A group of civilian environmental activists are given a tour of the US Government's scientific research station in the middle of the Pacific Ocean's garbage area. The pollution is so bad that twenty percent of the local aquatic life is mutated. This explains the shark's three heads, as well as its abnormal feeding activity. Well, this is not a documentary so do not expect factual accuracy about sharks.
As in Deep Blue Sea the remote underwater research station fails and the shark starts to eat everyone.
The survivors make their getaway on a speedboat. The shark goes after a nearby booze cruise. Someone has got a flat-bottom paddle-steamer in the middle of the Pacific.
The characters include Karrueche Tran , best known as a model. She only gets a couple of bikini scenes, so this is a wasted opportunity.
Luckily, help is at hand in the shape of fisherman Danny Trejo armed with his trademark Machete . Danny has his trademark machete, while his two crewmen have assault rifles. Seriously.
The shark has a superpower. Every time one head gets chopped off, two grow back. This implies this is the shark from the original movie, and that the monsters in the subsequent movies may be the same creature too.
Naturally, something goes badly wrong. The girls end up trapped at the bottom of the ocean, about a hundred and fifty feet under the surface. They have a limited air supply, and there are a couple of massive sharks circling the area.
The resulting film is atmospheric and suspenseful, which it achieves on a limited budget. This was originally intended as a cheap straight-to-video effort. However, presumably due to the success of similar film The Shallows it was given a catchier title and a cinematic release.
Despite being a low-key, straight-to-video looking made-in-Australia cheapie, there are a couple of cast members who may be familiar to International audiences from their appearances on US TV shows. Phoebe Tonkin is a shoplifter, while Julian McMahon ( Charmed ) is there too, forced by a thug into robbing the store managerís safe. Unfortunately, a tidal wave floods the shopping complex - and a handful of man-eating sharks are also swept in.
The monster is rarely scene, and even then it is fast-moving and concealed in glood. This is a saving grace, because dodgy CGI can be more disappointing than Spielberg's rubber shark. However, the SPFX is the least of this film's problems. With the exception of some stock helicopter footage and second unit shots of a Scottish road, this looks like it was shot in south California. The supporting cast do not even bother to attempt scottish accents, and instead opt for terrible attempts at Irish accents. And since when have Scotsmen used dynamite to catch fish? The story may be about the Loch Ness monster, but if the film-makers do not bother to make an effort with the little things then suspension of disbelief is entirely out the window.
The storyline is like a dumbed-down version of Jaws . The Police Constable (Vernon Wells - Mad Max 2: Road Warrior ) does not want to prevent tourists from accessing the lake, so the scientists have to investigate without official help. In the third act a fisherman named Blay (Patrick Bergin - Robin Hood (1992) ), a Quint type, pops up to help. Not exactly original.
Admiral Remora (Jeff Fahy - Lost ), a tongue-in-cheek character, is in command of the mission to control the shark.
The cast are a likeable bunch of TV veterans, peppered with a few who had supporting roles in movies. Scarpelli ( Nia Peeples ) is hooking up with Richardson (Matt McCoy - Police Academy 5 ), while Norris ( Cindy Pickett ) is with McBride (Greg Evigan - Tek Wars ). Tech support is provided by Snyder (Miguel Ferrer - Robocop ).
The mission is a Cold War one, which seems dated now but was dated even then. After all, this movie was released a few months before the Berlin wall fell. The team are building underwater emplacements for the US Navy's nuclear missiles. They discover a subterranean cavern, and unwittingly unleash a life-form trapped inside. It is big and fast, and these days the film-makers would make it a Megalodon. Thankfully the film-makers knew what they were doing in the 1980s, so the monster is kept off-screen until it can be used for maximum effect rather than letting the audience get over-exposed to dodgy special effects.
Despite the presence of an enormous sea monster, most of the team's problems seemn to be caused by human error. Things get worse for the cast of The Abyss because one of the characters gets pressure-induced psychosis. In this movie, however, the equivalent character is just incompetent and does not forsee the consequences of his actions. This is very disappointing, because it completely stretches suspension of disbelief. It would make far more sense if that character were deliberately trying to kill everyone.
In the Third Act the monster gets into the main base, which is partially flooded and will explode in four hours time. All pretty generic stuff.
A bunch of babes are due to play a water-polo match. Will the shark arrive in time to disrupt the event and eat everyone?
Watch out for the creepy old man - it is a cameo by Producer Roger Corman .
The locals report that some hunters have not returned home. The scientists send people out to look. They suspect that polar bears might be responsible for the disappearances. What they discover is far worse. The local sharks have adopted atypical feeding patterns. They have developed the ability to launch themselves out of the water and land on the ice floes, where they can attack humans. This is actually more typical of killer whales. Yes, it turns out that the much-derided 1970s film Orca: The Killer Whale , basically a cheap and out-dated Jaws rip-off, is actually more scientifically accurate and a better-told story than its equivalent these days.
Not only has global warming altered the sharks' behaviour, it also causes the the icecap to melt at an accellerated rate. For some reason, the outpost was not designed to be submerged even though it was placed on the icecap and not on solid land. When the ice breaks, the outpost sinks. And since there are man-eating sharks in the water, evacuation is not going to be easy. Deep Blue Sea , anyone?
Luckily there is a search-and-rescue icebreaker ship in the area. It looks like a French Mistral-class vessel, one of the troop-carriers ordered by Russia before the invasion of the Ukraine and eventually sold to the Turkish Empire. A pity that they were not sold to the ANZAC navies instead, where they could have done search-and-rescue work in the antarctic ocean as well as enforcing International law across the Third World.
This is set in a small town on Amity Island, New York State. A tweenage girl goes missing while skinny-dipping. The next morning what's left of her is washed up on the sea shore. The town's Police Chief, Brody (Roy Scheider - ), wants to play it safe and shut the town's beaches until he knows what happened. The Mayor will not jeopardise the town's tourist trade. Not until the next victim, anyway, when it becomes painfully apparent that there is a man-eating shark in the area.
A victim's family puts a bounty on the shark's head. Naturally, lots of amateurs go after it, with unfortunate results. Chief Brody prefers to stick around with the scientist, Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss - ), who understand's the shark's behaviour better than the local fishermen.
Finally, in the third act, Brody and Hooper set sail with expert shark-hunter Quint (Robert Shaw - From Russia With Love ). They may be Three Men In A Boat, but the best literary comparison would be Moby Dick . Brody is afraid of the water, and Hooper has a childhood fascination with sharks, but Quint is a survivor of the USS Indianapolis and he is obsessed with taking down the shark.
In the process of adapting this from the novel, many things were changed. The Mayor's backstory, as a debtor to loan sharks, was omitted which leaves his actions poorly explained. Hooper's fate was changed, as was that of the shark itself. However, Spielberg delivers an amazing film that is now regarded as the first summer blockbuster from Hollywood.
People start to disappear in the water around Amity Island. A dead Killer Whale is discovered, and Brody suspects it lost a fight with a great white shark. Normally it is the whales who feed on the sharks, not the other way around,
Just like in the first film, nobody takes Brody seriously. Well, there is an element of genre blindness at work. Also, sequels need to undo any character development in the previous film so the character can experience the same journey they did first time round. The one positive thing that this film contributes is the failed rescue, a moment that entered the slasher genre in The Shining but is shown here a couple of years earlier.
A bunch of teenagers, always the typical monster-fodder for this kind of film, set out on their sail-boats. The shark trails them, and tries to pick them off one at a time. Can ex-Chief Brody save them in time? After all, like all good movie cops he has been taken off the case.
Spielberg did not return to make this follow-up to his classic original, and it certainly shows. What could have been a great film is merely okay. The greatest flaw is the over-use of the shark itself. In the original film, Spielberg used it sparingly because the animatronic technology had not been perfected yet. As a result, he achieved high levels of suspense whereas this effort loses suspension of disbelief every time the audience sees the fake-looking rubber shark.
A property-developer wants to gentrify the area. Worse, a giant CGI shark with glowing red eyes starts eating anyone dumb enough to go boating.
Predictably, what lets the film down is the low-budget CGI SPFX. However, it is saved to a certain extent by the fact it is a deliberate self-parody.
The cast includes Peta Wilson as the bitchy boss-lady.
The Megalodon itself does not appear until half-way through the film. However, this works in the film's favour. Rather than rely on a dodgy FX monster, the film delivers characters and a storyline.
Environmental scientist (and 1980s teenage pop star) Debbie Gibson discovers that global warming is causing the polar ice cap to melt. Unfortunately an enormous megalodon shark and an equally enormous octopus get defrosted and decide to wreak havoc on every ship on the Earthís oceans.
US Navy Admiral Robert Picardo ( Star Trek: Voyager ) is out for revenge, so he gets put in charge of the hunt. His expert shark-hunter (a character inspired by Denzel Washington in Hunt for Red October) is joined by his rival, an Australian who hunts crocs for a living.
The Russians are trying to recover by converting their power plants to run on red mercury. A salvage team try to retrieve some from Chernobyl, and accidentally reactivate a nuclear-powered giant robot named Kolossus. It was a last-ditch Cold War weapon, programmed to walk around the main cities of Europe and drop nuclear bomblets.
The shark attacks a hospital ship in the Atlantic, then migrates to Sydney harbour in Australia. En route it attacks an oil-rig, and manages to menace a jetliner (at an altitude of several miles). Luckily, scientist Debbie Gibson phones the Admiral to offer an explanation for the shark's aggressive behaviour. She was hanging around in her laboratory, wearing jewelry and evening-wear instead of a lab coat, when she realised that the shark was sexually frustrated and eager to mate. It seems there is no Giant Octopus around to make another Sharktopus , but at least Ms Rohm still has a giant metal shark ...
The characters all go for a swim, out of sight of land. Unfortunately nobody bothered to let the ladder down. The men compete to climb back aboard, but since they have greater body mass than the women their attempts fail. And while the men try to fix the problem, the women prefer to fix the blame. Gradually things get more and more desperate.
The sharks have unified in a single swark, led by a massive alpha female. The lady scientists have a plan. If they lure the sharks over a volcano and force an eruption, it should take out the threat. This will also cause a tsunami.
The main plan is to end global warming by launching a CO2 scrubber into the atmosphere with a rocket. Unfortunately the launch platform is unstable so time is of the essence. Will the scrubber manage to reverse climate change and lower the sea level a hundred feet within six months? More importantly, will there still be enough hot women to repopulate the world?
This is a great example of a suspenseful drama. The threat of the sharks is ever-present, but rarely seen.
The shark threatens the city of Seattle, USA. Luckily, there is a well-intentioned scientist in a unit commanded by a trigger-happy US Navy Admiral. They also have a Billionaire named Bill Glates.
The movie contains a constant bombardment of pop-culture references. Too many to count, pretty much every other line.
The scientist's daughter discovers that the shark is plugged into social media. It even tries to communicate by twitter emoji. Eventually she decodes its message as Roboshark phone home.
Roboshark heads for the Space Needle, which it plans to use as an antenna so it can broadcast its signal to the mothership.
The beach gets closed. But sleazy-yet-likeable Corin Nemec ( Stargate SG-1 ) wants to host a beach party, so he does everything he can to keep the beach open. Eventually (predictably) the party happens - with literally dozens (well, two dozen perhaps) of college spring breakers turning up to get eaten alive.
The CGI SPFX are terrible. But the one-liners are okay, and the characters are quite compelling.
In all fairness, The Shallows starts out pretty well. It is decently shot and paced, with a lot of suspense. The protagonist ( Blake Lively ) goes surfing in a remote bay in Mexico. Unfortunately she ends up getting stalked by a great white shark.
The problem is that suspension of disbelief is stretched beyond credulity. A real taster bite would have taken a massive chunk of muscle tissue out. She might have had the limb actually severed. Apparently Benchley had the right idea when he wrote the first attack scene in Jaws from the victim's POV. She feels something tug at her leg, and then discovers the limb missing. The prosthetic leg idea might have gone some way to making the film seem a bit less unrealistic.
Worse, the Third Act makes Sharknado look like Jaws ! The quality may be umpteen generations of computer technology better, but it was completely overused. The trick Spielberg learned from Jaws was don't show too much of the shark. This director seems to have ignored that.
Middle-aged surf bums Fin (Ian Ziering - 90210) and Jaason Simmons (Baywatch) team up with a Barfly (John Heard - Cat People ) and a sexy shotgun-toting waitress, Nova Clarke ( Cassie Scerbo ). Fin decides to save his ex-wife April ( Tara Reid ) and teenage daughter. Naturally they end up taking on the sharks - using a chainsaw!
Despite its ridiculous premise, this is an entertaining film. It never promises more than it delivers.
Once on the ground, things do not get any better. Rather than use guns, the New Yorkers are encouraged to take on the sharks with gardening implements. While this is foolhardy when the fish are airborne, it makes sense once they get stranded on dry land. Of course, the fish would suffocate without water, so a quicker cleanup would involve a bulldozer to scoop them all up before they start to rot. Sharks are an endangered group of species, BTW, so slaughtering them by the hundred would be highly illegal.
The best sequence has got to be the one from the trailer, where Ziering chainsaws a Great White as it flies past him, almost completely avoiding splattering himself with blood.
However, despite its lack of logic this is quite an enjoyable effort.
makes a return to genre material as Ziering's sister,
trekking across NYC to safety in a typically contrived plot.
The CGI is passable, and the dialogue is not all atrocious.
In fact, one might surmise that this had a higher budget that the original,
although the extra money never gets spent on the script.
Ziering teams up with Nova Clarke ( Cassie Scerbo ) and Lucas Stevens (Frankie Muniz - Malcolm in the Middle). They must get from Washington DC to Florida, where Ziering's wife ( Tara Reid ) is hanging out with her mother ( Bo Derek ). There are lots more cameos, usually involving familiar faces getting eaten by flying sharks.
To stop the sharknados, the heroes must reactivate the Space Shuttle and fly into space. Luckily, Ziering's father (David Hasslehoff - Piranha 3-DD ) is a retired NASA astronaut!
April and her son visit the MI6 HQ, where they meet the lo-budget version of Q. He has invented a few things that will probably be important to the plot later on.
In the American Revolutionary War, the heroic British have weaponised the sharknado. The protagonists take the side of King George Washington. Nova meets her distant ancestor. Her secret plan is exposed - she wants to alter history and save her grandfather.
In the Wild West the protagonists get caught between Billy the Kid and a crazy sheriff. For some reason a sharknado strikes the town, even though New Mexico is a desert a thousand miles from the sea. Luckily Skye ( Vivica A. Fox ) is in town to help out.
In the 1950s, a reporter (Gilbert Gottfried - ) is covering a surfing event when it is hit by the sharknado. The protagonists meet Fin's mother Raye ( Tori Spelling ) and father Gilly (Dean McDermott - ), before they got married. Meanwhile, Fin is losing his son Gil who has gotten older in every time-jump.
In 1997, Nova tries to save her grandfather again. Of course, it all goes horribly wrong. Fin and Skye get catapulted twenty thousand years into the future, where the human species is extinct and the Earth is ruled by robots. Yes, it is the Planet of the Aprils!
Finally the survivors get to the smuggler's ship from the prologue to the first film. If they end the first sharknado, the cycle will be broken.
Down on the beaches of beautiful Mexico, hot bikini-babes indulge in seaside pursuits like metal-detecting and bungee-jumping. Roger Corman is a lecherous old man who drools over them. Unfortunately there is a CGI monster, half shark and half octopus, that can get into the shallowest waters ...
Eric Roberts ( Expendables ) is the mad scientist who genetically engineered Sharktopus. He hires a tweenage cabin-boy in a motor-cruiser to hunt and capture the monster. Apparently the kid is an ex-SEAL who served in Iraq or something. He barely looks old enough to shave!
The US Military send in an experimental new tank. It was apparently built for mountainous regions of Afghanistan, so it can walk across the desert like an armour-plated camel. Now, a normal tank can cross the desert without problems, so something with legs has no real advantage. Worse, this particular prototype turns out to have an issue with overheating. Not something you look for in a vehicle designed to operate in combat in hot environments.
Luckily Kirsty meets DB Sweeney ( Strange Luck, The Event ), who helps her hunt the monster down.