Sunday, 13 March 2011


Film: Sharktopus *
Release date:Out Now
Certificate: 15
Running time: Long Enough
Director: Declan O'brien
Starring: Eric Roberts, Roger Corman, Hector Jimenez 
Genre: Horror
Format: DVD
Reviewer: Adam Wing

Contrary to popular belief, very few sharks are dangerous to humans. Out of more than 360 species, only four have been involved in a significant number of fatal, unprovoked attacks. An octopus has three hearts, eight arms (generally), likes to hide and doesn’t get a whole lot of sex. Probably because the male dies a few months after reproduction and the female kicks it as soon as the eggs are hatched - that would really put me off too, come to think of it. They’re intelligent though, incredibly flexible and have a great sense of touch. Which brings us neatly to the most fearsome creature of the deep, the once fabled half-shark, half-octopus - created for the military by a team of highly intelligent, not to mention incredibly stupid, scientist types.

Not much is known of the sharktopus, apart from his obvious taste for good-looking girls and bad acting credentials. A sharktopus will feed once every seven minutes on average, but sometimes he gets bored and just likes to play with his food. Clearly table manners come from the octopi side of the family, and for obvious reasons, mum and dad weren’t around long enough to teach him any.

Sharktopus brings with it a cast of top names including Ralph Garman, Sara Malakul Lane, Brent Huff and Kerem Bursin. I’m sure I’ve forgotten someone, that’s right, head bad guy Nathan Sands is played by Eric Roberts - brother of Julia - last seen starring alongside the like of Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham. Now he’s appearing in a movie directed by Declan O’Brien, last spotted hiding behind the camera of Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead. I wonder if that makes the decision to direct this movie wrong turn number four?

Lets start with the positives shall we? There are genuine moments of humour to be found throughout - I counted at least two in fact. A bungee jump encounter amuses not because of its originality, but largely because of director Declan O’Brien’s snappy delivery. Ralph Garman makes for an enjoyable - if not underused - comic relief radio host, and there are lots of lingering shots of girls in bikinis.

Eric Roberts brings more than enough cheese to the table and Shandi Finnessey is on hand to provide the crackers. Then there’s the dialogue of course, classic quotes are provided on a regular basis, including the unmistakable “Commander, you just unleashed an eight legged man eating shark on the world”. To which Eric Robert’s sinister bad guy retorts “A minor set back”. A minor set back indeed, that’s kind of like saying Hitler was just a little misunderstood.

All good things must come to an end though, which means you’ll find your patience wearing thin as soon as the actual ‘plot’ kicks in. The two leads are bland - often the case in low budget monster mash-ups - which makes for incredibly dull television whenever the shark is off screen. Note to director - a washboard stomach only makes for convincing lead credentials when it comes complete with charm, personality and bravado.

The sharktopus itself is a hilarious creation, blessed bizarrely with the vocal range of a whiny dog, but the CGI blood fails to shock in the manner it should. Not only that, you can spot the next potential victim from a mile off. Every other scene begins with a beautiful girl wearing next to nothing, delivering her lines with the emotional intensity of a Vulcan on payday, only to be lost at sea moments later. The worst thing for me was the lack of genuine humour, considering the potential of the premise, you would expect at least the occasional laugh or inspired set piece. Somebody somewhere had a sense of humour when they came up with the concept, so how come the filmmakers ran out of ideas so early on?

Hammy acting, corny dialogue and rubbish CGI are to be expected from a film like Sharktopus, but foolish hope is lost beneath a wave of lacklustre thrills and wasted opportunity. Sharktopus fails to deliver on its promise of exploitation and cheap thrills, and it’s amazing just how quickly the sight of a man-eating shark crawling along the beach can lose its charm.

Not even a cameo from Roger Corman can save Sharktopus from a watery death, but let’s be brutally honest here, none of this is going to prevent you from watching it now, is it?

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