A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 519 – Hammerhead

Hammerhead – August 1st, 2011

Shark Week 2011 continues with yet another incredibly cheesy shark movie we bought because I saw a few minutes of it while flipping channels. Unfortunately, the third one I spotted isn’t available yet, but even if we’re not still doing the full project by next summer (we’ve only got about 100 movies left so we’d have to come into a windfall of cheese to make it another year) I promise we will buy Malibu Shark Attack and review it. But before we go thinking about a year from now we’ve got this. And oh, it is some impressive drek.

All I’d seen of this movie prior to buying it was a short snippet of some people stumbling through the jungle, pursued by a hybrid half shark/half man. Obviously I had to have it. And I stand by this decision even if this movie did feel like it was about a million years long. Mostly I stand by it because the concept is definitely a throw back to mad scientist movies of the past. Within the first few minutes there’s even an Igor. We have our mad scientist, Dr. King, and he’s doing something with sharks and people and he’s obviously going to be the bad guy doing horrible evil experiments. And we have his assistant, whose name I don’t recall because as soon as the movie’s monster bit his hand and he started walking around all hunched he became Igor to me. It is so clearly an intentional reference that he couldn’t be anything else.

Unfortunately, the stuff with the mad scientist and his creepy experiments in creating shark people just doesn’t make up the majority of the movie. It’s certainly a key part of the plot, but most of the movie is spent following a group of people as they run around the uncharted island King’s lab is on. We get the plot laid out for us early on and then it’s run run run stumble fall nom nom nom. Lather, nom, repeat. Most of the shark bait in the movie are employees of a struggling pharmaceutical company (seriously?) and its CEO. They’ve come to the island to talk to Dr. King about a new treatment he’s developed involving stem cells. Turns out he’s managed to use shark stem cells to cure his own son’s cancer, but said shark cells also turned his son into a shark man and the shark man is now not much more than a shark with arms and legs, feasting on whoever he can grab.

In the long run, the plot involves the son’s former fiancee, Amelia, being strung up so Dr. King can try and get her pregnant with little shark babies, which is so very wrong on so many levels, but while I saw that coming a mile away, the movie didn’t seem to. King seems surprised to see her when she arrives with the group from the pharmaceutical company (she’s the head of R&D there) and as he explains to the CEO and other employees that he blames them for his ouster from said company, he apologizes to her because he knows she loved his son and he never planned for her to be a part of this. Okay, fine. I mean, the woman who gives birth to a shark baby and is then killed made it pretty obvious to me, but the movie treats the plot like it’s an accident that Amelia’s even there. Dr. King invited the rest of the group because he intended to kill them for revenge. Okay, that’s standard mad scientist stuff. But you’d think he’d have planned to lure Amelia there. Nope. But hey, he doesn’t pass up the opportunity to use her when it comes his way.

Fortunately for Amelia, her current boyfriend turns out to be a super badass and saves the day. Not that he saves anyone else. There’s a whole crew of disposable characters here who might as well walk into the movie with shirts that say “Shark special: All you can eat ME” on them. And boyfriend Tom does his best to shoot lots of guns and make lots of stuff explode in order to save them, but they all end up eaten anyhow. Tom, by the way, is the IT guy for the company. I suspect that his whole guns a’blazin’ routine was some techie’s wish fulfillment. He’s the computer geek with the hot girlfriend and he gets to shoot guns and stuff! Whatever. I don’t really care about him.

I only really care about Amelia, and mostly because the movie goes out of its way to make it clear just how horrible her situation is. I mean, let’s be frank here: King is strapping her down so his shark monster can rape her. Isn’t that a lovely thought? Clearly it’s the plan of an evil and terrible man and to the movie’s credit, there’s nothing remotely sexy about it. At no point do Amelia and the shark man share a tender look where Amelia questions her reticence towards human/shark intercourse because he used to be the man she loved. Which I wouldn’t have put past the movie. I was curious to note that despite the fact that Amelia wears pants through the whole movie, when she’s been stripped down for the shark she is wearing a slip. A bra and a slip. I know it’s an odd and petty thing to pick on in a movie like this, but it just seemed so clearly done for modesty so this could be shown on television.

Anyhow, I was disappointed that we didn’t see more of the shark man. We catch little glimpses of him every so often, and there are lots of frenzied shots of his mouth chomping on people. But for the most part there’s just an effect used on some first person POV shots so they don’t have to actually show him since he’s the one looking around. If it had kept with the whole mad scientist thing, or kept with the whole shark man chasing people through the jungle thing, then I’d have been a lot more interested. But it ends up messy, and I’m not just talking about the blood. I don’t expect a lot from a movie like this, but I did expect more than I got here.

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

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