Sanctum 3D (NC)

Starring: Richard Roxburgh, Ioan Gruffudd

The "king of the world" James Cameron is executive producer on this 3D group-in-peril thriller. At its heart it's a macho battle of wills.

Richard Roxburgh is the testy superman in charge of a potholing expedition into a massive labyrinth of caverns in Papua, New Guinea; Ioan Gruffud is the brash billionaire financing the project. If only they'd heeded the weather report, then they'd have known the mother of all storms is blowing in to flood the system "like a blocked dunny", leaving a group of cavers trapped underground, Roxburgh's estranged son (Rhys Wakefield) among them. So the countdown begins: how many of them will be left at the end? This is a variation on Martin Campbell's far superior Vertical Limit, where the imperilled team are caught on a mountainside starved of oxygen, with similar results: whether it's a pulmonary oedema or the bends, you start coughing up blood. The director Alister Grierson handles the action just fine, but he's hauling along a script that's dead in the water.

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