These great poets said it best:
“In fighting nature, man can win every battle except the last. if he should win that too, he will perish, like an embryo cutting its own umbilical cord” Thor Heyerdahl
“For in this modern world, the instruments of warfare are not solely for waging war. Far more importantly, they are the means for controlling peace. Naval officers must therefore understand not only how to fight a war, but how to use the tremendous power which they operate to sustain a world of liberty and justice, without unleashing the powerful instruments of destruction and chaos that they have at their command.” Admiral Arleigh Burke
“In every battle there comes a time when both sides consider themselves beaten, then he who continues the attack wins.” Ulysses S. Grant
“Whoever wins….we lose” ALIENS VS PREDATOR Marketing Department
“Manmade terror, Hungry jaws of death, Y’all don’t cross my depths, I’ll pause your breaths” LL Cool J “Deepest Bluest”
Like the epic tale of the Titans versus the Gods, this is the chronicle of a great struggle. A battle of wills. A test of strength. A war where there is no victor, only casualties. All beholden to this great struggle will be forever changed by the carnage witnessed. This loss of innocence forever tainting their views. The sunrise, nor the ebbing tide shall ever be looked on the same. For now we know what monsters lurk beneath the sea, and in the minds of man. Be strong those who bear witness.
OK, I’ll admit it–I’m padding the review. I’m mean seriously, it’s MEGA SHARK VS. MECHA SHARK from Asylum. Everything you need to know about the film is contained in that last sentence. From the high-concept title, to the name of the distributor–this movie is a review proof one. You knew within a minute of seeing the title or watching the trailer if you were going to watch this or not. Just saying….Hold on a moment… (Billy is talking to me)….”I need to what?”…”You mean I can’t just…?”… “But why not…?”…”Yes, I like my job”….”Integrity?”…”No I don’t own a dictionary”…”Wikipedia says it’s…”….”But”…”yeah, but”… OK, this just in. This film does require a review, and perhaps some in-depth analysis. Damn.
Asylum has made quite a business out of sharks. From tornadoes full of them, to ghost sharks, to giant ones–there doesn’t seem to be any limit yet to what they are willing to throw sharks into. These films are successful for what they are, and most of them are pretty darn fun. They harken back to the Kaiju and “creature feature” days of old. Any of these films would be great for a drive-in (those too young to know what that is–look it up), or a Saturday afternoon matinée. They are cinematic junk food in the sense they can tide you over in between heartier meals of celluloid, but the rush wears off quick, and they offer very little nutritional value. Point sufficiently made? Good, because I’m out of metaphor’s, and that sentence wouldn’t support many more commas without buckling.
Where was I? Oh, yes. MEGA SHARK VS. MECHA SHARK is no SHARKNADO. Let me just rip that band-aid off right now. That film was lightning in a bottle, and I don’t even think the upcoming sequel will capture that magic again. SHARKNADO had a much lighter tone–despite the civilians getting eaten by a vortex filled with sharks thing. MEGA VS MECHA plays it much straighter. This doesn’t mean it isn’t fun, or funny. But it doesn’t quite have that “Je ne sais quoi” of ‘NADO.
This film maintains the continuity of 2009’s MEGA SHARK VS GIANT OCTOPUS and 2010’s MEGA SHARK VS CROCOSAURUS. I know that’s important to you. So, when a towed iceberg melts and unleashes another Megalodon, who is hell-bent on returning to the waters of Sydney, Australia–in order to get his freak on, the military is prepared this time. So it’s nice that the film dispensed with the “oh my, what is this thing, and what do we do?” portion of the, ahem, narrative. So the military’s answer is their new creation, the Mega Shark. I’d say spoiler, but it is in the title of the film. So this sets up the rest of the film. The Mecha chases the Mega, the Mega trashes some ships, they fight, repeat.
The CGI is of course terrible, but that’s to be expected, as well as a big part of the appeal. The physics are ridiculous, and for some reason the director spends quite a bit of the run time having characters toggle switches. Seriously, I was stationed on a submarine for three years and don’t think in all that time I saw as many toggle switches used on the boat as I did during this film. While I’m nitpicking naval stuff–the command center looks like a conference room at a local business. Not a nerve center of a Navy frigate. Plus, the entire film that center is at sea, and not once does anyone move like there were actual waves or anything outside.
The Mega Shark is pretty cool, and the fight scenes are as good as you could hope for a film of this caliber. I actually don’t mean that as a knock. They are fun, and deliver on the premise of the title, so no bitching there. In the third act, the Mecha Shark of course goes a little haywire, and undergoes an amusing transformation that ramps up the old SNL “Land Shark” bit. I do wish they would have done more with this concept. It is the one real missed opportunity. I still can’t figure out how the scientist, Jack (Christoper Judge), was leading it back out to sea. You see him riding a motorcycle, but never see the Mecha in the same frame. It’s a bit confusing, but hey, it’s a “D” movie.
The film for the most part plays it serious. There are a few bits that are amusing. There’s a call back line to JAWS at one point that had me chuckling. There’s also a nice riff on the Shark vs Plane scene from MEGA SHARK VS GIANT OCTOPUS, that fans of these films will get a kick out of. Then there’s the acting…
I give credit where it’s due. The two leads: Christopher Judge and Elisabeth Rohm actually do a good job. They almost act like this is a real film, and they don’t ham it up or cause eye rolling. You can argue that they don’t quite “get” what kind of a film they’re in, but the director wanted to try and go for less camp. Their characters are of course underwritten. There’s a barely there subplot about them having lost a child and her developing a drinking problem, but it has no bearing on the actual plot. I guess the writer wanted to try and add depth, and the director said “screw that, this is a giant shark movie.” The two do sell their relationship and concern for each other very well. Plus, Rohm’s character is actually given more to do, so girl power! Who says there are no strong female roles in Hollywood? Kablamm! (trademark Brian McKevitt…)
As for the rest, the only other noticeable performances are Matt Lagan as Admiral Engleberg, and Debbie Gibson as a scientist. First Gibson is hardly in this thing, and can barely keep a straight face. The film doesn’t even show up on her IMDB page, which I find amusing. She’s not too proud to list MEGA PYTHON VS GATEROID, but his doesn’t make the cut? Anyway, she’s about as believable an academic as Denise Richards was in THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH. I guess since it’s an Asylum film, either Gibson or Tiffany has to make an appearance. Lagan has the thankless job of being the unintended comedy relief. He utters some truly ridiculous lines, and over and under emotes–often in the same sentence. So, yeah–he’s in the right film.
In summary, and all snark aside. MEGA SHARK VS MECHA SHARK is an above average Asylum film. If you’ve enjoyed their past offerings, then this one will be high on your lists. It delivers on the promise of the title, provides some decent fight sequences, and will make you laugh–sometimes not on purpose. It’s nowhere in the ballpark of SHARKNADO for pure entertainment, but is definitely worth the time if you’re a fan of cheese. So consider this thing reviewed…
An avid (some would say psycho) movie collector and fan, Eddie is driven to share his passion for all things film with anyone he can get to listen. Incapabable (or is it unskilled...?) at guile (unless he's buying you a drink, then his motives can be suspect)...the unfiltered truth of his id is what you'll get from him. He also stands as a self-proclaimed expert of movie trivia that would rather not have to grow up if he has any say in the matter.
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