If the concept of a movie about a shark-octopus hybrid doesn’t make you smile, then may I respectfully suggest you get your head examined. Sharktopus is the stuff of B-movie heaven, and it will doubtless come as little surprise to learn that it comes from the Syfy channel stable, the home of such modern-day trash as Dinoshark, Mega Snake and Mega Piranha.
As with Syfy’s other output, everything you need to know about Sharktopus is in the title. A scientific/military experiment to create the perfect water-based killing machine, the shark-octopus hybrid is a genetically-engineered beast that could just prove the US Navy’s winning ticket. Unless things go wrong and the Sharktopus goes AWOL.
Can you guess what happens next? Yes, the creature waves goodbye to its creators during a test demonstration and all hell breaks loose as it feels a bit peckish. Can Blue Water, the group behind the monster, bring it back safely? Can the Navy or police stop it from killing innocent civilians? Could the director possibly fit in any more shots of tanned women in increasingly skimpy bathing suits?
Baywatch has nothing on Sharktopus, where the lingering shots of bikini-clad women account for roughly half the movie. The other half is reserved for sequences of Sharktopus killing people, mainly the aforementioned bikini-clad women. The plot, such as it is, is basic, sure, but then what do you expect from a film with a title like this?
Similarly, the truly appalling acting witnessed here would typically come in for a rough critical ride, but it’s important to review this with context in mind. The best film I can think of to compare this with is Mega Snake, a film I reviewed for this very site back in 2008. While that film was, even on its own terms, dull, Sharktopus fares far better, partly by virtue of the scantily-clad women, partly due to some faintly amusing one-liners, and partly thanks to the inclusion of the mighty Eric Roberts.
Roberts’ performance is solid, almost too solid for a TV movie. Indeed, he is so far ahead of the other actors in the production, he makes them look even worse than they are, which is phenomenally bad. It’s not just that they are wooden. It’s not even that half the time many of them look like they just want to get the hell out of there. It’s that throughout the film you get the nagging feeling that you could do a far better job than the lot of them, Roberts aside.
Mind you, the script doesn’t help matters much. Lines like “You just unleashed an eight-legged, man-eating shark on the world” and “I think it’s against the law to jog in Mexico” would prove problematic for some of Hollywood’s finest.
But none of that matters, as this is a TV B-movie, full of actors so desperate to get in front of the camera that they’ll appear in any old tosh. Thank goodness for the Syfy channel.
The special effects, on the other hand, are actually pretty admirable. Blood splatters on the camera, in an admittedly unsuccessful attempt to replicate 3D on a budget, and the Sharktopus itself is, well, alright, it’s pretty naff, but it’s a significant improvement on Mega Snake. Some of the kills are quite imaginative, too, with a very amusing bungee death standing out, in particular.
Is Sharktopus a good film? Not really, no. Is it a fun film? Absolutely, and for that reason alone, it’s worth a look. And if you’re still not sure, you really need to read that title back again. Sharktopus. A shark crossed with an octopus. What more do you want?