Synthetic Filmwerx. Director: Fred Olen Ray.
Creature Feature Bleachers Award: Most Uncomfortable Bikini Contest.
“Super Shark” is part of the recent wave of made-to-be-bad sharksploitation films that seek to draw viewers through the force of sheer ridiculousness. Say what you will, in my opinion these are usually some of the best shark films because they don’t pretend to offer anything other than crazy science, huge explosions, and attractive women in bikinis. “Super Shark” hits all of these points but goes a little overboard on the bikini aspect, so be prepared to grin or grimace according to your tastes. Still, for us shark purists, the film offers a gigantic megalodon that walks, flies, and takes on the U.S. military. In short, if your “Sharktopus” and “Sand Sharks” DVDs are getting worn out from constant use and you need something new to watch, “Super Shark” is the answer to your problems.
Well, some of your problems.
Treymar Industries has been using a weathering agent to dissolve the rock beneath one of their oil rigs. As the rock weakens, however, it wakes Super Shark! He destroys the rig, killing the men on board and releasing all manner of dangerous chemicals into the water. Enter Oceanic Investigation Bureau agent Kat Carmichael (Sarah Lieving), who starts poking around the mysterious “accident” and putting pressure on CEO Roger Wade (John Schneider). With the help of Skipper Chuck (Tim Abell), Kat finds proof that something is indeed fishy, but is Wade really the biggest threat? When Super Shark makes the mistake of attacking a Navy submarine and more importantly of disrupting the “Queen of the Beach” bikini competition, the military steps in. Will they be able to vanquish the threat?
I get the feeling that no one proofread the lifeguard subplot of “Super Shark.” Initially, head lifeguard Tyler (Carolyn Martin) treats Greg (Shane Van Dyke) and Calli (Rya Meyers) as strangers, flipping through their resumes to learn more about them and informing them that since they’ve never worked at the beach in the summer, they’re in for a real treat. A scant 45 seconds later, Tyler admits to Calli that she and Greg had a thing at this beach last summer. Also, Calli and Tyler are apparently old friends who know each other very well. Something is very wrong here. I naturally blame the writer for these inconsistencies but I have to ask: Did the actors not realize that their characters’ relationships make no sense?
Any potential viewer of this film should be warned about its lengthy “Queen of the Beach” bikini contest sequence, in which bikini-clad women writhe about in front of a hooting audience for an extended period. Though you expect this sort of thing in moderation from modern sharksploitation films, while watching “Super Shark” you will quickly come to the realization that this particular scene continues much longer than it should.
I did a little research and discovered that the film’s director, Fred Olen Ray (who also wrestles professionally under the name Fabulous Freddy Valentine) has worked on a number of films of a more, shall we say, prurient nature. A few highlights from his Wikipedia filmography include “The Teenie Weenie Bikini Squad,” “Bikini Jones and the Temple of Eros,” “Bikini Frankenstein,” “Bikini a Go Go,” “The Bikini Escort Company,” “Genie in a String Bikini,” “Bikini Cavegirl,” “Bikini Hoe-Down,” “Bikini Drive-In,” and “Demented Death Farm Massacre.” All things considered, I think we’re pretty lucky that “Super Shark” is as benign as it is.
Setting all that aside, “Super Shark” has some very redeeming qualities. Fans of “Shaft” and other blaxploitation films will appreciate the funky “Super Shark” theme song by R & B singer Harvey Scales (see video below). Nor does the film skimp on ridiculousness. With no explanation given, Super Shark can walk, fly, and breathe air. He’s huge, ancient, and always eats people with precisely the same movement and sound (I wonder why). In the course of the film, Super Shark brings down an oil rig, an Air Force jet, and several actors’ careers. Cinematically speaking, the military’s response is just as impressive; the only reason I haven’t wanted to see a tank kick a shark in the face is because the thought never even occurred to me.
Finally, “Super Shark” holds a special place in my heart because I believe that deep down, it’s really a love story between Kat and Skipper Chuck. In most sharksploitation films, the romance (when there is one) feels very forced, or you simply don’t like the characters enough to care about their love lives. “Super Shark,” on the other hand, presents the simple, subtle story of two lonely, unfulfilled people who cross paths and eventually come to realize how much they need each other. Who could ask for anything more?
You may enjoy this trailer:
Or if you are pressed for time, you can watch a music video that contains most of the film’s highlights and best lines (caution– spoilers):
“Super Shark” is available on Amazon.