Shark Attack II (2000)

Shark Attack II (2000)

The killer is back

Dr Nick Harris works for a new aquatic park in South Africa but the owner is desperate for a big-named tourist attraction. So when a great white shark is spotted near the shore, Harris is tasked with capturing it so that it can be put on display. Harris is surprised at how easily he is able to capture the shark but there is a fatal accident on opening day and the shark is free once again. Teaming up with a shark hunter and local diver Samantha Peterson, whose sister was killed by the shark, Harris sets out to track it down. But to their horror, they realise that the shark is the offspring of one of the genetically mutated great white sharks which managed to escape from captivity…and it is not alone.


It’s hard to see how a TV movie, which was widely-panned, manages to get a sequel but here we are with Shark Attack II. Remember that low budget thriller with Casper Van Dien and Ernie Hudson about genetically engineered sharks? No? I don’t blame you. However a couple of men did – Avi Lerner and Danny Lerner – and decided that a sequel would be in everyone’s best interests. They are some of the big wigs behind-the-scenes at Nu Image Films, who have graced the creature feature genre with such series as Octopus, Spiders and Crocodile, as well as a ridiculous number of killer shark films in the years following this one. Yeah, I could have guessed where this one was going to go.

Well I can at least say one thing – this is a sequel which surpasses the original (and not in the derogatory sense). Shark Attack II is infinitely better than the first one and whilst that’s like saying you’d rather take a cyanide pill instead of drinking sulphuric acid, it’s at least a step in the right direction. Ditching the more thriller-orientated approach of the original for something that resembles more of a gratuitous creature feature flick, Shark Attack II makes no bones about where it draws influence from: Jaws. Shark Attack II not only lampoons the first film but is happy to borrow copiously from Jaws 2 and Jaws 3Jaws 3 for crying out loud! No one in their right mind would ever try and copy something from that abomination. But with the capture of the first great white shark to it escaping in the aquatic theme park and even to the accented shark wrangler who turns up, Shark Attack II tries to get as much mileage out of Jaws 3 as it possibly can before the lawyers got involved.

Shark Attack II works slightly better when it’s doing the standard “sharks on the loose – close the beaches!” formula. The standout sequence, in fact the only highlight of the film, sees the pack (or should that be swarm?) or sharks head towards a surfing contest where a handful of people are attacked and killer within the space of a few minutes, some attacked by multiple sharks. It’s mildly diverting and is the sort of scene that Shark Attack II really needed to produce more of. Whilst the kills aren’t exactly gore-filled feeding frenzies, there’s enough violence and cheese to make them entertaining.

The original Shark Attack suffered from a distinct lack of shark action, and even then when it did come along it was little more than stock footage and a cardboard fin. Thankfully Shark Attack II rectifies that problem. Whilst the stock footage is back (and hopefully The Discovery Channel getting paid for it), this time it is joined by some CGI sharks and even a basic animatronic model which does little more than breach the surface every now and then to claim a victim. Some scenes attempt to build up suspense with the use of ‘Fin Cam’ where a camera has been attached to the side of the cardboard fin as the shark sails towards it’s intended target. It looks ridiculous as the shark swims in a completely straight line, juddering and spluttering as if the fin is about to grind to a halt.

The CGI sharks look terribly cartoony as well and they have an annoying habit of growling, which is impossible as sharks have no vocal organs to produce sound. This is a trick that is repeated constantly throughout these Nu Image films – as if growling sharks make them even more menacing. The silent predator approach works wonders for their real life counterparts so I don’t see why they’re given comical voices. I don’t need to hear a shark roaring towards its victim – the sight of a great white in feeding mode is enough to make even the hardest man wet their pants at the thought of being in the water with them.

The cast is filled with a bunch of low rent actors who are given the task of trying to make this script sound remotely interesting. But even De Niro or Pacino in their prime couldn’t bring these one-dimensional characters to life. German actor Thorsten Kaye stars as Dr Harris and he’s like a really low rent Harrison Ford. Nikita Ager fulfils the dumb blond heroine role which doesn’t involve a great deal except standing around looking good (which thankfully she does). It’s blatantly obvious the direction that these two single characters are going to take and it’s no surprise to see that arc pan out exactly the way we expect it to. Dan Metcalfe is the shark hunter, sort of a cross between Steven Irwin and Quint – according to his IMDB lists he’s starred in such awesome roles as ‘Guitar Dude’ and ‘Secret Service Bobby #2.’ Hands up if you think this guy is going to be any good in a speaking role….


You’d assume that I hated Shark Attack II from the overall negative review I’ve given it here. It’s not as bad as I’m making it sound, though that is coming from someone who watches so many low quality films that it’s hard to make a valid case for any sane person to watch it. Better than the first one by a fair distance but still coming a long way off being classed as watchable.





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