Sharktopus (2010)

Sharktopus should serve as a warning to all of us:

This is what happens when the fickle American public keeps demanding more and more shark movies long after all the good ideas have been used.

Now one could sum this one up with about five words: Sci Fi Network Shark Movie. That would give you a fairly good idea of what to expect, although it wouldn’t tell you that Sharktopus was actually one of the best of their shark movies and is a lot of fun in a dumb, B-Movie Sci Fi original sort of way.

By now, you may have guessed that Roger Corman produced and Eric Roberts stars.  That seems almost inevitable.  Eric plays Nathan Sands, a genius scientist whose biotech company is on the verge of a huge payday for its latest military project: a deadly hunter killer, S-11.  It is a genetic monstrosity that is a cross between a…

Well, it should be obvious.

But when he attempts an ill-advised real-world test of the beast, he loses control of S-11.  It escapes to Mexico and goes on a killing spree.

Why Mexico?  Well, we all know that.  It looks great, gives them plenty of interesting exotic locations, isn’t far from Hollywood…

And it’s cheap.

So Nathan goes after it with the help of his nerdy-but-cute science girl daughter and the usual tough ex-Navy Seal with the usual complicated relationship with his boss.

The real star, of course, is the sharktopus.  It’s mostly digital (although they apparently used a puppet for some of the scene) and, while the effects are a bit variable (as is the size of the creature), most of the time it actually looks pretty good.  Some of the scenes of it swimming through the water are quite impressive as they give the beast a fluidity that makes a shark with an octopus back end seem almost…believable.

Certainly, it’s miles better than the creatures you see in most of these things.

Now, in the real world, Octopi don’t swim with their tentacles and instead squirt out jets of water like a jet ski.  But it still looks plausible, which is what we’re trying for.

Although it is a touch eccentric that the Sharktopus has the parrot-like beak of an octopus in the middle of its belly.

As usual, we have a lot of characters who get introduced so they can get eaten a few minutes later, although the minor podcast star playing a pirate radio DJ does stick around a little longer.  There’s the expected romance, and the usual government attempts to cover everything up.

Eric, of course, lurks in the background and doesn’t play an active part in most of the film.  Admittedly, he has a lot more to do than he did in, say, Bermuda Tentacles, and even gets a big death scene, but we all know he’s there for name value.

Even if it is a name that only fans of Sci Fi Network B-Movies are likely to recognize.

You might be interested to know that the whole idea of a Sharktopus isn’t quite as unexpected as it sounds as the legendary Lusca of the Caribbean is often described as half shark, half octopus, and a similar creature actually appeared in the Italian film, Devil Fish.

Look, we all know Sharktopus is silly and stupid, with a lot of totally idiotic moments.

But it is also a knowing, post-modern film, throwing a wink at the audience, a film which knows exactly what it is and is just fine with that.  It is goofy fun and stuffed full of beautiful scenery and lots of lovely girls in bikinis…

Who get eaten.

Yeah, it hangs around a bit long, but it is far more entertaining than anything than Sci Fi (orthographically correct or not) has made in a long time.  It’s a great dumb movie and should be perfect for midnight viewing.

Just don’t forget the spicy nacho popcorn…

(Watch for free on Tubi)

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The Rivets Zone:  The Best SF Movies You’ve Never Seen!



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