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.
Monday, July 21, 2014
Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark (2014)
After doing the Drunk on VHS podcast a second time with Moe and Jon from the After Movie Diner, where we discussed the Rutger Hauer flick The Blood of Heroes-- among other things-- Moe offered me my own podcast slot in the 8-9pm hour on Wednesday nights. I was excited for the opportunity, but for that first show, I didn't have much time to prepare or get a guest. Fortunately, Moe connected me with Jamie Jenkins, of the podcasts Lycan In!, Devour the Podcast, Evil Episodes, and the Skeleton Crew, and she was willing to sit in with me for my inaugural episode-- a podcasting midwife, as she called it! Anyway, because we had a short time to prepare, I figured we'd do a quickie Asylum flick on Netflix, and I chose this one because it starred one of my Asylum faves, Debbie "Deborah" Gibson. Let's see how it turned out.
Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark stars Elizabeth Rohm of Law and Order fame and Christopher Judge of House Party 2 fame as two experts of some sort called into action when another prehistoric mega shark has been thawed and is threatening our seas. Their solution: a submarine that's shaped like a shark and has a computer that sounds like KITT from Knight Rider. Now the angry mega shark is in heat, looking get a piece worse than The Situation in an early episode of The Jersey Shore, but instead of being a dick to his roommates, he's destroying aircraft carriers. Can our heroes and their shark shaped submarine save the day?
My girlfriend (soon to be wife) wanted to watch this one with me, thinking it was going to be a fun time, and about 7 minutes in she was browsing Tumblr on her phone. That just about sums up Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark right there. Of course, as your faithful DTV Connoisseur, I sat through the following 78 minutes of pain and ennui, trying to make sense of things. One thing Jamie mentioned right away was that this should have been, and we both thought we were getting, a Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla shark extravaganza. As Fred Willard said in Best in Show: "No-brainer right? Turns out, not so." Instead we got a shark-shaped submarine that made the penguin-shaped sub in the Batman movie look serious, and did nothing more than self-destruct at the end of the film and take the shark with it. That's all ya got? A series of perfunctory CGI sharks jumping out of the water and smashing things, a few overdone shark jokes (whoa, Christopher Judge just jumped the shark! wacka wacka wacka!), some slightly funnier Titanic jokes, and then all you do is self-destruct the submarine shark? Why didn't you do that in minute 15 and save us the other 70 minutes! This is a definite pass for me, as it was for Jamie.
Let's start with Debbie Gibson. She's reprising her role from the Lorenzo Lamas Asylum flick Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, which, if I'm not mistaken, was one of the first of these Asylum large animal disaster flicks. The problem here is that she's barley in two scenes. What? This movie should be all Debbie Gibson. Piloting a submarine, saving stranded children, performing her songs in a musical interlude-- all of the things we needed and never got. The 8-year-old me who thought Debbie Gibson was just "girl music" never could have imagined the 35-year-old him on a blog in 2014 saying a film needed more Gibson, and needed her performing those "girl songs", but he's doing it. That's right 8-year-old me, I wasn't as cool as you thought I'd be-- we also didn't get flying cars. (I let 8-year-old me down!)
As far as shark movies go, this is very low on the totem pole. As far as I can tell, we've done about eight shark movies on here (this would be the ninth), though I haven't always been good at tagging shark movies, so I may be off. Of those eight, this isn't exactly the worst, but it may be the most unremarkable. It just seemed like such an afterthought, which I think is the most frustrating. It's like they took all the second-unit footage from another movie to make this one. I get that these are supposed to be silly and low-budget, and that's what I want from them, but I also want something from someone who tries. It's like going to a restaurant and getting burnt food or under-cooked food. I'm not looking for Bergman or Bocuse with every movie or meal, I just want a good effort, both from the food and the film. Is that too much to ask?
Christopher Judge is only in this slightly more than Debbie Gibson, and while he looks cool, he also has this quality in his characters that is almost like "I'm going to go play D & D after we shoot this." His best scene was of him almost lighting a thin cigar while wearing sunglasses. For Judge, in my mind anyway, his pinnacle as an actor was in House Party 2, when he said "If you're not giving up the rhythm, you got to go." That's movie gold right there. If this movie just had that, or even a Pajama Jammy Jam, I would've been happier than what I got here. Ain't gonna hurt nobody...
As I said above, this film had many Titanic references. First off, Judge and Rohm, who play a married couple, are "Jack" and "Rosie". Then, one of the carriers is split in half by the shark, and as it sinks we're treated to people sliding off the deck as they did in Titanic when the ship was sinking. My experience with Titanic came in college. We had a campus movie channel that would show four movies a week, each once a day, on a rotating basis, and Titanic came up a few times during my five years in school. One of the times my neighbor came by at 12:30 to ask me if I wanted to get baked and watch the ship break apart, as Titanic was showing in the midnight slot. I agreed. He had this massive glass bong, one that sat on the floor and came up to my chin as I sat on the couch. There were about five of us, and we got pretty stoned, and then the scene came, and I was in awe, mouth agape, watching the faux destruction happen on his 19" tube TV. Eat your heart out Joe Friday, weed is good!
So the movie is a pass, but the podcast isn't, and you can check us out from 8-9pm EST, live, every Wednesday at www.mixlr.com/2nd-unit. You can also check out the RSS feed here on the blog to download if you miss it live, or our archives at: http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/134494. I say "we" and "our", because Jamie has since agreed to join me every week as my cohost, which has been great and the show's been a lot of fun. So while the movie itself was a bust, the podcast worked out.
To download the episode for this movie, right click here and select "save link as".
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3152098/