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?
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.
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.
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.
“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?
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.