By Leah Rozen
August 09, 1999 12:00 PM

Thomas Jane, Saffron Burrows, Samuel L. Jackson, LL Cool J

“You know how sometimes a single night can seem like a week?” asks a character in Deep Blue Sea. You betcha, bud. It’s precisely the sensation you get while watching this soggy chomp-and-chew action thriller, which tries to prove, nearly a quarter century Jaws (1975), that sharks are still scary.

When it comes to successfully snacking on human prey, the macho mako sharks in Deep have two big advantages over their Jaws predecessors: 1) They are smarter, thanks to unethical experiments on their brains that a scientist (Burrows) has been conducting, and 2) they are chasing their human lunch in an enclosed space, an aquatic lab in the Pacific.

Deep has enough scares, blood and action sequences for die-hard shark-flick fans, but neither the script nor the acting ever rise above the routine. Although director Renny Harlin (The Long Kiss Goodnight) clearly knows his way around an action scene, he fails to make Deep seem, well, deep. Part of the problem is Jane (The Thin Red Line), the film’s bland blond leading man, who is so laid-back you will find yourself rooting for the sharks. At least they have attitude. (R)

Bottom Line: Jaws without the bite