The Last Shark, a.k.a. Great White, a.k.a. L’ultimo Squalo (1981)

Variety Film.  Director: Enzo G. Castellari.

Creature Feature Bleachers Award: Most Explosive Shark.

If you’re anything like me, you’re fervently hoping that this is actually “The Last Shark” movie ever made.  Sadly, we know that’s not the case.  The film was preceded and succeeded by a whole slew of awfully repetitive sharksploitation junk, which continues to be produced and released every year.  It never ends.  There’s very little to distinguish “The Last Shark” from the other films of its era.  In fact, it was so similar to “Jaws” and “Jaws 2” that Universal filed an injunction to have it banned in the United States.  While I don’t know all of the details, this act leaves me scratching my head.  Why, out of the 50+ schlocky “Jaws” ripoffs in existence, did Universal choose to target “The Last Shark”?  Sure, it should be banned for reasons of taste, but the movie isn’t much more derivative than any of the other sharksploitation films out there.

In the coastal seaside town of Port Harbor—a waterfront maritime community on the ocean—the centennial regatta is shaping up to be the biggest event of the year.  Mike Patterson is the local favorite to win the event, though he’s expected to get some competition from Billy, the son of aspiring politician William Wells (Joshua Sinclair).  When Mike disappears, however, the locals get their dander up.  Peter Benton (James Franciscus) and Quint-wannabe Ron Hamer (Vic Morrow) team up to get to the bottom of things.  Since they suspect a shark, they convince Mayor Wells to shark-proof the regatta.  Naturally the shark breaks through and wreaks havoc, prompting Peter and Ron to head out to sea to try to stop the beast.  Will they succeed?

The awesomely frightening Swedish poster.

Fans of “Jaws” (i.e. all people capable of receiving sensory input) will appreciate Vic Morrow’s take on the Quint archetype.  In my opinion, the crusty, older, vaguely Celtic loner character is one of the best elements of the sharksploitation genre.  Perhaps he represents the reassuring fact that there are indeed experienced shark-killers out there, living on the fringes of society and waiting to step in to protect us from sharky threats.  While Morrow doesn’t exude the sheer awesomeness of Quint, nor the masterfully obnoxious cantankerousness of Angus McSorely from “Sand Sharks,” he still does a pretty good job.

jaws-quint

Okay, maybe I see SOME reason for Universal to take legal action.

Okay, maybe I see SOME reason for Universal to take legal action.

A particularly ironic subplot comes our way thanks to a news reporter in the film.  Charged with covering the centennial regatta, the reporter is ecstatic when the killer shark appears to liven things up.  While editing the footage for his segment on the initial attack, the reporter laments that it’s difficult to see the shark in most of the shots.  His cameraman suggests with a shrug, “Use a little stock footage.  Nobody’ll know the difference.”  The reporter huffily replies that this will greatly decrease the quality of the product, despite the fact that stock footage was used extensively throughout the movie!

Stock footage and a very, very fake-looking model.

Stock footage and a very, very fake-looking model.

And a dummy.  And supposedly shark-induced explosions.

And a dummy. And supposedly shark-induced explosions.

And whatever the heck is going on here.

And whatever the heck is going on here.

You have to give this shark some credit, though.  In addition to its ability to make things blow up for no reason, the shark is also considerably larger than any living species of shark known to humankind.  It also has the ability to shift its shape and size.  Not only that, but it is able to survive a prop to the back without sustaining any sort of lingering injury!

Just a small cut clean through the backbone.

You know, just a small MASSIVE CUT THROUGH THE BACKBONE.  Nothing to worry about.

If nothing else, “The Last Shark” is enjoyable for James Franciscus’s ridiculously red wet suit.  It’s not every day that you get to see a spaceman fighting a shark.

"You darn dirty shark!"

“You darn dirty shark!”

If you don’t want to commit 83 minutes to the film, commit 3 minutes to the trailer:

“The Last Shark” is available on Amazon.  Maybe.

Advertisements

Shark Week (2012)

The Asylum.  Director: Christopher Ray.

Creature Feature Bleachers Award: Cleverest Title.

“Shark Week” is pretty typical Asylum schlock.  It gets points for the surprise ending (wait for it!), but can otherwise be skipped.  If anything, “Shark Week” stands out because it falls more on the “torture” end of the spectrum.  That is, “torture” in the sense of what is depicted on screen, although it goes without saying that this sharksploitation flick will cause you viewers agony as well.  Unfortunately, the cleverness stops after the witty title, which refers to a week of premeditated shark attacks.  If you were hoping for a Discovery Channel program gone horribly wrong, “Shark Week” will disappoint you (but come a little closer and we’ll discuss “Shark Night 3D,” my friend).  In fact, if you were hoping for anything other than a waste of 90 minutes, you’ll be disappointed as well.

Wealthy sadistic criminal Tiburon (Patrick Bergin) kidnaps a bunch of people and brings them to his private island.  Equally as obsessed with sharks as he is with exacting his revenge, Tiburon forces the eight people to run a gamut of shark challenges.  Each day, they will face a new species of shark.  If they succeed in killing the shark, he will provide them with some supplies and—if they are clever enough to recognize them—tools to help them defeat the next shark.  Along the way, some will die, but all must play his sick game.  Through the course of the film, the victims learn to work together to defeat the sharks and puzzle out why Tiburon has chosen them for this torture.  What do they have in common?  Who will survive till the end?  Does anyone really care?

An early version of the DVD cover?

While some might describe “Shark Week” as gross and disturbing, I find that many factors detract from the film’s overall ickiness.  For one thing, it’s an Asylum film.  We’re not talking about a carefully-crafted examination of the schadenfreude that twisted humans derive from watching others struggle and die.  Let’s face it, the Asylum doesn’t have enough money to even use words like “schadenfreude,” “examination,” or “and.”  Yes, I know that some of the most classic disturbing films had low budgets, but “Shark Week” isn’t one of them.  It comes to us from the director of “2-Headed Shark Attack,” for Pete’s sake!  Plus, the overuse of incredibly choppy edits really takes you out of the movie.  This technique was probably supposed to be unsettling, but I honestly just thought my DVD player was skipping.  And as if this were not enough to keep away your heebie-jeebies, the screen that tracks which characters have died looks like it came out of some kid’s video game.

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

Roger has died of dysentery.

I do like the little joke they slipped in about someone being eaten by a giant sloth, though.

I wonder if we were supposed to notice it.

Bottom middle.

I probably talk about Bruce Willis too much, but the male lead in “Shark Week” (Joshua Michael Allen) really tries to channel a young Bruce Willis.  With the face, the attitude, and the (lack of) hair, he does a pretty good job of it, too.  So unless we get an exceedingly successful letter-writing campaign going, I think we’d better enjoy Allen’s performance as much as we can— it’s the closest we’ll ever get to seeing Bruce Willis fighting sharks.

Yippie-kay-yay.

Yippie-kay-yay.

Of course, this being an Asylum film, many things don’t make sense.  For one, the kidnapping victims are initially bound around the wrists, and must figure out a way to free themselves.  Yet, their fetters are obviously just chains loosely wrapped around their wrists.

"HOW CAN I ESCAPE???"

“HOW CAN I ESCAPE THESE CHAINS???”

In another scene, junkie Layla (Valerie K. Garcia) briefly shifts her tattoos from her right arm to her left arm.  There aren’t any mirrors around to explain the switch, which occurs between shots of the same scene.

sharkweek-right

sharkweek-left At least she looks properly disconcerted about it.

And finally, it’s never quite clear whether Tiburon is supposed to be drunk, or whether the actor just couldn’t take it anymore.

"Ish okay, I'll be ready in a minit."

“Ish okay, I’ll be ready again in a minit.”

The trailer includes the film’s best line: “I might feed you to the sharks as well!”

“Shark Week” is available on Amazon.

Deep Blood, a.k.a. Sangue Negli Abissi (1989)

Filmirage.  Director: Raffaele Donato.

Creature Feature Bleachers Award: Most 80s.

Your probable enjoyment of “Deep Blood” depends on how much you like 80s films.  From the gang of rival punks slinging bizarre insults, to the fact that your parents just don’t understand you, “Deep Blood” hits all of the classic 80s bases.  Don’t forget the big hair, big cars, bright colors, and rockin’ soundtrack, too!  And somehow, they managed to squeeze in plenty of your favorite sharksploitation staples as well: fat guys, chum, bad acting, and lengthy underwater scenes with little payoff.  Plus, it puts you in the mood to make long lists of attributes, which I find slightly annoying, uncreative, and a little bit hard to read.  Still, for an 80s Italian sharksploitation film, “Deep Blood” is better than you might expect.

One day, four young boys meet an old Indian and make a pact to stick together forever.  Several years later, the boys get back together during summer break from college.  Ben (Keith Kelsch) has aspirations of becoming a pro-golfer, but his retired fisherman father (Charlie Brill) wants him to complete college instead.  The boys also have trouble with a gang of local street toughs, who make fun of them.  Things finally shift into high gear, though, when Miki (Frank Baroni) sees John (John K. Brune) get eaten by a shark.  Mayor Barret actually calls in the Coast Guard!  Unfortunately, Miki knows that the shark they kill isn’t the same one that ate John.  The three remaining boys must team up with Ben’s dad to hunt the shark.  A surprise helper comes to aid them as they blow up an old underwater wreck for some reason.

The DVD Cover

“Deep Blood” throws a new twist into the old “authorities try to hush up the shark attacks to protect tourism” trope.  True, the Sheriff doesn’t initially believe Ben, but Ben simply takes his information to the Mayor, who promptly calls the Coast Guard.  In fact, it appears that Mayor Barret calls the Coast Guard rather often, as he has their phone number memorized.  In any case, it’s extremely rare for the authorities in sharksploitation films to act so quickly and logically.  In fact, this could just be the first time ever!  (True, the Mayor later refuses to believe Ben when he says the killer shark is still out there, but he eventually comes around and calls in the Coast Guard a second time.)

"I knew I put you on speed-dial for a reason."

“I knew I put you on speed-dial for a reason.”

Sadly, “Deep Blood” has no scenes of extremely large, hairy men in swimsuits (I know, I know, hopefully we’ll have better luck next time).  But never fear—three fat guys in clothes are worth one in a speedo, right?

The sad thing is, the Sheriff is actually pretty tubby.

The sad thing is that the Sheriff is actually pretty tubby.

On the subject of the sheriff, this little campaign poster hanging in his office is never explained.

deepblood-sheriff

Maybe they thought we wouldn’t notice.

While I like 80s films and found “Deep Blood” at least palatable, I should warn you that the film hits a serious dead spot about 20 minutes before the end.  Suddenly, the world shrinks down drastically as all thought of the Coast Guard, the Sheriff, the Mayor, or Ben’s dad disappears.  Apparently everybody else stops doing anything interesting while the boys prepare to blow up the old wreck.

I, for one, would like to know what Ben's mather is up to.

I, for one, would like to know what Ben’s mather is up to during this period.

The sequence drags on interminably for three reasons.  Number 1.  As far as I can tell, there is no particular reason for them to blow up the old wreck.  The shark doesn’t use it as a hideout, nor is it leaking toxic chemicals.  It may be that the shark, which is a manifestation of an American Indian shark god, protests the presence of this man-made object.  But if so, this is never stated.

Probably has something to do with this Indian artifact, which is also never really explained.

Probably has something to do with this Indian artifact, which is also never really explained.

Number 2. The boys obviously did not prepare for this.  A lot of screen time is devoted to them getting the dynamite ready once they’ve already anchored at the site.  Well, not exactly “at the site.”  Evidently they have to swim very far to deploy the dynamite.  We get to watch as they make several trips back to the boat to get more dynamite, then down to the wreck again.  Back and forth, then back again, then forth again.  Seems like they should have gotten this stuff ready before they reached the site, and parked a little bit closer.

"Wish I had done this earlier!"

“Wish I had done this earlier!”

Number 3. This wreck sequence is part of the 55th sharksploitation film I’ve watched.  That’s enough to make anybody cranky.

Cool matching shirts notwithstanding.

Cool matching shirts notwithstanding.

While not a trailer, this excerpt showcases the highly realistic “pink blood” used in the film:

“Deep Blood” is pretty hard to find.

Shark Swarm (2008)

RHI Entertainment/ SyFy.  Director: James A. Contner.

Creature Feature Bleachers Award: Most Blondes.

At 167 minutes, “Shark Swarm” is truly a monster of a sharksploitation film.  If not for the 173-minute “Creature,” this movie would be an anomaly.  Still, in the time it takes you to watch “Shark Swarm,” you could view “Psycho Shark” almost two and a half times!  (I’m pretty sure that means you would see the same footage about 10 times over).  But PLEASE don’t do that; while “Psycho Shark” is wretched, “Shark Swarm” is actually pretty decent.  It doesn’t drag on as badly as you might expect, and finds a fair balance between action, comedy, romance (blech), and science fiction.  If you’ve got almost three hours to kill, give it a shot.

Entrepreneur Hamilton Lux (Armand Assante) plans to turn the fishing village of Full Moon Bay into a seaside residential development.  He orders his goons to pollute the water, thus devastating the sea life and causing local fisherman to sell their property.  A single obstacle stands between Lux and success: stubborn mule Daniel Wilder (John Schneider).  Dan refuses to sell his family’s fishery and leads a Quixotic effort to oppose Lux’s plans.  Meanwhile, Lux’s sludge has altered the behavior of area sharks, increasing their aggression and causing them to gather in swarms.  Can Dan and his professor brother Phil (Roark Critchlow) stop the sharks and save the town, or will Lux succeed in his evil scheme?

The DVD Cover

I’ve come to the realization that John Schneider can really only play one role.  In every film, he is the stubborn, down-to-earth, quick-tempered yeoman fill in the blank.  I mean, on “Smallville” he played a family farmer.  In “Shark Swarm,” he plays a family fisherman.  To make matters worse, he is always fighting against a villain named Lex or Lux or Ex-Lax or something.  Still, Schneider plays that one role pretty well, and in “Shark Swarm” he even offers some surprisingly hilarious dialogue.  In one scene, he and his lackey Clint (Brent King) pull up a load of fish, only to discover that they’re all diseased and smelly inside.  As Schneider cuts one open, Clint recoils in disgust, claiming that “Even [local pub owner] Brenda wouldn’t serve that.”  Obviously dismayed by the sight before him, Schneider doesn’t alter his delivery one bit as he replies, “Apparently you don’t know Brenda that well.”  A corny and predictable line, yet the delivery is pure gold.

Unfortunately, he also takes his shirt off.

Unfortunately, Schneider also takes his shirt off.

“Hey wait,” you may be saying, “you said John Schneider can only play one role.  But he also played the bad guy in ‘Super Shark.'”  Okay, fine, you have a point.  What I should have said is, John Schneider can only play one role convincingly.  He was pretty darn awful as the evil businessman in “Super Shark.”  Speaking of which, you may recognize another familiar face (well, haircut, actually) that appears in both movies: Shane Van Dyke.  This time around, the little scoundrel plays Schneider’s daughter’s boyfriend.

Because they obviously don't have enough blondes in the family already.

Because they obviously don’t have enough blondes in the family already.

One of the main subplots in “Shark Swarm” leaves me with mixed feelings.  Let me take you through it.  As all the other kids prepare to go home after a day of swimming, young Heather (Darcy Rose Byrnes) still hasn’t set one foot in the water.  Camp counselor Alice (Nicole Gabriella Scipione) tries to convince her not to be afraid, promising her that “it won’t kill you.”  Once Heather overcomes her fear and ventures into the water, Alice quickly gets eaten by a shark before Heather’s very eyes.  Her mom soon comes to pick her up, but won’t listen to the poor traumatized girl.

"Hush, Mommy's on the phone now."

“Hush, Mommy’s on the phone now.”

Later, Heather’s parents throw a beach party for her.  When she won’t get in the water, they force her to swim with a lifeguard, saying, “Honey, we’re not going to put you where it’s not safe.”  Just as Heather finally starts to enjoy herself, the lifeguard gets eaten right in front of her.  She drifts back to shore, and finds that her parents—who, again, didn’t see anything— still won’t believe her.

Near the end of the film, Heather’s parents try to convince her to participate in a mass baptism in the sea.  She stoutly refuses, but her parents wade in to join the rest of the group.  Naturally, the baptism becomes a massive shark attack, and Heather’s parents are some of the last people to make it back to shore safely.  When the family is finally reunited, Heather admonishes them, “I told you so!”

From this description, the Heather sub-plot probably seems like standard sharksploitation filler: a little girl legitimately fears the water, but through a series of wacky coincidences, the adults around her won’t take her seriously.  The only catch is, “Shark Swarm” doesn’t really treat this in a comical manner.  While such a storyline could and normally would be funny, this subplot actually just brings you into the world of a frightened little girl who feels absolutely powerless to control the danger around her.  I mean, look at her face and tell me this is supposed to be funny.

swarm-heather

I’m honestly not sure what the filmmakers were trying to achieve.

Not to end on a sad note, I’d like to say that I enjoyed Armand Assante’s performance as the villain.  Lux doesn’t berate his henchmen or make open threats while sneering cruelly.  He’s kind of a laid back villain who doesn’t consider himself evil, but just wants to do what he wants to do.  Building this development is just a job for him.  Yet, the best thing about him is his incomprehensible delivery.  He mumbles his lines like a combination of Rodney Dangerfield, Christopher Walken, and a bad Elvis impersonator.

The trailer:

“Shark Swarm” is available on Amazon.

Jersey Shore Shark Attack (2012)

ARO Entertainment/SyFy.  Director: John Shepphird.

Creature Feature Bleachers Award: Most Annoying Characters.

You probably saw an ad for this movie and assumed it would be a source of highly cathartic and bloody glee.  I hate to crush your hopes, but “Jersey Shore Shark Attack” does not star the actual cast of “Jersey Shore,” nor does it offer the chance to see any of their stand-ins being eaten by sharks.  I’m sure that many of you must feel disappointed to hear this, but even a complete “Jersey Shore” novice like me shares in your pain.  Though I’ve never seen the show, five minutes of this film was enough to convince me that I want all of them to be eaten by sharks, and quickly.  I mean, long-time aficionados of The Creature Feature Bleachers know that sharksploitation films rarely have lovable characters, but this is ridiculous!  How often do you start rooting for the sharks before the film even begins?

In the town of Seaside Heights, New Jersey, tensions flair between the “guidos” and the country club set.  The rich people want to change the area into a nice leisure area, but the guidos were there first and want to keep things as they are.  Alas, internal discord rends the guido camp asunder, as Nooki (Melissa Molinaro) leaves TC (“The Complication,” Jeremy Luke) after finding him with another woman.  Things take a turn for the worse when some preppy kids chase a guido into the water and sharks eat him.  The gang has to get it together in order to rid Seaside Heights of the sharky threat.  But could Mr. Dolan’s (William Atherton) plan to gentrify the beach be drawing the very sharks that are terrorizing it?

The DVD Cover

In all fairness to this film, I don’t know very much about “Jersey Shore,” nor do I care to.  I probably missed out on a lot of parody humor that would have regular “Shore” fans slapping their thighs and guffawing till tears streamed down their cheeks.  As an example of my ignorance, I could not for the life of me figure out why they got such a horrible actor to play the news reporter.  This guy says his lines with as much realism as Andy Kaufman sings “It’s a Small World.”  Turns out, they got an actual “Jersey Shore” cast member, Vinny Guadagnino, to play the role.  How was I to know?

Wait, they DON'T call her Nooki on the actual show?

Wait, they DON’T call her Nooki on the actual show?

Although killer albino sharks are ostensibly the threat in this film, the plot really centers around a perceived conflict between Italian-Americans and gentrification.  In the movie, rich people plan to buy up the shore, build some nice buildings, and turn the area into a great vacation spot, while the guidos want to hold onto the little town that their ancestors built.  For me, this supposed conflict is a non-starter.  Both sides are insufferable jerks throughout the film, so I don’t really give a shark’s tooth about who ultimately wins.  If anything, the preppy kids are better dressed and have wittier insults.  I think the movie was trying to make some sort of a point about community or something, but the message that comes across is, “lower-class superficiality is better than upper-class superficiality.”

I mean

Obviously.

“Jersey Shore Shark Attack” also presents an apparent reversal of the “traditional” Italian-American integration model.  The kids are far more Italian (or at least more “guido”) than the adults.  Their accents are thicker and they identify more strongly with their Italian roots than their parents do.  Furthermore, the adults actually play important roles within the community: TC’s dad (Jack Scalia) serves as sheriff, and Captain Salie (Tony Sirico) operates the most popular seaside bar in town.  As far as I can tell, the kids don’t contribute anything to anything (which is, I suppose, typical of kids).  Still, it’s strange to see a depiction of the younger generation being less integrated into wider society than the generation that preceded them.

Hairy arms.

Thankfully, the kids also have less-hairy arms.

Perhaps the single greatest part of “Jersey Shore Shark Attack” is the cameo by former ‘N Sync member Joey Fatone.  Fatone knows he is the biggest celebrity they could get for the least money, and that’s fine by him.  In his 75 seconds of screen time, he delivers a more enjoyable performance than all of the other characters throughout the rest of the film.  It’s true that I tend to favor self-deprecatory humor, but Fatone nails it.

jerseyshore-fatone

You DON’T want my autograph? Why not?

“Jersey Shore Shark Attack” contains one of the worst massacres I’ve ever seen in a sharksploitation film.  In the climax, the guidos mercilessly discharge their firearms into a school of sharks.  This is meant to validate their machismo, but when you stop to consider the facts, it’s kind of sad.  First and foremost, the guidos know that a massive drill is drawing the sharks, and that shutting off the drill will send the sharks back to the ocean floor.  Second, these are essentially normal sharks, not savagely aggressive mutants like we sometimes see in this kind of movie.  Thus, allowing the sharks to return to nature would pose no special threat to humankind.  Third, 100 million sharks were killed by humans in 2012, while only 11 humans were killed by sharks.  Surprising and extremely unbalanced.  Fourth, I would much rather spend 90 minutes watching the sharks than the humans.

jerseyshore-fatguy

Case in point.

The trailer captures the high caliber of the film:

“Jersey Shore Shark Attack” is available on Amazon.

Shark Zone (2003)

Nu Image Films.  Director: Danny Lerner.

Creature Feature Bleachers Award: Most Recycled Footage.

“Shark Zone” is something of an unofficial addition to the Nu Image “Shark Attack” series.  While it has a different title and bears no plot connections whatsoever to the previous films, I’d say that it fits in rather perfectly.  In fact, a lot of the scenes come directly from the other movies, leading me to suspect that Nu Image probably changed the title so that you wouldn’t notice.  On its own, the film doesn’t set any records for quality sharksploitation entertainment.  But watched in close succession with “Shark Attack 2” and “Shark Attack 3” (its main sources of– shall we say– “inspiration”), it may lead to a couple of laughs.  Or cerebral hemorrhaging.

A decade ago, Jimmy Wagner (Dean Cochran) lost his father to a shark attack while diving near an old treasure ship.  In the intervening years, Jimmy has started a family of his own and taken on the task of keeping San Francisco’s beaches shark-free.  As the annual festival approaches, a mysterious Russian man named Volkoff (Velizar Binev) steps in to help meet the city’s budget shortfalls.  The only catch is, he wants to know where to find the sunken pearls.  Jimmy’s scarring memories of the site cause him to refuse Volkoff’s offer.  As sharks begin to attack swimmers more frequently, though, Volkoff proves that he is the true shark in these waters.  He kidnaps Jimmy’s son Danny (Luke Leavitt), forcing Jimmy to lead him to the treasure.  Can Jimmy stop both menaces in time?

The DVD Cover

Before delving into the heart of what makes “Shark Zone” so memorable,

(No, not this guy)

(No, not this guy)

let me spend a moment on Jimmy’s wife Carrie, played by Brandi Sherwood.  Ms. Sherwood, who was Miss USA 1997 and has appeared on 565 episodes of “The Price Is Right,” is by far one of the worst actors to appear in a sharksploitation film.  We’re talking as bad as The Bachelor, Season 7, from “2-Headed Shark Attack.”  Even Miss USA 2004 did a better job in “Sharktopus.”  Brandi’s words have less conviction than a bribed judge.  Her dialogue has less spirit than a ghost-proof house.  She’s less believable than the fact that it is indeed not butter.  She’s bad.

"Wait, DON'T look at the camera?!"

“Wait, DON’T look at the camera?!”

Yet, her awful acting comes nowhere near close to being the worst part of “Shark Zone.”  Nu Image cut so many corners on this film that they made a circle look square.  First off, there’s the fact that Jimmy’s dad and Mayor Cortell are played by the same actor, Alan Austin.  But don’t worry, he wears a really fake scar and beard when he plays the dad.

sharkzone-dad

sharkzone-mayor

“Who died and put me in charge? I did.”

But it gets worse.  Entire sequences are lifted from earlier “Shark Attack” films.  Nu Image approached this like the American producers of Power Rangers approached the Japanese show.  Re-do all the talking scenes, but keep most of the expensive special effect scenes intact.  This gets pretty ludicrous as it builds up.  Remember that couple having sex in “Shark Attack 3“?  This time they’re in the water during a massive shark attack.

Shark Attack 3

Shark Attack 3

Shark Zone

Shark Zone

Or how about that inflatable shark?

Shark Attack 3

Shark Attack 3

Shark Zone

Shark Zone

Or that jumbled mass of panicked legs?

Shark Attack 3

Shark Attack 3

Shark Zone

Shark Zone

But at least all of the above scenes still make sense!  Consider the fact that San Francisco’s annual festival has a “grand opening” and appears to take place in a building.  This shot was lifted from the Water World Grand Opening in “Shark Attack 2.”

Shark Attack 2

Water World, “Shark Attack 2”

Shark Zone

The festival, “Shark Zone”

Or consider that for some reason, Jimmy drives a boat called the “Down Under.”  This made a lot more sense when the Australian guy was driving it in “Shark Attack 2.”

Shark Attack 2

Shark Attack 2

Shark Zone

Shark Zone

The worst part of it is that “Shark Zone” recycles the scene from “Shark Attack 2” where the Crocodile Hunter’s cameramen get eaten.  This time around, they’re meant to be guys who are helping Jimmy kill sharks.  Specifically, one white guy and one black guy wearing yellow goggles and carrying a large camera and a spear gun.

On the boat.

Yet once they get in the shark cage, well…you can see for yourself.

Uh.

Uhh.

Two white guys wearing different suits, different goggles, and carrying different equipment?  Come on, Nu Image!

The trailer has yet another piece of recycled footage—the shark busting through the hull in “Shark Attack 3“:

“Shark Zone” is available on Amazon.

Shark Attack 3: Megalodon (2002)

Nu Image Films.  Director: David Worth.

Creature Feature Bleachers Award: Weakest Connection To Other Films In The Same Series.

If “Shark Attack” and “Shark Attack 2” led you to expect high-quality, wholesome family entertainment from Nu Image’s sharksploitation department… you should write lovely good-bye notes to your loved ones and check yourself into the nearest place with clean, white walls.  That being said, “Shark Attack 3” is noticeably more risque than its predecessors.  As in, full-on sex.  Right there.  On the screen.  Cover your eyes and start praying to Oomoo-Oomoo the shark god, ’cause it’s bad.  But aside from featuring parts of other people that you’d rather not see, “Shark Attack 3” is basically your run-of-the-mill sharksploitation film, noteworthy mostly for the presence of John Barrowman (Captain Jack from “Doctor Who” and “Torchwood”), and its popularity on the Internet.

Ben Carpenter (John Barrowman) keeps the beaches safe at a coastal Mexican resort.  One day while diving for lobster, he discovers that a massive cable has been chewed open by a shark.  He finds a tooth in the cable and posts a picture of it to a shark tooth aficionado website (these exist in the movie world, trust me).  Soon paleontologist Cataline “Cat” Stone (Jenny McShane) arrives to investigate.  As the death toll begins to rise, the two team up to neutralize the shark.  Ben’s boss and the evil businessman behind the undersea cable go ahead with their plan to hold an investor meeting on a yacht, despite Ben’s warnings.  Eventually, ex-Navy nut Chuck Rampart (Ryan Cutrona) offers the use of a mini-sub and an old torpedo to hunt down the megalodon.  Will the ragtag band be able to halt the ancient shark menace and make safe the beaches of Mexico?

936full-shark-attack-3 -megalodon-poster

The DVD Cover

If you expected any sort of link between “Shark Attack 3” and its predecessors, prepare for disappointment.  The setting shifts quite drastically from South Africa to Mexico, and there is no mention whatsoever of Dr. Craven’s wild experiments.  In fact, this time around, the shark is an ancient megalodon!  Given the utter lack of connection between this and the first two films, I really don’t understand why Nu Image insisted on maintaining the illusion of a coherent “Shark Attack” series.  I mean, in the movie industry, legacy does not add legitimacy.  Moviegoers don’t typically think, “Oh wow, a sequel!  I’m sure it’s as good as or better than the original!”  Plus in the case of this series, there’s the fact that anyone who actually saw “Shark Attack” or “Shark Attack 2” would KNOW BETTER than to subject themselves to further torture.

"Make it stop!"

“Make it stop!”

John Barrowman fans may or may not enjoy this film.  Evidently no one from the BBC ever saw it, because they ended up casting him in “Doctor Who” anyway.  True, he is one of the better actors in the film.  But that’s mostly because he’s also one of only eight native English speakers.  I’m not an expert on Bulgarian names or anything (guessing “Vladimir Vladimirov” is one), but a cursory glance at the credits would seem to indicate that the remaining 28 roles were played by Bulgarians.  This factis…also reflectedin…the weird pacing ofthe dialogue.

"I'm still the best actor in this film!"

“I’m still the best actor in this film!”

While Barrowman acts circles around basically everyone, Ryan Cutrona’s underplayed ex-military wacko is pretty enjoyable, too.  No one ever addresses the fact that he has large portraits of Bush and Cheney, as well as a U.S. flag, on the wall of his apartment.  In fact, no one calls him out for being a highly-armed weirdo, nor does he seem to overly-revel in the fact.  I kind of like that, for some reason.

"Here's Johnny!"

“Heeere’s Johnny!”

“Now wait a minute,” you may be saying, “Jenny McShane is the female lead in both ‘Shark Attack‘ and ‘Shark Attack 3.'”  You are quite correct in saying so.  The catch?  She plays completely different characters.  Either that, or things really didn’t work out between Corine and Steven after the events of “Shark Attack,” causing her to move to Mexico, change her name to Cataline, become a paleontologist, suffer memory loss-inducing trauma to the head, and begin flirting with other guys.  Seriously, the filmmakers cast the same actress to play different leading roles within the same series.  How ridiculous is that?

"I swear, cast me in this thing just ONE more time..."

“I swear, cast me in this thing just ONE more time…”

Though even a casual reader of this blog knows that there are a large (LARGE) number of bad sharksploitation films, “Shark Attack 3” in particular has achieved a surprising amount of Internet fame.  Barrowman’s lurid ad-lib to McShane has become infamous (you can Google it on your own), and one especially bad scene has over 40 million views on YouTube.  I like this scene because it demonstrates the recycling of CGI footage and contains a truly awesome sharksploitation death scene:

The trailer also does a good job capturing the bad acting and overly-repeated CGI imagery of the film:

“Shark Attack 3” is available on Amazon.