as snack food for the cerebellum.
Plus it stands as a reminder that Sommers can get a little gritty and nasty sometimes ... when he's not beholden to a $200 million budget and forever chasing the Holy Grail that is the PG-13 rating.