Deep Gold shines in the moments when it does not take itself seriously. And because these moments are not few, and not far between, this film is a hoot to watch.
Deep Gold is a foreign action film produced in the Philippines. Shot in Cebu and Palawan, it is interesting to see how this movie makes references to Pinoy culture.
Directed by Michael Gleissner, it stars an international cast: Vietnamese model-actress Bebe Pham, Australian model-actress Jaymee Ong (of AXN fame), American model Laury Prudent, and the director himself.
Pham plays Amy Sanchez, a champion skin diver who enlists the help of her sister Jess (Jaymee) and radio DJ Lulu (Laury) to find her boyfriend, a pilot who sinks into the middle of the sea along with tons of gold. Along the way, the three clash with people who will resort to murder just to take the treasure.
This being an action film, it successfully acts as so—stuff blow up, a plane crashes, sets get detroyed, guns are fired, and people die in interesting ways.
But what sets Deep Gold apart from other action films is its inherent humor, whether intentional or not. The villain, for instance, is quite cartoonish. He’s not painted as a tough bad guy, rather planning to end the lives of his enemies through dramatic means. Instead of just firing his gun, he chooses poison, gasoline, and fire. His wife is even more sinister.
The protagonists, on the other hand, are infected by the illogic. Sisters Amy and Jess know the danger they are in, but they allow themselves to be sidetracked by situations that will not in any way advance their goals.
They were also too trusting, easily confiding what they know of the mystery to random strangers, completely ignoring that some random goons are also after them.
These flaws in their characters, however, were beneficial to the film’s fun factor, and as such, were excusable.
The fight scenes in Deep Gold are stylish, unique, and well done. Watch out for the fight scene in the library, where Bebe Pham channels Lara Croft in singlehandedly defeating three bad guys. The two-story library gets destroyed in the process.
The only deterrent to the fight scenes is the production outfit’s decision to make the film in 3D. The 3D effect in this film adds nothing to the experience, and only makes the film dimmer than it should be. This is most problematic in the underwater fight scenes, where the 3D glasses add darkness to an already murky scene.
The actors in this film are competent, even Joel Torre, who has a very short role as Amy and Jess’s father. There are times, however, when several of the actors deliver their lines inaudibly. The non-native English speakers, especially the Filipino actors, had a hard time saying their lines in English, thereby mangling their dialogue for the viewer.
Faults aside, Deep Gold is a heart-racing and enjoyable action film that stars competent actors. The unnecessary 3D hampers the experience a bit, but if viewers can get through that, they will have a wonderful time at the cinema.
Deep Gold opens August 31, 2011 in Philippine cinemas.