Poseidon

  • Film
  • Action and adventure
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Why is there such an air of inevitability about this? Because the crowd-pleasing analogue spectacle of ‘The Poseidon Adventure’ was so clearly ripe for a Hollywood digital update? Because its plot about a luxury cruise ship hit by a rogue tidal wave taps right into all those post-9/11, post-tsunami, post-Katrina anxieties? Because Wolfgang Petersen (‘Das Boot’, ‘The Perfect Storm’) is running out of boat ideas? Whatever the reason, ‘Poseidon’ proves a distinctly conservative venture.

A flashy David Cameron conservative, mind you. It’s pacy and exciting, trowelling on plenty of shoddy CGI slap and offering a brand new cast of characters. Gone is Reverend Gene Hackman haranguing his faithful herd from ballroom up to propellor shaft in favour of gambler Josh Lucas trying to sneak off to safety alone. He’s stopped by nine-year-old Conor (Jimmy Bennett) asking to tag along with his single mum (Jacinda Barrett), before being joined by Richard Dreyfuss, playing a recently dumped, suicidal gay architect, and Kurt Russell’s Robert Ramsey, both a former firefighter and former mayor of New York (!), who demands they first track down his teenage daughter Emmy Rossum and her boyfriend (Mike Vogel).

Where 1972’s crew conjured a rousing communality, 2006’s film offers a line-up of loners struggling to stay together and lacks the same momentum as a result. It also fails to tease out the contemporary resonances or adequately integrate emotion with action – why is Russell quizzing Rossum about her boyfriend while they’re zipping over a lake of flaming oil on a commando line? – and serves up a reactionary body count of one villain, one hero and two immigrants. Nevertheless, Petersen’s expert direction ensures it remains gripping, keeping the tension ratcheted right up and commendably steering it all home within 100 minutes.

Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Thursday June 1 2006
Duration: 98 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Screenwriter: Mark Protosevich
Cast: Kurt Russell
Richard Dreyfuss
Jacinda Barrett
Emmy Rossum
Josh Lucas
Mike Vogel
Mia Maestro
Jimmy Bennett
Andre Braugher
Freddy Rodriguez
Kevin Dillon
Stacy Ferguson
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