Sunday, 17 August 2014

SHARKTOPUS - Review By Greg Klymkiw - The Crown Jewel of Anchor Bay BLU-RAY "SHARK 4 Movie Collection"

NOTE: The Film Corner's Star Ratings will now appear at the end of the review.
One can never go wrong with any movie
featuring a ROGER CORMAN cameo.
One can never go wrong
with any movie featuring
Sharktopus (2010)
Dir. Declan O'Brien
Producers: Roger and Julie Corman
Starring: Eric Roberts, Kerem Bursin, Sara Malakul Lane, Liv Boughn, Hector Jimenez, Blake Lindsey

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Sharktopus is a hoot! As a matter of fact, I haven't enjoyed one of these ludicrous shark pictures so much since I saw Sharknado. The big difference is that this one is actually good. Or rather, well, maybe good isn't quite the word, but this movie delivers everything you'd want from a low-budget creature feature and with a few dollops of "and then some". This, of course, is all due to the powerhouse husband and wife producing team of Roger and Julie Corman who ensure that the film delivers massive-impact carnage, a ludicrous number of babes in swimsuits and the same, crazy sense of looney humour that Corman's stalwart tutelage delivered with such delightful 70s New World horror classics like the Joe-Dante-directed Piranha. Though Sharktopus doesn't quite soar to the heights of Dante's giddy, goofy gobble-em-up, it flies a lot higher than such lumbering big-budget creature-feature affairs like Pacific Rim and Godzilla 2014.

The mad monster of the film's title is exactly what it spells out - a shark with octopus tentacles. This allows the creature to attack its victims "normally" like "Bruce" in Jaws or coil its tentacles round the (mostly) nubile bikini-clad babes then stuff 'em down the deadly sharktopus maw and not unlike the insects in Starship Troopers, the dextrous arms are equipped spear-like tips which impale before devouring. Now before you think we're supposed to buy that a creature like this actually exists, let it be said loud and clear that sharktopus is a mad combination of genetic engineering and computers hard-wired into the brain of this human-engineered freak o' nature. Developed by a private corporation using scads of military moolah, the sharktopus is meant to be a secret weapon to be used in battle - whether against genuine countries Uncle Sam is fighting or worse, Somalian pirates, drug smugglers, various cartels and the like.

Eric Roberts is the head of the firm and his gorgeous daughter Nicole (Sara Malakul Lane) is his right hand. Unbeknownst to her, Dad has secretly rewritten the genetic code so that sharktopus becomes an unstoppable killing machine. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem for the American military, but when the computer in the creature's brain goes awry, it starts to munch anything and everything and the plucky father-daughter are ordered to track the beast down and stop it from decimating innocent people.

Luckily for everyone, sharktopus heads for the Mexican resort of Puerto Vallarta. It's lucky for us because we get nice scenery and endless frames jam-packed with babes in bikinis. It's especially lucky for producer Roger Corman on two counts. First of all, he and his co-producing wife and key crew members get a nice vacation in the famed sunny resort town.

One can never go wrong with
4 BluRays for 1 low price.
Secondly, the film's production costs will be rock bottom because it's, uh, Mexico. This might be the most important reason of all for Corman to shoot in the Land of Tacos, Tamales and Tequila.

The plot, such as it is, thickens once Eric Roberts hires a hunky, cocky shark hunter (Kerem Bursin) who very quickly falls for Roberts's babe-o-licious daughter. There are some subplots, none of which are all that important, but allow many opportunities to parade babes in front of the camera who will also get munched.

The acting ranges from barely competent to well, uh, competent, with the exception of Eric Roberts, Julia Roberts' brother, Emma Roberts' Dad and at one time, a promising and brilliant young actor during the 80s (Star 80, Runaway Train, The Pope of Greenwich Village and Raggedy Man). Roberts manages to register above the thespian Richter Scale by chewing the scenery with aplomb and oozing slime in his smarmy, villainous role.

Declan O'Brien's direction is competent at best, the special effects are so good-God-awful they're funny and the script perfunctorily hits all the checklist items a movie like this needs (mostly, opportunities for babes in bikinis to strut their stuff before being munched).

One can never go wrong with ERIC ROBERTS
Occasionally, the writing delivers individual lines of dialogue and some banter that's genuinely funny.

In the end, Sharktopus has two elements that raise it above its cellar-dweller aspirations. First of all, it features an absolutely hilarious cameo appearance by Corman as a dirty old man following a babe in a bikini on the beach who's scanning the sand with a metal detector. Corman's eyes appear to be on her ass, but just after she discovers a valuable gold doubloon in the sand, she gets dragged into the ocean by the sharktopus. Corman keeps his eyes peeled on the treasure lying in the sand, ignoring her screams for help. He retrieves the doubloon and happily saunters off. Secondly, most of the killings are delightfully hilarious and some of them border on the surreal - especially since we're treated to some ludicrous musical numbers on the stage of a resort and we get to see cheesy costumes and ethnic dancing until the sharktopus lunges itself onto dry land by using its tentacles as legs and starts eating Mexican señoritas in full traditional Mexican garb. And, of course, one of the best killings involves a mega-babe (Corman's own daughter) getting munched during a bungee jump. Seriously, can you think of any movie featuring a walking octopus/shark and a bungee-jump kill?

One can never go wrong with babes being eaten.
I thought not.


Sharktopus is available on a nice 4-disc/4-movie Blu-Ray set from Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada. It features a super commentary track with Corman (and his lovely wife/co-producer Julie). Both are gracious, erudite, full of terrific anecdotes and solid information about making movies. And keep your eyes peeled. The Film Corner will review all four films in this set. The other three include one more Corman production, DinoShark, as well as Jersey Shore Shark Attack and Bait.

In the meantime, feel free to order this terrific four-disc set (and any of the other wonderful Corman titles) directly from the Amazon links below and in so doing, support the ongoing maintenance of The Film Corner.