SHARK ATTACK 3: MEGALODON
* * * * (2002, 94 minutes, Rated R)
My Shark is Bigger Than Your Shark
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon comes our way as a Reader Recommendation. I have to admit that I‘m
not well-versed in the Shark Attack series, though the original Shark Attack was reviewed here by
the great Fred [The Wolf] of Full Moon Reviews. Somehow, I managed to follow along with action
without prior knowledge of the deep and intricate universe the Shark Attack series had created in
the prior two films.
I am surprised the series stopped at three. Granted, since Jaws
became a blockbuster, movies about killer sharks are common
enough to have become their own genre. Along with the four
Jaws films, we’ve had Deep Blue Sea, Mega Shark vs. Giant
Octopus, Shark in Venice, Sharktopus, Shark Night 3D… and
these are just off the top of my head. Much like zombie movies
and rom-coms, it seems like one could just tinker a wee little bit
with the formula and unveil it as something new.
Certainly much of Shark Attack 3 feels like “Jaws in Mexico.” The
Chief Brody of our film is a harbor patrolman named Ben
Carpenter, played by “Torchwood”’s John Barrowman in full-on
Discount Tom Cruise mode. That may be shocking to you
“Torchwood” fans out here, but in this film, Barrowman smirks,
struts and smiles blindingly like a Top Gun-era Tom Cruise. A
good chunk of the film is spent with Barrowman Tom Cruising
around the beachside resort, chatting up co-workers with Speedy
Of course, we have to have a number of random shark attacks
before anything really starts happening. The most bizarre attack
involves an Old Man doing some deep sea fishing while his wife
and his guide get it on literally behind his back. It’s such a
jarringly weird scene that I had to re-watch it because my brain
couldn’t register what I was seeing.
Ben finds a large shark tooth stuck in a fiber optic cable while doing some illicit lobster hunting,
and goes straight to The Internet. You’ll be happy to know that in this film, everyone’s computer
displays text in 80-point font -- very helpful for the viewing audience. Ben can’t figure out what kind
of shark the tooth came from, so he posts a pic in a bulletin board, obviously in the hopes that a
sexy workaholic scientist will immediately ID the shark for him.
Cue the introduction of “Cat Stone,” who takes the next plane down to Mexico to get footage of the
shark. Amazingly, Cat Stone is only the second most awesome/ridiculous name in the film. The
top honor goes to the James Brolin-y Navy vet/Deus ex machina named Chuck Rampart.
Aside from a subplot involving a telecommunications company laying some cutting edge fiber optic
cable along a number of the Pacific Ocean’s trenches, the first hour of the film is strictly knock-off
Jaws fare: Ben argues with the douchy resort owner over whether or not to keep the beach open,
skinny-dippers (yes, there be boobies here) get it on in the ocean at their own peril, and the
filmmakers insert stock footage of a great white accompanied by the grunts of a hung-over
does some uncredited
work on this film,
providing the "voice" of
Wookie. Speaking of sound, it sounds like nearly all of the minor
characters’ voices are dubbed by the same team that does the
dubbing for Jackie Chan movies.
Cat wants to study the prehistoric shark, Ben wants to kill it, but they
have to work together. The two share a touching moment in a church
together before heading out to kill one of God’s creatures.
Which they do [spoiler?]. When the shark crashes through the hull
of their boat, Ben beats it in the head for a couple minutes with a bat
until Cat unloads a shotgun in the shark’s mouth. And yes, that
buckshot is accompanied by a cheesy quip. The day is saved! Ben,
Cat and their shark bait buddies wait on their sinking boat for one of
Ben’s Speedy Gonzalez’d co-workers to pick them up in his speed
And this is where the film goes from Somewhat Cheesy into Super Cheesy Hyperdrive. This is
where Shark Attack 3 stops being a standard Jaws knock-off and starts waving its junk around.
See, that 15-foot shark was a baby megalodon. Here comes Mama, popping up to swallow
Speedy Gonzalez’s boat whole.
The moment is so over the top, so out of left field, it’s impossible to not burst out in laughter. The
effect is clearly stock footage of a great white surfacing with the victim superimposed into the
shark's mouth. Even better, the exact same footage is used again and again, each time with
something new being eaten. It just gets funnier and funnier.
|We never get tired of this.
|So how does one stop a prehistoric shark that,
depending on who is talking or the needs of the
script, is anywhere from 60 to 100 feet long? It
helps to know a guy like Chuck Rampart, who has
his own personal submarine, can “get enough
explosives, no questions asked” overnight and has
a frickin’ torpedo stashed away in his apartment.
You know, just in case.
Ah yes, the infamous pick-up line. It’s the night
before Ben and Cat go after Mama Megalodon
and… I won’t spoil it for you (if you must, it’s right
here and NSFW), but it’s a line so bad that I don’t
think the real Tom Cruise himself -- at the height of
his TomCruisery -- could pull off in real life.
Allegedly, the line was something John
Barrowman ad-libbed to get his co-star to crack up
(she clearly doesn't) and not meant to be in the
film. I’m not completely sold.
But are you sold on Shark Attack 3? I hope so.
Here’s a clip from the ending, a hilarious assault
on the corporate baddies of the film that would
make even the most casual Occupy Wall Street
supporter give a standing ovation. The last 30
minutes of the movie goes overboard with such
gusto, it’s hard not to love this film.