Shark in Venice (2008)

Shark in Venice (2008)

Welcome to the perfect tourist trap

In search of his father who went missing whilst diving beneath Venice, David stumbles upon the long-lost treasure of the Medici. However he also becomes an unwitting pawn in a Mafia plot to recover the treasure, not to mention the killer sharks that protect it under the murky depths.

 

Danny Lerner, the man who brought us such turgid killer shark flicks as Shark Zone and Raging Sharks returns to his familiar hunting ground with this appalling train-wreck of a film which I can add to the list and dub as the unofficial ‘Worst Shark Trilogy’ ever. Terrible on so many levels, Shark in Venice is one of the most pointless films I’ve ever had the displeasure of enduring. Nu Image, the company bankrolling Lerner’s forays into the water, unleashed the Shark Attack trilogy upon mankind as well as Hammerhead: Shark Frenzy. It’s pretty clear that they have the killer shark genre cornered so I’ve only got myself to blame when I continue to sample their wares. The artwork is misleading but I didn’t let that fool me for a change – I knew what I was getting myself in for, I just didn’t realise how deep I was getting myself in!

Like its modern ‘monster on the loose’ compatriots, Shark in Venice finds the unnecessary need to give the characters some human villains to compete against, as if a killer shark loose in Venice isn’t enough. This means that the studio can spend less screen time on the monster and thus save money on the special effects and just throw in a moustache-twirling villain with a few henchmen who will all become monster chow by the end of the film. Here the villain is an Italian mobster. He’s got some chainsaw-wielding henchmen and yes he does get fed to the shark at the end. It’s not really a spoiler because if you’ve seen any recent Sci-Fi Channel flick then the same thing happens time and time again. In fact the villains are usually the only characters that get eaten – it’s almost become an unwritten rule that the monster can’t eat anyone remotely decent or heroic.

Once again this type of film has had an Eastern European shoot so the cast is filled with Bulgarians pretending to be Italians and speaking English. Go figure. It just all adds up to a load of terrible accents and dialogue-crunching. Not that it matters to Stephen Baldwin anyway as he’s had a career of living off his role in The Usual Suspects but hasn’t done anything remotely decent since (Slap Shot 2 anyone?). He sleeps his way through the film, wearily throwing punches when he needs to and wrestling with sharks when the duty calls. There’s no enthusiasm or passion in his voice and he acts like he has been put on sedatives before the cameras started rolling. Quite why Vanessa Johansson gets a top billing credit on the cover is beyond me – oh wait I know why, it’s because her sister is the infinitely more talented and better-looking sister Scarlett. Talk about living off your family’s name (hang on a second, Stephen Baldwin has been doing that too!).

What about the shark itself? After all, it’s the title of the film! Shark in Venice sees the return of the fin-cam which worked wonders in making me laugh in the previous Nu Image films. For anyone who hasn’t seen the cam in action, it’s basically a very unsteady camera attached to the side of an even more rickety cardboard fin that travels very slowly and tilted to the side. The rest of the shark footage consists of the traditional stock footage that these films have become accustomed to using. So one moment the shark is small enough to fit through a narrow underwater tunnel but then in the next shot, it’s a 25ft long monster! Note to any budding actors reading this – getting killed by stock footage of sharks is not the way to die in any film. The actors wriggle around pathetically. There is some red colouring thrown into the water. And there is a lot of shaking of the camera. At no point do you actually see the sharks ‘interacting’ with their victims. It’s almost like they kill them from distance with some Force-like crushing power.

 

In case you haven’t realised it yet, Shark in Venice is poo. In fact I’m going to borrow a quote from Steven Spielberg and call this “The Great White Turd.” They keep topping their previous efforts and you have to wonder how much worse these films can get. What’s next? Flying sharks? No doubt No Image will wheel out their main man Danny Lerner and give him the keys to the Discovery Channel archives once more. Just go and watch Jaws again for crying out loud.

 

 ★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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