Sunday, April 24, 2016


Well, I just saw this one last night and I HARDLY KNOW WHAT TO SAY.  This ASTOUNDING 2008 release was directed by Danny Lerner, who also brought us Shark Zone and Raging Sharks as well as Shark Attack 2 and Shark Attack 3:  Megalodon.  This man is truly a friend to the Cause and I won't hear a word said against him.

I have yet to see ALL of Lerner's piscatorial epics, and the task is going to be even harder to face now that we've lost him.  He truly is irreplaceable.  But as recruiting films go, this one has to be one of the hardest to beat EVER.  Where do I begin?


>> Almost every human being in this film looks like a real person, not an idealized twentysomething fashion model.  The hero/recruit, for instance, is a doughy middle-aged college instructor (Stephen Baldwin); his girlfriend (Vanessa Johansson) has limp hair and bad posture. THEY'RE THE REAL THING.  JUST THE SORT OF PEOPLE WE WANT TO TURN INTO FISH RECRUIT.

>> The bad guy in this film thinks he is in control of what he calls "the bambino sharks," but the Sharks end up LAUGHING IN HIS FACE and going about their -- our -- business.

>> The hero/recruit starts out deeply concerned that his dad has disappeared while diving in Venice.  The police inevitably call it a run-in with a boat propeller.  He flies immediately to the scene to tell off the police (he never actually says "This was no boating accident!" but we get the message) and to begin a search for dad.  But he also keeps forgetting the dangers of the Shark-infested canals, mentioning it to the authorities and then quietly dropping the matter.  He underlines his own lack of concern by suiting up and swimming in those same canals again and again.  His girlfriend keeps saying she won't let him take the risk -- then casually stands back and lets him plunge into the canal.  WHAT DO YOU SUPPOSE THAT'S MEANT TO CONVEY, LADIES?  You got it.  He knows his dad is safe in the Roiling Intestine of Dagon.  So does she.

>> All the landscum skin-divers complain about how murky the water in is this film, which is about what you can expect when you're trying to navigate in water being crapped in by well over 250,000 Shaved Monkeys.  But I want you to notice that whenever the Shark operative (what the Shaved Monkeys call a Great White) appears, he appears in a luminous halo of perfectly clear water.  I can't imagine a better metaphor for WHAT HE IS DOING THERE.  And only a fish viewer will know how to interpret THAT clue.

>> Lerner cleverly fills the movie with what look like MISTAKES, but which are actually brilliant, sleight-of-fin MISDIRECTION.  A fully human viewer will not suspect what it means when the American woman visiting Venice translates some Italian she heard on the radio into English, for the benefit of an Italian listening over her shoulder.  It's meant to DISTRACT the Naked Ape viewer from noticing when the hero, minutes later, is bitten across the midsection by a Shark twice his size, viciously shaken, then RELEASED without a single rip in his wetsuit.  The human viewer thinks that's just another dumb mistake by the filmmaker.  A fish viewer will instantly know that Baldwin's character has been granted SAFE PASSAGE by the Shark operative.

>> There are other clues to Baldwin's true identity.  How many landscum viewers will notice when Baldwin reports that his air tank is completely empty, shows us the wrist indicator to prove it, but then swims around with it for several more minutes and grapples with a Shark along the way.  Then he takes the whole kit off, crawls around in a cave, puts the empty scuba tank back on and swims a long, long way underwater, back to the waiting boat.  HOW DID HE DO THAT IF HE'S AN AIR BREATHER?

>> And what about all the yip-yap?  Team after team of divers hold long conversations underwater despite the fact that they're using those regulators that you grip with your teeth and seal shut with your lips.  Same "mistake" you remember from Lerner's immortal Shark Zone.  Obviously, to talk they had to remove the regulators and speak underwater.  LIKE FISH.  And what about the fact that in every scene, we see them keep the regulators in their mouths?  MORE MISDIRECTION.

>> I don't want to ruin the whole movie for you, but I do want to point out just one more thing.  It's clear to any viewer  -- fish, half-fish, or 100% primate -- that there's only ONE Shark in the canals of Venice.  As Matt Hooper said at one point in Jaws, those proportions are correct.  We only need about one Great White to about 350,000 Shaved Monkeys.  Of course, Lerner slyly left out all the Makos, Blues, Tigers and other Shark operatives on the team in real life. 

The film was also released under another title:

Because it really only takes one Great White to get the job done.  See this movie.  You'll never regret it.


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