Thursday, August 25, 2005

It Came from Blockbuster! Raging Sharks

At first, I was prone to give amused credit to Raging Sharks for blaming the killer shark action on an extraterrestrial artifact instead of the usual bioweapons experiment gone awry. The idea of opening a killer shark movie with a catastrophic crash between two alien spaceships was so aggressively dumb that it bordered on genius.

That feeling lasted for about five minutes, before I noticed that a huge hunk of the movie—including pretty much each and every shark attack—had been lifted from previous films and stitched together in the most awkward fashion imaginable to make a ‘new’ picture. So obviously the spaceship idea was inserted purely because they had preexisting footage that they were told to incorporate into the movie.

Let me put it this way. If, during the course of the film, you see a space ship, an alien, a shark, a shark attack, a plane, a boat, a submarine, a swimmer, a surfer, a scuba diver, an explosion…in other words, shots featuring much of anything...then the footage almost certainly came from another movie. I recognized footage from such Nu Image fare as Shark Zone, the three Shark Attack movies and Octopus myself, and I was barely paying attention.

And man, they don’t care who knows about it. Certain shots (especially quick flashes of shark attacks) are used again and again, and continuity is not greatly treasured. During several scenes in which deep sea scuba divers are menaced by sharks—in a mix of real life footage with animatronics stuff—the featured sharks will be noticeably swimming directly under the surface of the water, despite the fact that the divers are supposedly several hundred feet under. And later, a seaplane briefly joins a rescue attempt in a mid-ocean location, but the stock footage they had featured it landing right along a coastal town.

Basically, an undersea research lab is under assault by weirdly aggressive sharks of various breeds (watch for the exact same four second CGI shot that is used about a dozen times at various stages of the movie). The Navy attempts a rescue, and the submarine they send apparently blows up several times, courtesy of stock footage taken from Octopus, but then the submarine isn’t blown up, so I guess they just make them really, really tough these days. In any case, the submarine crew doesn’t really do much of anything anyway, other than eating up some running time.

Meanwhile, just when I’d at least given the film points for not giving us the inevitable eee-vil military guys or murderous guv’ment spook, they introduce…a murderous guv’ment spook. Indeed, this guy provides the huge bulk of the peril for most of the film’s final half hour, with the sharks noticeably missing in action for a majority of the movie’s latter half. For a trained assassin, the guy is of course bizarrely inept, but equally indestructible, and naturally ends up being killed about four or five times.

My favorite line, by the way, was when the hero gets the villain’s gun and tries to shoot him, only to find that it’s out of bullets. “30 round clip,” the bad guy chortles. “You should have been counting.” First of all, it’s an automatic weapon, so ‘counting’ rounds would be a bit unlikely. Second, it takes a lot of balls to point out that the gun has a 30 round capacity when the guy’s just spent about ten minutes of screen time firing hundreds of shots without reloading.

With the money saved by dint of only having to shoot half a movie (if that), the producers blow their budget on huge stars like Corin Nemec (Parker Lewis Can’t Lose) and the inevitable Corbin Bernsen as the submarine captain. The latter was obviously only hired for a day, if that, and one of the few real laughs I got was when he tells two other characters to “take your conversation elsewhere,” quite evidently so that Bernsen’s comparatively expensive presence wouldn’t be required for the rest of the scene.

Nu Image has been turning out crap for years now. Sadly, if Raging Sharks is any indication, their movies are actually getting even worse instead of better. Even by the rather forgiving grading scale I employ for DTV killer shark movies, this one is pretty horrendous.

Nice cover art, though.


At 11:04 AM, Blogger baby copernicus said...

Oh look! Shark! Wow! They're cleaning the sharks! Now look! They're tying the sharks to a tree! Oh! Now they're tying the same sharks to the same tree, but at a different angle!

At 11:06 AM, Blogger baby copernicus said...

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At 11:12 AM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

Hey, I'm deleting those things as fast as I can!

I guess I could make people register before commenting, but I don't want to inconvenience my four readers.

At 2:32 PM, Blogger Marty McKee said...

SHARK ZONE is incredible. Bulgaria "passes" for San Francisco, one actor plays two major supporting roles, and when Nu Image runs out of shark stock footage, they use whale footage instead.

At 7:51 AM, Blogger Cullen M. M. Waters said...

Hey, I inconvenience my two readers with word verification and I haven't had any comlaints from them...


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