The Argonautica is a luxury cruiser on its maiden voyage off the South China seas. Heading towards it is a smaller boat with a roguish Treat Williams, playing Captain John Finnegan as captain. He carries aboard a team of mercenaries whose luggage is - predictably - an armload of torpedoes and some high-tech machine guns that seem to generate more noise than spew out bullets.
Anyway, the plan of the ship's owner Simon Canton, played by Anthony Heald, is to take control of the cruiser using the brute force of the above-mentioned hired commandos, force the passengers off it, and then sink it so as to claim an insurance worth about four hundred million dollars.
However, the creature that roams the deep waters has a better agenda - to suck out the body fluids of every passenger on board and then go on its merry way.
Enter Williams and Kevin J. O'Connor (playing Joey) along with the toughs on a sinking and seemingly empty ship. They meet up with the ship's captain, Simon Canton, the resourceful Trillian (played by Famke Janssen) and several thickly coiled, viciously-headed tentacles all belonging to an octopus of largish proportions, which surprisingly is endowed not only with those useful arms, but also something resembling intelligence - this last being it's most endearing quality.
The dialogue somehow never succeeds to rise above all the sinking going on around it, and consists mostly of smart one-line remarks.
The special effects are quite average, and several screen shots are openly repeated in the course of the film. This movie, that falls very much in the league of "Virus", starring Jamie Lee Curtis, has two saving graces: Treat Williams and Famke Janssen. Their presence saves the day and makes the flick tolerable.
Blood and gore aplenty, the movie has its tension-filled moments. However, the premise of the film is so unrealistic that the viewers can't help but be detached rather than terrified at the goings-on inside the Argonautica. All in all, if for nothing else, go watch this one for a good laugh.This article was first published on 05 Jun 2000.