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  Shark Attack 3: Megalodon You Had To Open Your Big Mouth
Year: 2002
Director: David Worth
Stars: John Barrowman, Jenny McShane, Ryan Cutrona, George Stanchev, Pavlin Kemilev, Plamen Manassiev, Krasimir Simeonov, Ivo Tonchev, Rosi Chernogorova, Plamen Zahov, Peter Rusev, Viktor Chichov, Anya Pencheva, Danny Boy, Bocho Vasilev
Genre: Horror, Trash, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Six months ago, there was an incident off the coast of Mexico where a worker fitting an underwater fibreoptic cable was attacked by a large shark which devoured him. People, including his bosses, thought it was just one of those things, but now there is evidence there may be more trouble ahead in those waters, as coastguard Ben Carpenter (John Barrowman) is about to find out. He discovers a large tooth that he photographs and sends to an online oceanography site in the hope it can be identified, and sure enough, Cataline Stone (Jenny McShane), an academic, gets back to him and makes plans to arrive at the nearby resort to investigate...

At the height of the pandemic as 2020 moved into an uncertain 2021, who could the world turn to in order to give us hope? As there was a Doctor Who special on New Year's Day, cometh the hour, cometh the man, and John Barrowman stepped up to the mark to reprise his famed role as Captain Jack Harkness, indicating that maybe, just maybe, we could get through this crisis. But for some consumers of pop culture this was not enough, and it was the time to turn to stronger stuff for the stronger constitution: it was time to seek out the third in the low budget Shark Attack franchise and marvel at the man's endeavours therein.

When the popular science fiction show made Barrowman a famous face across the globe, paving the way for his own spin-off series, Torchwood, and various opportunities to show off his singing talents as well as a surprising amount of reality television, it was noted by some that he had already affected them deeply in this little item (unrelated, plotwise, to the two previous Shark Attack movies). It had mostly gone straight to DVD back in 2002, though some lucky countries got to see it on the big screen, but it took a few years to build momentum until it had something approaching the cult status of Tommy Wiseau's The Room for a twenty-first century successor to all those previous "so bad it's good" efforts of the previous century.

Was it the special effects? Was it the dialogue? Was it the curious way the minor characters sounded as if they had been dubbed by someone while drunk? The visibly rubber fin? It was a combination of all those things and more, a frequently laugh out loud funny farce of a shark thriller that really only didn't quite catch on as big as it should have because the genre was so overpopulated it might have had trouble standing out to the untrained eye. The fact we had the Sharknado series of deliberately camp shark attack TV movies as the most visible of a legion of Jaws imitators meant there was only so much of this kind of action audiences could take, and for most of them there was a "seen one, seen 'em all" quality that dissuaded many from investigating further.

This was entirely justified (see also crocodile and alligator movies), but you could make an exception for Shark Attack 3. Not least because movie star Jason Statham had led a proper blockbuster on the same subject entitled The Meg in the following decade, suggesting the antics of Barrowman here were an idea whose time had come. Directed by David Worth, whose low budget career also included weirdo thriller Poor Pretty Eddie back in the seventies, it was thanks to the leading man's jokey, can't be arsed ad lib before the big love scene that this turned into an internet meme, surely the highest praise a work like this can achieve, but there was more to it than that. Those effects, for one, which had the grand total of two giant sharks represented by stock footage of those denizens of the deep with boats and, unforgettably, a jet-ski superimposed over them to have us believe the frightening fish were chowing down. If you didn't find this amusing, bad movies were just not for you - if you did, then this was a keeper. Music by Bill Wandel.

[Signature Entertainment presents Shark Attack 3 on Digital Platforms 4th January and Amazon Prime Video 22nd January 2021.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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