Shark Hunter (2001)

Shark Hunter (2001)

Danger in the deep

Years after his parents are killed by a supposedly-extinct prehistoric Megalodon shark, Dr Spencer has become obsessed with hunting it down and killing it. When an underwater research facility is destroyed, Spencer is assigned to the Argus, a huge submarine that he designed himself, in an attempt to find out what happened. Spencer suspects that his old nemesis, the Megalodon, is behind the destruction and is intent on using the Argus to extract his revenge.

 

Basically The Hunt for Red October but with a giant shark instead of a Russian submarine, Shark Hunter was one of a small wave of really low budget creature feature films which latched onto the Megalodon shark as some sort of cash cow. Released between 2001 and 2002, the other films include Shark Attack 3: Megalodon and Megalodon. As you can imagine judging by the titles (and the fact that I’m mentioning them all in the same breath), none of them are any good – so much so that it is hard to decide which is the first. Shark Hunter gives the other two a run for their money in this respect.

It cannot be said that Shark Hunter is boring as the shark gets highly agitated and causes a lot of problems, being on-screen far more than I’d have expected. There is plenty of submarine versus shark action but you’d have thought that no matter how big a shark can grow, it’s still flesh and blood so the submarine should have no problem blowing it up if it really wanted to with a couple of well-placed torpedoes. Watching the two do battle underwater is like watching Godzilla battle with his mechanical doppelganger. The special effects have at least given the artists some scope to dramatically increase the size of the shark and submarine respectively so these are no ordinary-sized objects. The shark has this smirk on its face all throughout the film – you’re just waiting for it to full open its mouth and start humming the Jaws theme. Anyone remember Finding Nemo with the “fish are friends, not food” sharks with the grins on their faces? This Megalodon looks like an elder relative, though at least the sharks in Finding Nemo were meant to look cartoony since it was a kid’s film after all. I’m not sure that blowing one up in size and slapping it in this flick was really going to cut the mustard with the more adult audience.

Not only does the shark look bad but Shark Hunter is one of the earlier examples of a straight-to-DVD film that I can remember which feature seemingly entire scenes constructed of CGI. Granted whilst the effects are not believable in the slightest (at no point will the film ever convince you that its supposed to be set underwater), the fact that they’re mostly computer-generated at least means the effects team get to play around with the size and scope and everything, hence the gigantism present in the shark and submarine. What little of the film has been shot on sound stages is sparsely decorated, adding to the illusion that someone just decked out their basement for a few weeks and allowed the crew to film there.

I also expect a certain degree of entertainment when sharks attack people and most of the films in this sub-Jaws genre manage to contain at least one average attack scene. This doesn’t happen here and the viewer is left feeling a little ripped off as a result. I didn’t even care about the people when they eventually got eaten because the characters are so bland. The gigantic size of the shark means it should be able to swallow its victims whole which does little to add to the dramatic tension whenever someone gets chomped – its all over in a heartbeat.

The whole story about the boy wanting revenge and building this sub sounds like a bad soap story. It had potential for a bit of drama but with Antonio Sabato Jr. in the lead role failing to emote on any level whatsoever, any sort of feeling we were supposed to harbour towards him and his quest of vengeance are non-existent. The script is really poor and when the best actor is Grand L. Bush, then you’re having problems. Bush popped up in small roles in loads of big action films in the 90s like Die Hard, Lethal Weapon and Licence to Kill and no doubt was remembering his glory days when he was wading through the trash and found the script to Shark Hunter.

The film’s only highlight is the less-than-happy ending which is a real breath of fresh air from the usual hero saves the day crap. But I was probably only happy about the ending because it meant that the film was over and I wouldn’t have to subject myself to this trash anymore.

 

Shark Hunter’s cover makes it look like this is a really cracking shark-on-the-loose film but it’s not. It’s clear that no one really have a toss whilst making the film so why should you bother watching?

 

 ★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

Related Movies

Post a comment