Sharktopus: Sea, Land, Your Living Room

16 05 2012

Ever wondered what would happen if you stitched The Lost World onto the bloated carcass of some abandoned Jaws sequel?  No?

In Sharktopus, a SyFy Channel original movie that begs an explanation for the esteemed Roger Corman’s involvement, Eric Roberts plays Nathan Sands, the head of sketchy genetics engineering company, “Blue Water.”  It just so happens that Sands’ firm has developed the ultimate in naval marine encephalopodian warfare for the Department of Defense because anyone who knows anything knows America pays bored med school drop outs millions of dollars for this kind of shit.  Sands’ operation is aided by his demure daughter, Nicole (Sara Malakul Lane), a brilliant MIT grad who also dabbles in Sexy Library Science, if the glasses she sports and hair bun she comes to undo are any indication.  Character development, people.  Nicole explains that the sharktopus is controlled by a series of very complex scientific mechanisms and mind-controlling electro-brain frequencies that bypass the obvious genetic inconsistencies that would ensue by combining two completely different species but it’s all very complicated to try and explain to everyone right now so let’s just leave it at that shall we?

Those of you clamoring for more action amidst all this totally lame science-y stuff can rest easy with the addition of “expert” oceanic navigator, Andy Flynn (Kerem Bursin), our meathead phenom protagonist.  Andy’s an Iraq War vet, a fact we’re instantly made aware of  when he pulls a piece of freaking shrapnel from his shirt pocket.  No worries, though. He’s not all Full Metal Jacket gloom and doom.  Our first glimpse of Andy showcases him playing “Tequila Ball” in a Mexican hotel swimming pool with a pair of bikini-clad locals, no doubt a time-honored game steeped in the Chicano cultural tradition.  And because Andy’s like, reckless and stuff, holmes.

No idea

Eight minutes into Sharktopus, our budget-sized abomination has its mind control device knocked loose during a botched test run of its killing power on two innocent speedboaters.  Bear in mind this all goes to complete shit under the express orders of Government Higher-up, Commander Cox, because no, you cannot make this stuff up.  In the ensuing carousel of tits and CGI blood, what transpires is a lackluster chase around the shores of a nondescript Mexican bay.  Andy and Nicole meet up with some reporter named Stacy Everheart, which is either the trashiest pen name or the classiest porn moniker, along with her cameraman “Bones,” and a closet pederast inexplicably nicknamed “Pez.”  Let’s roll that last one around in our mouths for a bit.  People die and character relationships are clumsily expanded on.  The film arrives at its wretched crescendo when Andy and Nicole, who have ever-so-subtly bonded over this disaster, put aside their deep, philosophical differences to take down the creature in a nondescript Mexican riverbed.  One might wonder why the sharktopi would require gills if they can rear up on their tentacles and walk across land, but that would be putting forth, quite frankly, way too much cognitive effort.

Best video game you’ve never played? Best video game you’ve never played.

Along with its score, which schlepps between Nicaraguan elevator muzak and the occasional low synthesizer note, Sharktopus’ real victory is the way in which it deftly tackles sexism in today’s cultural landscape. Director Declan O’Brien stages the introductory shots of every female meat slab below the actresses’ shoulders, confronting chauvinism in a hands-on, bewbs-first kind of way.  I think.  The subtextual gender commentary is only further enhanced by the cinematography, evocative of many an episode of Power Rangers: Zeo.

“Stephie” is a much more nuanced character than your boner is allowing her to be.

Have you ever had two equally strong cravings for foods at the exact same time?  Like when you can’t decide between spicy country-fried chicken and mint chocolate chip Häagen-Dazs, so in your attempts to combine the two you end up creating something so foul you regret not settling for just one right from the get-go?  Yeah, Sharktopus is like that.

Notable Quotables:

– “The creature appeared to be some hybrid of shark and octopus. A sharktopus, if you will.”

– “Damn you, monster!  Damn you!”

– “Were you a lawyer in a past life?  Or no, maybe you worked at the DMV.  Do you feel nothing, Stacy?  That guy was killed in front of us inches away. Inches away!  Gosh.  He was kind of a nice guy, you know?  Smelled a little funky, but he was okay.  Now he’s dead.”




One response

13 07 2012
The Asylum: A Trove of Budget Mockbusters «

[…] Since I’ve already had some experience with this kinda thing, I’ll highlight a few notable entries: […]

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