The latest Syfy/Roger Corman collaboration, Sharktopus [Saturday, 9/8C], follows the trend of the last several Syfy Saturday evening movies – there’s literally no suspense regarding the creature being featured; the action is set somewhere warm enough for there to be hordes of bikini-worthy women… in bikinis, of course; the villain is a mad scientist, and the hero is some ripped Indian Jones wannabe/mercenary. Body count is substituted for suspense and grotesque manners of death are the norm. Which doesn’t mean that Sharktopus is awful…
Produced by Roger Corman’s New Horizons, Sharktopus is, essentially, the very model of a modern B-movie. Given the existence of a hybrid of shark and octopus; the existence of a Department of Defence commission to have the hybrid created, and the ego of the hybrid’s creator, the creature and the events that transpire are logical almost to a fault.
Interesting variations of the usual themes include the mad scientist, Nathan Sands’ [Eric Roberts], daughter, Nicole [Sara Malakul Lane] – who did most of the actual bio-engineering on the creature [daddy just made it more aggressive] – and a pirate radio DJ, Captain Jack [Ralph Garman] who exists to mock the news of the hybrid’s killing spree.
The hero, Andy Flynn [Kerem Bursin], once worked for Sands, but was fired for reasons not fully explained and is re-hired to track and capture the hybrid after its controls are damaged.
There’s also a gung ho reporter for CNE, Stacy Everheart [Liz Boughn], who gets the first footage of the creature to air before being taken off the story.
Much of the film is inventive, at least in terms of the sheer number of different ways the hybrid kills – and the variety of people who become its victims. There’s also a lot of humor [intended and otherwise] – check out the way a hybrid of two sea creatures manages to galumph up onto land [there’s no mention of any amphibian DNA in the thing]. It’s obviously one of most mean-spirited monsters of all time.
If you’re looking for some serious scenery chewing [and I’m not referring to the sharktopus, here], and love an unhealthy dollop of cheese with your B-movies, you’ll get a kick out of Sharktopus. At least it’s better than some of the theatrical films I’ve had to review of late.
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