Written by: Scott Devin and William Hooke
Directed by: David Worth
Starring: Thorsten Kaye, Nikita Ager, and Dan Metcalfe
Reviewed by: Brett G.
"What do you call an indiscriminate thing that kills? A murderer!"
Last year, I kicked off Shark Week with Shark Attack 3 due to a reader request; it had crossed my mind to just review the whole series, but since I want to keep this Shark Week thing going, Iíve decided to parcel them out. And for no apparent reason, weíre going to wade through the series in backwards fashion, so letís talk about the second Shark Attack movie. Of course, thereís no good reason for there to be more than one flick in this series (let alone three), but that didnít stop Avi Lerner and company from chumming these suckers out to video stores.
Dr. Nick Harris (Thorsten Kaye) works for a local marina attraction in Cape Town, and when a great white is spotted near the shore, heís charged with the task of capturing it so it can be put on display for the public. This turns out to be surprisingly easy, but keeping the beast caged is not. Its accidentally loosed and kills a tourist in the process, so now Harris has to enlist a deep sea diver (Nikita Ager) and a thrill-seeking shark hunter (Dan Metcalfe) to help him track down and kill the beast, which turns out to be the genetically mutated offspring of the sharks in the first Shark Attack film.
Most shark movies owe a lot to Jaws; in fact, Iím tired of coming up with different, clever ways to describe how these movies manage to rip-off Spielbergís movie at every turn. Shark Attack 2 is especially brazen in what it borrows from not only the first Jaws, but some of the sequels too. The first half hour essentially feels like a remake of Jaws 3, what with the marina paradise being terrorized by a great white. The Australian shark hunter even reminds me of Simon MacCorkindaleís character from that 3D entry (though his absurd fate makes him the Mario Van Peebles of Shark Attack 2). But it also takes the skeleton plot of Jaws, right down to a mid-movie fake out where the wrong shark is killed and a scene where Kaye gets a monologue that's approximately 7% as cool as Robert Shaw's Indianapolis speech. Also, because commerce (and a surfing competition) is at stake, thereís a slimy, crooked guy in charge who refuses to close the beaches too, so we have to suffer through the filmís pretense that it really cares about that. The problem being that it doesnít really care about any of that stuff; it barely cares to be all that competent, and the mash-up of so many familiar elements makes this quite possibly the most generic shark movie ever.
Sure, it possesses many of the qualities (poor acting, dialogue, no real characters) that make Shark Attack 3 outrageously bad, but this one is content to just be a bit of a bore. Though itís only 90 minutes long, it feels twice as long as watching the entire Jaws series in succession. It plods along with its two lifeless leads; Kaye is like a low-rent Scott Bakula who has a huge dimple in his chin, so you know he means business. He wears a lot of Miami Dolphins swag, and, at one point, tries to insult the shark hunter and his friends by insinuating that theyíre The Village People (I think). His counterpart in Ager is similarly dull, though I love her insistence that the shark ďmurderedĒ her sister; she also has trippy nightmares about the shark, which might make her the illegitimate child of Ellen Brody. These two actually donít like each other at first (Kaye thinks Ager is a raging psycho, go figure), but that all changes when they go on a romantic tryst where Kaye plays soccer with street urchins; later, they make out in the water, which is the only logical thing to do when a killer shark is roaming about.
Speaking of the sharks, thereís a lot of them that eat people, so the movie definitely lives up to its name. The attacks arenít particularly grisly, but thereís plenty of blood spilled into the water. Our main shark is a one-eyed bastard (ícause Ager cut out its other eye) who is brought to life by a generally fake-looking prosthetic. Whoever did the editing is possibly the filmís best asset because they did manage to splice in a lot of cool real shark footage thatís interspersed with the horribly fake cardboard fins and whatnot. If you hate CGI sharks, youíll cringe during the last act when it looks like our heroes are being assaulted by cartoon beasts. Avert thine eyes, but make sure you open them in time to see Kaye put on one of the most ridiculous displays of shark slaying ever. Oddly enough, it doesnít involve an explosion, but there is one of those too (thereís an unwritten rule about shark movies needing at least one, I think).
If youíre looking for a bad shark film that still manages to be entertaining, this one isnít for you. Whereas Shark Attack 3 really felt like some cast-off from the 80s Cannon lot, this one just swims in circles of mediocrity. This straight-to-video flick came to DVD from Trimark a decade ago, but itís still easy to find. The transfer is anamorphic and looks good enough, and the 5.1 surround track is pretty average. The only special feature is a trailer, so donít pay too much for the disc if youíre expecting to get your moneyís worth. In fact, just pay whatever your rental fee is; only the big time killer shark aficionados of the world will be proud to display this one on their shelves. Everyone else should just reel it in once and toss it back. Rent it!
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