Deep Sea Mutant Snake (2022)

Rating: C

Dir: Wu Yang
Star: Zhao Yixin, Li Jiayi, Qiu Shijian, Li Zixiong

The Carsi Group has decided to shut down its Shady Animal Experiment Division. This doesn’t just mean hanging up a “Closed for business” sign, but machine-gunning all the employees to death, and tipping the research reptiles into a hole in the ground – a literal SnakePit! – for disposal by flamethrower. Then there’s the F-sized snake, which requires an F-sized solution, and it appears, comes with an F-sized loophole. Despite the company’s best efforts (which are more of a gesture, really), the king snake and a large slew of smaller ones escape the island where everything is located, and attack a ferry off-shore. So, not particularly “deep sea”, as we previously noted in Deep Sea Python.

Coincidentally, on the boat is Qin Yu (Yixin), who just so happens to be investigating the Carsi Group. This follows the death of Qin’s fiancée, which he blames on the company, and he’s now trying to convince an employee, Jason, to blow the whistle on them. Also involved is journalist Feng Li (Li), though all research is brought to a halt by the sudden arrival of snakes. Lots of snakes. In the end, the only solution is to take off in a lifeboat and nuke the ship from orbit, so to speak. Except, the island on which the survivors then wash up, is exactly the same one used by the Carsi Group for their experiments. What are the odds? There are a slew of other, non-snake nasties still there.

I kinda feel I should have liked this more than I did, but it’s a case of two paces forward, one back with this. There are some nice elements, only they are either underused, the execution is fumbled, etc. For instance, the brisk start – which includes the large snake leaping out of the jungle to snatch a passing helicopter out of mid-air –  has a pair of battle-babes (top) in action. Sadly, and in defiance of the poster imagery, they do not make it to the opening title, one being impaled and the other eaten. Similarly, there’s a really cool giant spider, with incredibly long, pointy legs, which shows up for one scene, impales a couple of people, then wanders off.

Another problem is the stuff between the cool stuff, which is either dull or incoherent. In the film’s defense, the subtitles are far from good for a commercially-released product, especially given the tendency to scientific jargon. Within the first minute, we get Eh?-inducing lines like, “The DNA adjustment order has been confused.” The DNA adjustment order is not the only one. Qin is blandly heroic, and the rest of the cast doesn’t make much impression. Except for one guy, who seems to resemble what you would get if you ordered Weird Al Yankovic on Temu. It’s all okay, yet given the potential in some aspects, it feels like a lost opportunity for more than okay.

This review is part of our feature, When Chinese Animals Attack.