Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Eric Roberts, Kerem Bursin, Sara Malakul Lane, Hector Jimenez, Liv Boughn, Julian Gonzalez Esparza, Blake Lindsey, Calvin Persson, Megan Barkley, Kyle Trainor, Lindsay Conklin, Anna Laurita, Jack Hzte, Veronica Nava Honc, Rob Donohue, Brian Sheeran, Adrian De Leon, Patrick Lacho, Adriana Robin, Richard Miller, Shandy Finnessey, Ralph Garman
Written by: Mike MacLean
Directed by: Declan O'Brien
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 89
Date: 09/25/2010
IMDB

Sharktopus (2010)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Teeth & Tentacles

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Sharktopus, which aired last September on the SYFY channel, is part of a long tradition. It's all about drawing in customers with a terrific title and a terrific box cover. After that, nothing else really matters, and though Sharktopus the box cover is certainly terrific, Sharktopus the movie puts in very little effort to entertain.

Oscar nominee Eric Roberts is the top-billed star, and he's Nathan Sands, a scientist that has created the title monster; he has a huge military contract, though, and he has let his greed run away with him. He has tweaked the creature to make it more aggressive and deadly. When it gets away, it goes on a vicious killing spree, attacking and killing everything it can find, without even bothering to enjoy a snack.

Sands' daughter Nicole (Sara Malakul Lane) is also a scientist and she can't understand what's making the creature so violent. She teams up with a former team member, Andy Flynn (Kerem Bursin), to track the creature -- called "S-11" -- down. Of course, there's bad blood between Flynn and Sands.

To pad out the running time, we get an annoying female TV reporter, Stacy Everheart (Liv Boughn), and her cameraman Bones (Hector Jimenez), looking for the story and in danger of being replaced by a more experienced (and male) reporter.

Meanwhile, the movie introduces us to dozens of minor characters, almost all of whom end up as bloody clumps in the water. Perhaps the most interesting of these is a pirate radio DJ, Captain Jack (Ralph Garman) and his sexy assistant Stephi (Shandi Finnessey); they actually get two whole scenes before the S-11 gets them.

Producer Roger Corman turns up in a funny little cameo, as an old man toddling town the beach, admiring a sexy girl with a metal detector.

Writer Mike MacLean and director Declan O'Brien do nothing with their scenario, ideas or characters, other than run them through the usual motions. The cheap, CGI effects are perhaps even more boring than some cheap handmade effects would have been. During several moments I couldn't help thinking of last year's much cleverer and more playful Piranha 3D, which seemed to stretch most of these same ideas a lot further than the box cover.

Anchor Bay released the Sharktopus Blu-Ray, and the best I can say for it is that it comes with a commentary track by Roger Corman and his wife Julie. As always, Corman is ready to impart bits of wisdom about how to make low-budget monster movies, and any filmmaker could learn a thing or two from his experiences.