Wednesday, 16 June 2010



Honestly! A quarter of a century on and they're still ripping off Jaws? I suppose they're calling a respectful homage but the blatant lifts from Spielberg's 1975 original are simultaneously shameless and shameful. Even the famous track-in-zoom-out perspective distortion shot of Roy Scheider on the beach (which was originally a Hitchcock device) makes an appearance, except that here it's pointed at a bloke called Thorsten Kaye - no, nobody's Household Name Detector is going to go off tonight. At least the first one had Ernie Hudson and Caspar Van Dien in it.

Shark Attack II kicks off with a Great White chewing up a scuba diver while her cute blonde sister Nikita Ager looks on; Thorsten is the hunky marine biologist assigned to capture it for a frankly tacky-looking seaside theme park run by a villain who's clearly cut from Mayor Larry Vaughn's cloth. The shark eats a park employee in front of some horrified toddlers, escapes, and is then tracked by the hunk and the blonde, along with a charmless Australian egomaniac with a nature-baiting TV show. Can they stop the shark before it eats everyone at the big surfing competition? As it happens: no, they can't, because auteur David Worth (incidentally the genius behind Kickboxer, Warrior Of The Lost World and Lady Dragon) wants to restage the Fourth Of July bit from Jaws, except not as good.

It's badly acted, blatantly unoriginal and no better than the first Shark Attack movie, to which it's related only by a handful of lines of expository dialogue. The CGI sharks are pretty lame, especially for the scenes where they're supposed to be hunting in packs (although they're not as bad as the shark effects in the one-joke Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus eight years later). Where the movie scores for me, personally, is that it's set and shot in Cape Town, where I was for a couple of days in 1975: just a couple of weeks before Jaws opened. Thorsten and Nikita go by cable car to the top of Table Mountain - and so did I. Sadly, they don't have a shot of the shadows of the cable cars crossing each other on the side of the mountain, but we did get a shot of precisely that on 8mm home cine.

That's ultimately got nothing to do with Shark Attack II: it would have been rubbish if they'd set it anywhere else, and it is rubbish when set here, albeit rubbish with some travelogue and location footage that appeals to me in particular. But I'm a sucker for anything shot in non-Saharan Africa so the movie scrapes an extra star just for that. Still not any good, though.


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