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  • Awesome Music: While Jerry Goldsmith's entire score is excellent, the real standout is his kick-ass Main Theme.
  • Cult Classic: The film may have been a flop upon theatrical release and ended up on the Roger Ebert Most Hated Film List, but over the years it has garnered a cult following amongst Sommers fans for being considered as arguably one of his best works and the most Darker and Edgier entry of his directing career due to its R-rated nature of gore, profanity and violence (blending with the usual Sommers adventurous wit) in contrast to his more memorable PG-13 rated works The Mummy Trilogy, Van Helsing and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and his earlier Disney works Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Jungle Book (until his R-rated entry Odd Thomas).
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  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: While the Big Bad is a sea monster, this is a film that has little in the way of "proper" heroes or heroines. Finnegan and his crew seem mostly decent sorts, but are hired for villainous reasons and willingly admit they're Only in It for the Money. Trillian despite her affableness is a thief. Canton is a fraudster. The mercenaries are simply mercenaries, if with camaraderie amongst themselves, and the few crew members to survive the initial attack don't last long enough to do anything heroic.
  • Evil Is Cool: The mercenaries, due to their wisecracking and battle-hardened badass characterizations and their Cool Guns.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: You really have to wonder if the final scene was the major inspiration for Lost.
  • One-Scene Wonder: That one scene where the poor lady tries to hide in the bathroom from the creature, only for it to suck her down through the toilet. Some Youtubers who've seen this movie when they were younger have claimed to not have gone into a bathroom for while because of that scene.
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  • Retroactive Recognition: The film features a huge number of subsequently well-known character actors, and this was one of their earliest projects. This includes Cliff Curtis, Kevin J. O'Connor (a year before his Star-Making Role in another Stephen Sommers film, The Mummy (1999)), Jason Flemyng and Djimon Hounsou. The film could very easily come off as having an All-Star Cast if one was familiar with all of the actor's subsequent filmographies.
  • The Scrappy: Joey, as he is mostly irritating and does nothing to help or further the plot, yet survives over many other more useful characters by dumb luck. One can wonder if this unlikable nature of this character is what led his actor play villainous characters in Sommers' later films like The Mummy (1999), Van Helsing and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra in contrast to Joey who was on the side of this film's heroes.
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  • So Bad, It's Good: One of the main reasons of its Cult Classic status: the film is so unapologetically bent on cool action and gory monsters that it throws every ounce of sense off the window in the process. This Spanish Youtuber explains how much absurdity the film entails, yet only after stating he loves it.
    "This movie doesn't deserve to be so unknown. It should be placed among the best shit movies in the history of film."
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • The creatures do look very good for the time, but whenever they're about to appear for an attack, it's quite obvious the actors are standing in front of a blue-screen for the effects work. This hurts several attacks that were clearly meant to be a surprise.
    • When the two leads escape the boat on the jet ski. They're obviously in front of a blue screen. The fact that their hair isn't moving (as if blowing in the wind) is what gives it away.
    • The death animation for the creature looks like Ludicrous Gibs from a video game.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Sometimes, you can't blame the mercenaries around the first act of the film mercilessly subjecting Joey to a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown after stumbling upon their secret torpedo, Trillian treating like crap for no reason after she's just met him or Hanover shooting him in the leg to save his own skin from the monster, considering Joey being mostly irritating and does nothing to help or further the plot.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: T. Ray, Mamooli and Vivo (played by Djimon Hounsou), who were killed just moments after they boarded the ship before the main action sets for the rest of the characters.
  • Too Cool to Live: The mercenaries are maybe mercenaries, but they put up a heck of a fight against the monster before falling victim to it one by one.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The creature itself was designed by Rob Bottin (The Howling, The Thing (1982)) with CGI by ILM and Dream Quest Images. There's also a scene with a half-digested Billy by Blur Studio.

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