This rather pointless remake of the Irwin Allen disaster flick benefits from director Wolfgang Petersen's skill at creating tense, claustrophobic action sequences and little else. He keeps the setup brief, and the entire film moves at a modest and refreshingly quick pace, pretty much shoveling aside the main characters' back stories in favor of the more pressing concerns of their physical survival. For this reason, none of the characters are that interesting; however, proactive Josh Lucas manages to make a likeable impression as the rugged hero, and Kevin Dillon attempts to inject a little levity with his campy villain, Lucky Larry, but he's sent to Davy Jones' locker in the first reel. The action sequences amount to puzzles that need to be solved to move from one section of the ship to the next and mostly involve gushing water, skittering power lines, and jammed door hatches. These scenes could easily become tiresome, and yet, despite special effects that look like the climax of a Universal Studios thrill ride, the deft use of cross-cutting and panicky close-ups makes them fun. Still this high-profile summer actioner looks surprisingly low-rate, from the little known and not very charismatic cast to a luxury liner that looks like it was CGI'ed in from a pre-Titanic prototype. A director with a track record like Peterson deserves better projects than this lazy quick-buck retread.
by Michael Buening review