SHARK ATTACK

Shark Attack

SHARK ATTACK (1999)

TAGLINE: “You may never want to go in the sea again!”

IMDB Rating: 3.1/10

After staggering in after a heavy night and slumping in front of a post-pub screening of ‘Jaws 4: The Revenge’, aspiring director Bob Misiorowski must have thought to himself, ‘I reckon I could make something as bad as that’. Well, congratulations Bob, ‘Shark Attack’ is not only as bad as Jaws 4 – it’s possibly  worse. And bearing in mind Jaws 4 features a growling shark that is out for vengeance against the family that killed its parents, that’s a staggeringly impressive feat.

The plot of ‘Shark Attack’ is actually very similar to that of ‘Deep Blue Sea’ which was made the same year (1999); misguided scientists attempt to genetically engineer sharks to help cure human disease, and things go predictably wrong. But whereas ‘Deep Blue Sea’ was a disposable, fun thriller that had tongue buried firmly in cheek, ‘Shark Attack’ takes itself very seriously, and the only fun had by anyone seems to have been had by the dialect coach, as though apparently set in South Africa, the accents wielded in this film transcend both national and taste boundaries.

The nefarious local bigwig, played by Ernie Hudson, may well be sporting an English accent. Possibly. The local fishermen sound like the Swedish Chef from The Muppets. The comedy sidekick ‘Mani’ could be Spanish. Or Afrikaans. Or German. Or Welsh. Not since Julia Roberts in ‘Mary Reilly’ have so many accents been produced by one actor in a single sentence.

Leading man Casper Van Dien has no trouble with his accent- he’s allowed to use his own. It’s just emoting and…er… acting that he seems to be troubled by. He plays a shark expert who teams up with his dead colleague’s girlfriend to investigate the increase in local attacks armed with only experience, cunning and an inexhaustible supply of pastel shirt and chino combinations.

One of the many pitfalls of this film is that it actually features very few shark attacks. And those that do occur are about as tense as a paddle in Tooting Lido. The only dread we feel is immediately after the first scene, when we realise quite how turgid the next 85 minutes are going to be.

Two moments stand out. Firstly, when eye candy/girlfriend Jennifer  uses a shark tranquiliser which she applies to the writhing giant using a Homebase plant sprayer. Though possibly it’s topped by the denouement in which the hitherto unremarkable group of local fishermen launch a textbook commando raid on the science laboratory.

And when evil Ernie Hudson exclaims toward the end ‘This has been entertaining, but now it’s time for you all…TO DIE… A-HA HA HA HA…’ it becomes apparent that the rubber sharks may actually have had final sign off on the script.

The blurb on the back of the DVD cover claims “SHARK ATTACK brings to the screen all of the terror… of these soulless creatures”. One can only assume this is a reference to the cast and crew.

3 Comments

  1. I haven’t seen this, but I have seen one of Bob Misirowski’s other films – the lamentably JCVD actioner DERAILED. Regardless of any other film the man has made, that was enough to prove he should never be let behind a camera again.

  2. Mikey says:

    Surely it can’t be a coincidence that he hasn’t directed a film since DERAILED? I think his Mum has put him on the naughty step to think about what he has done.

  3. […] notable Ernie Hudson (Shark Attack, Stealth Fighter) returns to wreak poorly-accented havoc with one of the great bad lines in bad […]

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