Sunday, September 16, 2007

you can swim, but you can't hide...

Raging Sharks (2005)
Dir: Danny Lerner.
cast: Corin Nemec, Vanessa Angel, Elise Muller, Corbin Bernsen, Binky Van Bilderbeek, some raging sharks.

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Far out in deep space a cock headed alien and his crab-faced wife are arguing over directions to Waitrose or something, oblivious to the fact that another big spaceship is heading directly towards them. Suddenly the arguing couple are bought back to reality by a huge explosion (borrowed and superimposed from an old episode of Buck Rogers in The 25th Century by the look of it) as the craft collide in a mish-mash of slow mo Airfix glory and quality shaky cam. Luckily the mismatched pair manage to jettison what looks like a big wheelie bin into space before everything blows up.

The mysterious space bin comes crashing to Earth via the centre of a fishing boat (with more added on explosions and stock footage) much to the surprise of her Oscar quality crew, before coming to rest at the bottom of the Bermuda Triangle...

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Beware the bin men.

Cut to five years later and we're aboard the Oshona deep sea lab where team leader the lank haired Dr. Mike Olsen (80's teeVee hunk and former Parker Lewis Can't Lose star Corin Nemec) is having a wee bit of a run in with his fellow researchers (one of whom is his wife) regarding the inadequate facilities and general state of the place (which is fair to be honest, looking as it does like it was made out of loo rolls and pipe cleaners by a blind Blue Peter presenter. With wooden hands).

Adding to his troubles is the fact that he and his aforementioned (and fish lipped) missis (Angel) are arguing over settling down and having babies and the general feeling that no one has a scooby as to what they're meant to be 'researching'.

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The contents of my kitchen
drawer yesterday.

“We need results, people!” shouts Olsen at Vera, a particularly big chinned babe in pigtails (star of Hammerhead Sharkman and less charismatic Tara Reid lookalike Muller) as he leaves for the 'institute' to try to raise some cash (and probably wash his hair) whilst faceless extras 'Don' and 'Jake' head outside 'to fix the relay'. As you probably guessed the mismatched pair are munched by sharks (well, by sharks I mean a heady mix of scratchy shark stock footage, a shiny plastic shark nose and leftover CGI shark stuff from Shark Attack 3) within minutes of leaving the base, causing the crew to start screaming and shouting "Are you all right Don? Are you all right Jake?" for about half an hour, getting louder and snottier nosed every time.

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"Is it Giro day?"

God knows how long it took this pair to get ready and then get eaten, but by the time we cut back to Olsen he's in a car driving around Boston whilst his bosses tell him about the Don and Jake incident on the phone and before you have time to catch your breath he's on a submarine commanded by the Dentist himself, Corbin Bernsen and heading back towards the base.

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"Taxi for Schubert!"

Scarily, back at the Oshona, Vanessa Angel is still on the radio shouting "Are you all right Don? Are you all right Jake?" whilst watching bits of grue and wet suit float past the monitor screens so just to make sure they're dead she decides to head outside to take a look for herself. Within minutes she too is attacked by a shark but, partly thru' luck but mainly due to second billing in the title credits manages to stab it in the face and return to the base.

If the idea that the sharks seem to be hunting in packs (and growling) isn't enough to scare the shite out of the scientists then the fact that they decide to attack the power and life support cables connecting our merry band to the surface definitely is. All they can do is hope Olsen can reach them in time.

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Meanwhile on the surface, the supply boat (that I forgot to mention, sorry) is having trouble of it's own; every time they send a diver down to repair the cables a shark eats them and things get worse when a coastguard plane arrives to help. It's attacked by an obviously raging shark causing one of it's crew to fall into the water and get gobbled up!

Down below tensions are rising, stoat faced, rubber mouthed Harvey (Van Bilderbeek) the chubby 'cockernee'/Scots guy/Welsh mechanic is being very cowardly and shouting about not wanting to die whilst Vera is complaining about not being married. Vanessa Angel is standing about pouting, trying to maintain calm whilst a cat faced woman and a bearded scientist hum and ahh a lot in the background.

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"Cor bleedeen bliamany an' starn de
craws eet's ah rargeeng shoirk, boyo!"

On a sunny Bermudan beach a handful of holidaymakers are suddenly attacked by the sharks (this bares no relation to the rest of the movie and will not be returned to) in a frenzy of plastic snouts, rubber arms and cardboard fins whilst an offshore news crew find they've bitten off more than they can chew when one of the beasts appears to ram their boat and explode!

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Yes, the effects are really this shit.

Somewhere else a doctor is performing an autopsy on a shark and is surprised to discover some bright orange crystals inside it's tummy. Could this be related to the outbreak of shark rage? (umm...yes).

Back aboard Corbin's sub, Dr. Olsen is determined to make it back to his wife but is having trouble with a scary 'government investigator' that has been assigned to him. Cue many "You're not following standard procedure" and "My wife is over there Goddamit!" confrontations as the pair swim over to the base. The investigator stops to take photo's and is almost eaten only to be saved by Olsen, tho' I've no idea why.

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“Damn magnetic spikes!”

Everything is going to hell over at Oshona now that Vera has noticed the “Damn magnetic spikes!” on her computer screen and everyone has realised that 'the relay' is still broken. Vanessa is bugging Harvey to go repair it, using the argument that it's possibly a suicide mission so she doesn't want her hubbie to have to do the job.

Harvey, perfectly reasonably tells her where to go and storms off to get pissed whilst the other crew members tut at him for refusing to swim into certain death, leaving Olsen and some French guy (who's sons sixth birthday it is) to venture out in the mini-sub to the relay and put extra cash in the meter or something.

Can you guess who's going to die?

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Frenchman in mah mooth!

Everything seems to be going to plan when sharks attack the sub and kill Frenchie, leaving Olsen no choice but to get Captain Bernsen to fire a torpedo at his location, hopefully killing the (raging) sharks but leaving him unscathed. Back on Oshona tho' things have gotten even worse (if that's at all possible) when government guy reveals himself to be a 'black ops' bad man with insider knowledge of the orange crystals and shark rage.
You see, it appears that the alien bin was carrying special space fuel and now that the sharks have eaten some of it their intelligence has shot thru' the roof causing them to work as a team to protect it at any cost! (and no, I didn't see that one coming).

His mission is to salvage the bin and kill anyone who knows about it (which no-one did till he told them).

Will Olsen survive the torpedo blast and get back to rescue his wife and kill the bad man? Will Captain Corbin stop sweating and drinking coffee? Will the sharks eat Harvey when he tries to escape in (another) mini-sub whilst singing 'Blow The Man Down'? and will logic (and physics) be thrown to the wind at the movies climax when the force of the base imploding throws the survivors clear of the wreckage and up to the surface?

Notorious big animal and stock footage obsessed filmmaker Danny (Shark Attack 1-3, Octopus 1-2, Spiders, Alien Hunter....basically all the hits) Lerner delivers a genre classic almost matching his masterpiece Shark Attack 3.

The scripts bizarro mix of aliens, mad sharks and special forces action is a fairly straightforward romp only spoiled by plot holes so large that as the film approaches its climax you begin to think that the whole thing is about to collapse around the casts ears but Learners bullish determination pulls the whole thing off with aplomb.

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His choice of stock footage is almost as entertaining as the film itself; with cars and houses visible when the sea plane lands on the 'ocean' and deep sea shark attacks that show the creatures breaking thru' the waves to footage from his previous hits. Whilst it's nowhere near Raptor quality (famously cobbled together by Roger Corman from three existing films and re-employing key actors to reprise their roles) it does come close at some points.

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In his ten year career spanning over seventy (!) movies, Lerner appears to have learned nothing about film making except that all you need is action, a big monster, a (kinda) famous face and a few explosions to guarantee a hit.

And who are we to argue with him?

In equal measures arse numbingly awful and a work of utmost genius, this is the kinda movie the zed grade was made for.


Anonymous said...

LOL! Loving your work Ashton!
I recall whilst watching the "Raging sharks" movie that I kept expecting 1-Rover-1 and 7-zark-7 to appear through the window of the Oshona base :)
Why couldn't they all get in the minsub and drive to shore in the first place? I need to know!! Did hair man take the keys with him to Boston?

JimmyMc said...

Haha mate. That is a brilliant review. I had the misfortune of seeing this bollocks on TV last night and had to Google it to see if it was meant to be a comedy or not.

Just one thing, the Frenchman was meant to be Italian... I think.

The other bloke with the terrible hybrid of accents made it for me. Seriously, where was he supposed to be from?