Steel Sharks (1997)

R   |    |  Action

Steel Sharks (1997) Poster

In this undersea thriller, a United States submarine is seized by terrorists. But a rescue attempt by an elite group of Navy Seals goes wrong when they are captured. Now they must wage a silent war beneath the waves.


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13 October 2013 | DigitalRevenantX7
| Submarine action for cheap.
Story Synopsis: The USA is put on high alert when the Islamist government of Iran is overthrown in a bloody coup. At the same time, Dr. Van Tassel, a chemical weapons expert who is working with the UN to examine Iraqi armouries, is abducted by the Iranians, who want to use his encyclopaedic knowledge of chemical weapons in order to build up their own stockpile. The US Navy sends in a Navy SEAL team to rescue him. At first, the plan goes off without a hitch, but the SEALs are quickly overrun by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard & captured. The prisoners are transferred to one of the Iranian navy's submarines, whose commander plans to use them as a shield in order to attack US submarines with impunity. But as the American submarine in the area is dragged into a cat-&-mouse game with it, the SEALs & Van Tassel combine their knowledge in order to hijack the sub & escape before it is sunk.

Film Analysis: Steel Sharks is one of the countless direct-to-video action films made during the 1990s, a card-carrying member of the catalogue maintained by Royal Oaks Entertainment, a studio formed by former actor Andrew Stevens & former tennis player Ashok Amritraj.

As is the case with most of Royal Oaks' films, Steel Sharks is a military-themed actioner with an emphasis on US military tactics & hardware. The heroes of the film are all US military members & the film has plenty of stock footage of submarines surfacing, planes taking off aircraft carriers & so on.

While the film places priority on giving a realistic story (although I don't think that Iran's government will be overthrown for at least another couple of decades, even with the Arab Spring claiming the despots of Tunisia & Egypt & the brutal civil wars of Libya & Syria) & well-drawn characters, Steel Sharks is still a cheap action film that doesn't have any chance of rising above the flood of similar films that came out at the same time. If anything, the film (which is still a lot better than those awful actioners that Chuck Norris made during the 1980s) is something of a forgettable effort. Despite the submarine shots being rather poor model work, there is nothing wrong with the technical side of things.

The acting is, as usual with these Royal Oaks films, quite good. Billy Warlock shines as the new recruit for the SEALs team, Gary Busey (who is by nature something of an underrated actor) making a capable submarine commander & Billy Dee Williams doing it well as the Navy bigwig running the show.

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