Sunday, 15 July 2012

Super Shark (2011)

Well. It’s that time of year again when the weather starts warming up*, the nights get longer and my mind inevitably turns to one thing and one thing only. Sharks!

For various sciency, environmental disastery reasons an evil oil corporation accidently unleashes a Megalodon from its prehistoric slumber to terrorise a small beach community, on the 4th of July no less. Enter marine biologist Cat Carmichael from the Oceanic Investigation Bureau (??!!) to sort things out, if only she had a very poor man’s Quint to help her. Wait a minute.......

The Oceanic Investigation Bureau arrive
Not Quint
Super Shark brings a new level of insanity to the shark movie genre. As a connoisseur of this genre I know I’m enjoying myself when I can’t decide whether a film is actually complete and utter crap or absolute genius, so with that in mind I can only come to one conclusion - Super Shark could possibly be one of the best bad movie ever. My first clue to this came when it had its own theme song over the opening titles, ‘Super Shark’ clearly heavily influenced by the theme from Shaft- Genius.

From the outset we get what we pay for, people get eaten , corrupt oil barons are corrupt, marine biologists take their tops off and lounge on boats whilst still maintaining their professionalism by keeping their business trousers on, and Megalodons demonstrate their enormous mass by eating increasingly massive things. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years of research on the subject it’s that a Megalodon’s staple diet is predominantly made up of boats, oil rigs and submarines and my research doesn’t let me down here as it eats all of these things in the first twenty minutes and later on it also chows down on an in flight fighter plane to bring some variety into its diet. Now this may all sound pretty standard to you, you may be wondering how Super Shark challenges expected conventions, well I shall tell you: Super Shark is not merely content to just stay within the established parameters of the genre, oh no, Super Shark is intent on pushing boundaries and taking the shark movie into a new and innovative direction and it accomplishes this with a shocking plot development. It turns out the Super Shark, is not just satisfied with being not extinct or even with being the last of its species, Super Shark can also fly, walk and is bulletproof. Evolution in action there, ladies and gentleman, evolution in action.

 It is also important to mention that Super Shark also does its bit for championing the cause of women in horror by using in abundance the post modern feminist polemic of ladies in bikinis. It challenges us to question our perception of female identity by presenting us with a deconstructed representation of the feminine and juxtaposing it with the primal, chaotic savagery of a creature that predates man. I think we can all see the phenomenological implications of the construction of gender through specific corporeal acts and the possibilities which exist for the cultural transformation of gender through such acts. This is never more apparent than when one of the bikini clad ladies fends off a Megalodon attack using a beach umbrella.

 Ah me! If there’s a genre of film that you’d think didn’t need to invent excuses to show girls in bikinis you’d think it would be the shark movie. The very nature of the shark movie dictates that it be set in or around water so right there you have ample legitimate opportunity for bountiful boobies bouncing mightily in the sand and surf. Apparently, though, Super Shark couldn’t quite manage that despite three of its characters actually being lifeguards in the Baywatch sense and it had to make up its booby quota by sandwiching in a spurious bar bikini competition which largely consisted of ladies bouncing up and down on a small stage in bikinis for a good three minutes whilst being referred to as ‘it’ by the host. Nice. Naturally this plot device then needed to be followed up and a further three minutes was dedicated to the bikini winners claiming their photoshoot prize and bouncing about on the beach whilst a photographer took not very good pictures of them. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely nothing against ladies in bikinis, I’m all for ladies in bikinis, ladies look great in bikinis, my issue here is that if in a shark movie of all things you have to fabricate reasons to show ladies in bikinis then somebody somewhere really isn’t doing their job properly and that’s inexcusable. For God’s sake, sitting here right now I can think of six ways to seamlessly work bikinis and boobies into the script and I’m not even trying.**

Essential plot progression

 However, all this pales by comparison when the American military role up and their plan to defeat the Super Shark comes to light. The American military with all its highly trained personnel and its unlimited resources decides the best course of action in order to defeat the prehistoric monster is to deploy its secret weapon a tank with legs. A tank with legs. The tank, it transpires, had been previously tested in Iraq, but I think I can be fairly certain with the assertion that those tests probably did not take into account in the possibility of giant land sharks.

 Now why a tank with legs is any better at fighting a walking, flying Megalodon than a tank without legs I am not sure. It did use its legs to kick the Megalodon at one point but as far as I could tell that didn’t really help the situation. Eventually it’s left to Cat and comedy Quint to save the day. The military could have saved a lot time effort, money and lives if they’d just left them to it. Why bring your combat trained professionals and expensive weaponry into the fray when you’ve got the Oceanic Investigation Bureau with a ghettoblaster?

*By ‘warming up’ I mean it hasn’t rained for the last two days.

**I have since discovered that director Fred Olen Ray’s previous films have titles like Bikini Jones and the Temple of Eros, Bikini Royale and Bikini Royale 2, Bikini Pirates, The Girl From B.I.K.I.N.I, Bikini a Go Go and Bikini Chain Gang. I rescind back my previous comments and am off to locate these titles immediately.


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