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Shark Week


It bites. Hard.

Rod Lott August 23rd, 2012

What do you get when a prosecutor, a police officer, a journalist, an accountant, a judge, a bodyguard, a paramedic and one unemployed junkie skank are drugged, shackled and forced to play a game of survival involving man-eating sharks? The Asylum Home Entertainment's Shark Week, not to be confused with the Discovery Channel programming people look forward to.

sharkweek

Patriot Games' Patrick Bergin is Tiberon (get it?), a madman who clutches a pearl necklace, has Kick-Ass’ Yancy Butler draped on his arm, and channels John de Lancie. He's collected these poor souls for reasons unbeknownst until the final five minutes; you can gather it's for personal revenge.

He forces them into his baby shark-infested swimming pool; all but one make it through the built-in escape hatch that plops them on a island and a clue to lead them to a key to unlock their handcuffs. The film is all a game, riddled with challenges involving a hammerhead, tiger shark and the great white — CGI one and all — as well as the occasional land mine. Tiberon watches from the comfort of home, still holding on to that pearl necklace for dear life.

Shark Week’s right-there-on-the-box concept of Jaws meets Saw is a genius one, but executed at dunce level. It’s The Asylum’s best idea yet, yet given the company’s usual minimal effort. Given the work it’s done to build its brand and fan base, I’d love to see the creative powers that be to spend just another $29 (give or take) in each of three departments — acting, scripting, direction — to up the quality ante. Pieces of the film — the shark attacks, natch — made me think The Asylum could be to the ’10s as Full Moon Entertainment was to the ’90s; the difference is that Full Moon tried fairly hard to make the product as good as it could, whereas I still get the vibe that The Asylum’s primary focus is speed above all else.

And speaking of speed, for a movie with so many sharks, Shark Week is awfully slow. The long scenes that serve as bridges between “contestant” deaths are momentum killers, with dialogue so disengaging that you’ll tune them out. Directed by Christopher Ray, son of legendary straight-to-video filmmaker Fred Olen Ray (Turbulent Skies), the movie makes Syfy’s recent Jersey Shore Shark Attack look like Herman Melville by comparison. (Like many of The Asylum’s titles, this also aired on Syfy.)

Aside from a brief gag reel that contains a strange, distracting line near the middle of the screen for its whole, the DVD’s most notable feature is the collection of The Asylum trailers — 12 minutes worth, including but not limited to Super Cyclone, Bikini Spring Break Adopting Terror, The Haunting of Whaley House, Bigfoot, 100th Street Haunting and, last but not least, Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies. One operates as a trailer for The Asylum itself (see below), culminating in the tagline, "15 Years. 100 Films. You're Welcome."

Um, thanks? —Rod Lott

Hey! Read This:
Jersey Shore Shark Attack Blu-ray review  
Mega Python vs. Gatoroid Blu-ray review    
Meteor Apocalypse DVD review   
Saw 3D Blu-ray review  
Turbulent Skies DVD review    
#1 Cheerleader Camp DVD review   



 
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