A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Hammerhead

August 1, 2011

Hammerhead

This was another movie that Amanda recommended for the project. She had seen parts of it, or maybe just a preview, on SciFi and it looked to her like just the kind of cheese that we needed for our new Shark Week. It does have that flair to it, I have to admit, but I’m not sure this movie knows exactly what sort of movie it is. When it gives in to its b-movie roots it’s pretty fun, but then there are long stretches of the film where it’s trying to be a Rambo style action movie – and it just doesn’t work for me.

At its heart this is a mad scientist movie. The insane Doctor King, living in exile on an uncharted tropical island, has tampered in God’s domain. He (with the help of his hunched Igor-like sidekick and a crazy German woman with horn-rimmed glasses) has saved his son’s life from terminal cancer by blending his DND with that of a hammerhead shark. I think that’s what any loving mad scientist father would have done. But he doesn’t stop there. Dr. King is obsessed with the notion that his hybrid shark/man son is evolutionarily superior to humankind, and he has been trying desperately to have the Hammerhead monster mate with a human woman to start spawning a new race.

All that is some classic mad scientist stuff. The whole “sacrificing women to the monster” thing is very creepy – especially all the mostly naked women in tubes throughout King’s lair. I did wonder what his apparently never ending source of victims is – but then again he also has this big compound and a private army – I guess being a mad scientist in exile just pays well.

Doctor King has lured to his island domain a businessman in the pharmaceutical industry that he blames for his exile. He intends to feed his rival, Mr. Whitney Feder to his shark monster son. Mr. Feder brings along his post-divorce arm-candy girlfriend, his head of research and her boyfriend the head of IT for Whitney’s corporation and a couple bits of shark food so forgettable that I never learned their names. By odd coincidence the head of research, Amelia Lockhart, turns out to have been engaged to King’s son back before he became a mutated beast-man.

It starts out fine with King trapping them in a conference room then flooding it so that he can sick his shark-son on the whole group, but they quickly escape and the movie veers off the rails. Now I’m usually completely in favor of nerds being the heroes of movies (since I’m a nerd myself I kind of enjoy that dynamic.) The nerd in this case, however, IT director Tom Reed, doesn’t use his brains to save the day – he somehow transforms into Rambo instead. He wrestles armed guards, he blows up motorboats by shooting them with a rifle, he actually explodes a giant helicopter with a pistol and like Rambo he seems never to get shot no matter how many squibs are going off all around him.

I’m frankly puzzled by this whole aspect of the movie. It feels so out of place in a cheesy monster horror movie. I kept waiting for the firefights and the stunts and the explosions to end so that we could get back to a hilarious rubber monster eating people, which is what I had really signed on for. It also doesn’t help that William Forsythe as Tom and Hunter Tylo as Amelia have less than zero chemistry. He keeps calling her “sweetie” and “darling” and telling her how much he respects her and all, but not a single word of it rings true. Maybe if I actually wanted to see these people living happily ever after it would be easier to watch the interminable action chase scene that their part of the movie becomes.

I feel betrayed by this cheesy shark movie. I expected low budget cheese, and although I hadn’t been expecting quite so much mad scientist stuff thrown in I’m willing to accept that in my rubber monster movies. It’s all very Creature from the Black Lagoon. But then the movie is co-opted by all this shooty explosiony stuff which doesn’t fit at all. Oh, I’m a fan of ludicrous explosion filled action too – see my review of Action Jackson – but it feels so out of place in a monster horror movie. It messed with the pacing of the film and made an hour and a half feel like it was about three hours long. I kept waiting for the film to end, and it just kept going on. Never a good sign.

It’s too bad, too, because the actual shark man himself looked so completely hilarious. I am disappoint. With luck tomorrow’s movie will live up to the promise displayed in its absolutely marvelous trailer.

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August 1, 2011 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , , ,

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