With a title like this, how could you not be curious on what B movie specialists The Asylum have done?
Monster fight movies are not exactly original, as we all know Godzilla has possibly fought more opponents then the average WWE wrestler. So what happens when a massive shark and an equally huge octopus take a dislike to each other and also, the human race as well,? Let’s see, shall we….?
Whilst on a routine underwater expedition in the Antarctic, marine biologist Emma MacNeil can’t believe her eyes when she thinks she sees the aforementioned creatures frozen in ice. Returning to land, Emma is called to a beach where a whale has been washed up on a beach, half eaten and looking rather gross. Emma retrieves a pointed object from the whale and takes it home for analysis. Unfortunately, due to her escapades in the ocean, she is relieved of her duties and goes home. Conveniently, her old professor turns up and they discover that the sharp object is a tooth belonging to a prehistoric shark.
On the other side of the world, Japan to be precise, an oil rig is attacked by the giant octopus. The Japanese are concerned, so with shark-like attacks happening in the States, top scientist Dr. Shimada flies to America to see what can be done.
Emma is played by 80s pop star Debbie (Deborah) Gibson. Now many of you may not remember he,r but she did have a very successful career with songs like Electric Youth and I actually saw her in Grease on stage in London. Now there is no doubt she can sing, but can she act? In the context of a cheesy monster flick, she holds her own. I can’t really accept her as a top marine biologist, but she seems to be enjoying the proceedings and takes the material reasonably seriously.
Saying that, can you take a giant shark and octopus movie seriously? Playing her old professor is character actor Sean Lawlor who can count Braveheart and Bergerac amongst his credits. Lawlor steals the film with his gruff Irish brogue and pantomime performance. Playing Dr. Shimada (who also gets a bit of loving from Ms. Gibson in the film) is Vic Chao who you may remember from 24 a couple of years ago. Finally, playing top US Military guy Baxter is tough guy actor Lorenzo Lamas from early 90s classic action series Renegade. You also may recognise him from Grease where he played Olivia Newton John’s jock boyfriend; you know, the fellow with the long white socks who hands out the yearbooks with Patty Simcox at the end (sorry. I love Grease!) Lamas clearly knows the film is just plain dumb and soaks up every last bit of cringeworthy dialogue.
Now, for a film whose stars are a shark and octopus, we need to have some seriously good effects for it to work. Well, this film has them in fits and starts. The underwater sub scenes are pretty good for a low budget. Sometimes the shark looks good and then it looks like an Xbox game. The octopus generally looks alright and has a nice evil-looking eye. Some effects shots are repeated to obviously save some cash, but generally, although hokey, they do the job.
Now, onto what is possibly my favourite scene in any movie for a very long time. I shall not give too much away but suffice to say it’s over the top and totally stupid but I loved it. In fact, when I first saw it, I clapped out loud and watched it back about five times. It involves an aeroplane and that’s the only clue I shall give you. For that scene alone, I have fallen in love with this film and have watched it twice.
As is the norm, there are bloopers, trailers (including Transmorphers – The Fall Of Man) and a ‘making of’ documentary as bonus material on the disc.
Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus is gormless, unrealistic and cheesy and I adore it! For the scope and ambition of the movie, the budget obviously is a bit restricted however the ‘fun factor’ is there and it kept me more than interested for its near 90 minute running time. Hopefully, as the ending teases, we will have a sequel which, considering the interest in the movie (Google it and you’ll see) is most welcome. Looking at the rating below and the totally unfair reputation Asylum’s films gets, you may think I have lost the plot. You have to take the film in context and remember what it is: a film with big sea creatures fighting. It ain’t gonna win an Oscar but it will entertain you, if you like old fashioned schlock.
Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus is released on 19th May (R1).