Nu Image Films. Director: Danny Lerner.
Creature Feature Bleachers Awards: Least Suspenseful, Most Male-Chauvinistic
Despite being written by a man named Les Weldon, “Raging Sharks” merits watching. After a few weeks of reviewing films that don’t comfortably fit the “sharksploitation” label, it’s nice to watch one that can undoubtedly be classified as a bad shark movie. “Raging Sharks” has aliens, submarines, relentless killer sharks, and incredibly fake-sounding accents. (Which reminds me, watch out for the very pervasive use of unconvincing British profanity). The science doesn’t make sense, the characters aren’t developed, and the plot has holes big enough to drive a submarine through. In short, “Raging Sharks” is everything a sharksploitation film should be.
A skirmish in outer space sends a canister of orange rocks hurtling down into the Bermuda Triangle. Five years later, Mike and Linda Olsen (Corin Nemec and Vanessa Angel) are in the area investigating something science-related. The pair have headed an underwater research lab—the Oshona—for the past ten years, but they’ve never observed this sort of behavior in sharks. Things take a turn for the worse when sharks eat two crew members and chew through the Oshona‘s life support cables. Mike, in Boston to lobby for more funding, must hop on board a Navy submarine in order to rescue his wife and crew. Will he be able to save them before the Oshona‘s air supply runs out?
If you were paying attention, you might have noticed that the name Corin Nemec sounds familiar. That’s because six years after starring in “Raging Sharks,” Corin played “Sand Sharks” villain Jimmy Green. I won’t say that he improved over the years, but his cringe-inducing overacting in the later movie is actually more interesting than his attempt to play things straight in “Raging Sharks.” Anybody can play a boring leading man character like Mike Olsen, but it takes a special kind of person to play a truly melodramatic bungler like Jimmy Green.
The rest of the cast gives equally uninspired performances. Take Harvey the repairman (Binky Van Bilderbeek). Despite being born and raised in the United Kingdom, Binky has one of the fakest British accents I’ve ever heard. He slips in and out of an American accent, and when he tries to swear using British slang, you can’t help but laugh. I’m reasonably sure that Binky wasn’t actually attempting to play Harvey as an American, since the filmmakers tried to make the crew seem international by including-a an Italian-a guy-a and Russian man who speak little. The inevitable conclusion: Binky cannot even play himself convincingly.An interesting thing about this film is that it contains no suspenseful moments. Nearly every sharksploitation film contains at least one scene in which innocent swimmers loll about near the shore; tense music plays, and we never know whether the approaching fin is a deadly shark or a practical joker with a fin hat. “Raging Sharks” has none of that. If a shark is coming, that person is dead, no question about it.
This film takes an oddly strong stance against female scientists and career women in general. In an early scene, Mike tells Linda that he wants to give up their life on the research station and start a family. He accuses Linda of avoiding commitment by burying herself in her work. By itself, this would constitute nothing more than a weak attempt at character development. For whatever reason, however, the filmmakers decided to hammer this point home. In a later scene, Harvey the repairman uses Linda’s avoidance of the domestic life as a way to get out of performing a dangerous task. When told that he needs to venture out into the shark-infested waters to make a repair, he replies, “%#@$ you! I have three kids, and that’s three more than you have, Linda.”
Throughout the film, men are portrayed as fathers, while career-oriented women are lonely and unfulfilled. In one scene, the Italian-a guy-a looks pensively at a picture of his little bambino Francesco, promising to buy him the biggest birthday present ever if he makes it to shore alive. An unmarried female scientist can only look on forlornly and witness the power of familial relationships to pull men through tough times. In a later scene, yet another childless female crew member recounts that though her fiance begged her to get married before leaving on the research mission, she shrugged him off. “I wish we had, now,” she laments. Clearly women who choose career over family will be doomed to unhappiness, loneliness, and being eaten by sharks.
I generally try to refrain from commenting on the stupidity of characters in sharksploitation films, but “Raging Sharks” is such a doozy that I have to chime in. Let me situate you. Imagine you are a crew member aboard the Oshona: your oxygen is running out and there are aggressive sharks prowling around outside. How will you escape? You could try to make a break for it, but the shore is so far away!
As this shot of an Oshona-bound Coast Guard rescue plane demonstrates, the crew are smack dab in the middle of the nowhere, several weeks’ swim away from shore. Not only that, but they are very far from the surface!
Given that you are so far from both the surface and the shore, how will you possibly escape with all those hungry sharks around? It’s too bad you don’t have some kind of protective vehicle to bring you to safety.
You know what would be even more helpful? A miniature submarine that could comfortably fit the entire crew. If only you had one of those…
Yep, there’s really nothing you can do but sit there in the Oshona, slowly suffocating because you aren’t using your scuba gear to breathe.
Seriously, these people are about 100 feet from shore, 10 feet from the surface, and have TWO vehicles perfectly suited for escaping through shark-infested waters. WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
Fortunately the Navy sends a gigantic rescue submarine that, as the captain admits, has absolutely no means of evacuating the crew of the Oshona. Oy vey.
Like the film itself, the trailer is all over the place and contains both profanity and explosions:
“Raging Sharks” is available on Amazon.