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The Abyss

One of James Cameron's lesser known films, but in my opinion one of his best, THE ABYSS is a terrific action/sci-fi hybrid that takes place beneath the ocean's surface.

As the film opens, the crew of an oil rig is commissioned by the Navy to assist in the rescue of a downed nuclear submarine that has sunk to the ocean's floor nearby.

Bud Brigman (Ed Harris) and his estranged wife Lindsey (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) are at the end of their marriage and on opposite sides of the Navy takeover.

When a Seal Team boards the deep dive rig with a mission of their own, tension grows and suspicions rise.

The rig crew is filled with great actors who delivery laughs and realistic friendship in the face of danger.

Writer/Director James Cameron is swinging for the fences here, following up "Terminator" and "Aliens" with another non-stop action piece.

Like Aliens, once he sets the story up, hurricanes, disasters, violence and suspense kick in and never let up.

Michael Biehn is scary as the Seal commander who doesn't react well to the pressures of the deep and Harris & Mastrantonio have some great scenes together as their relationship comes full cycle in the face of crisis and death.

There are more than nukes at the bottom of the sea and the special effects throughout were state-of-the-art in 1989 and hold up very well today.

Alan Silverstri's music score is excellent and is always present.

It's odd to note that Cameron has written Lindsey as a shrew for the first half of the film, setting her up with rudely misogynistic comments from other characters. Cameron is responsible for some of the bravest, boldest female action heroes in film history (Sigourney Weaver's Ripley in Aliens, Linda Hamilton's Sarah Connor in Terminator 2) and Lindsey is an odd fit in that screenplay canon.

Look for Letterman regular Chris Elliott as a member of the crew, he does a great job.

The Abyss dives deep and comes up a winner with a tense and exciting A.

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