The Direct to Video Connoisseur
I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Shark Attack (1999)
This is yet another of the Stars Play 11. As you may or may not know, we did the third film in this series, Shark Attack 3: Megalodon, complete with its famous line, and I've always wanted to go back and see where this saga begins. When I was notified that Netflix was dumping it from Watch Instantly in the Stars Play purge, I knew I needed to make it happen, especially for the Casper Van Dien factor.
Shark Attack takes place in South Africa, where a shark scientist colleague of Van Dien's is killed in a freak shark attack, prompting him to rush to the scene and see what he can do. Things go a little deeper than he expects though. The sharks are crazy, they're killing the local fishing trade-- which helps local entrepreneur Ernie Hudson, who is buying up all the local businesses--, but the shark's behavior is very un-shark-like. Van Dien's old shark studying buddy Bentley Mitchum, who has his own lab in the town, is suspiciously coy about all this, while Van Dien's dead buddy's sister looks like she'll make for a good love interest. Will CVD manage to solve this shark mystery and get the girl before the credits role at the 88 minute mark?
You know it. I liked this movie. I don't know how to describe it, because it isn't exactly a shark attack movie, despite its name. It has sharks, and sometimes they attack, but there's more Scooby Doo style mystery going on, with some B-movie action elements thrown in, and then the occasional foot dangling in the water what's gonna happen to it that we want from a shark flick. I don't know what you make of that, but in a weird way, it worked for me. Also liked Van Dien, Hudson, and Mitchum; plus Jennifer McShane, she who the great line in part 3 is directed at, plays Van Dien's love interest, so that made things even more fun. I guess that's how best to describe this, just a fun flick.
If I were the Made for TV Connoisseur, Casper Van Dien would be an inaugural member of our Hall of Fame. Looking at his imdb bio, he has tons of TV movie credits-- even this one is listed as a TV movie, but I made an exception because I can do that. You gotta like Van Dien in a role like this. He's like a combination of Fred from Scooby Doo, the hunky scientist type from the 50s monster movies, and your more common 90s action star, the third one being what you probably most expect from him after Starship Troopers, but the others working well too. Van Dien's usually pretty solid in whatever he's in, it's more a matter of how good he material is he has to work with, and I think here it was a lot of fun, and he was able to make it more fun.
Ernie Hudson, something of a villain in this. I know, you'd think in a movie called Shark Attack, it'd be the sharks, but no, it's him. He has this South African accent that he affects here and there rather inconsistently, which is good. If you're going to affect an accent, I always say do it halfway. I believe this is the first time we've seen Hudson as a villain here at the DTVC, which was a good change of pace from the supporting role as the hero's buddy that's more common. Also, I didn't know this, but he was born in Benton Harbor, Michigan. All Mitchell MST3K fans will get that reference.
Talk about your awkward situations-- or maybe not-- Casper Van Dien's ex wife's brother is Bentley Mitchum. According to imdb, Van Dien and Mitchum's sister filed for divorce in 1997, and this was released in 1999, so you do the math. Were they shooting during the break-up? Was the on-screen tension between their characters the result of some real life tension? It's interesting, because I see these facts in the imdb listings, and they're so antiseptic and matter-of-fact, that it takes a second to go "hey, in Bentley Mitchum's bio, it said he's the ex-brother in-law of Casper Van Dien. That's kind of pertinent to this review." Or as I said above, maybe it isn't.
Is that CVD hitting the climbing wall? Even though the scene is barely a second long, any climbing I see I have to get on here. I have to confess, I'm still very much a novice, and I don't have very much experience. But the way they were climbing, just going for any foot and hand-holds as opposed to hitting a fixed route and difficulty, that's something I could definitely do. It's always good to see some climbing in a movie, even it's only a small cameo.
If you can get this used on DVD or VHS, or if it airs on TV, I say go for it. It will satisfy your B-movie cravings, definitely a fun watch. Sometimes you see a movie like Shark Attack on the shelves or on your TV guide, and it looks like a good time, but then you watch it and it doesn't deliver. Well, this one delivers.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0161970/