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May 15, 2005

Captured! Mako: The Jaws of Death

VICTORY OVER VHS OBLIVION! ... Sort of. My retired rental cassette looks and sounds Criterion quality compared to Legacy Entertainment's "value priced" and quite possibly mako-mauled DVD. Nevertheless, after 133 WEEKS on the lam, CineSchlock-O-Rama's Most Wanted reluctantly celebrates the capture of Mako: The Jaws of Death.

Cribbing from his own Stanley -- a flick about an angry indian in cahoots with a rattlesnake, which come to think of it, was itself a steal from the rat-revenge hit Willard -- Floridian auteur William Grefe dreams up yet another bizarro Dr. Dolittle (Richard Jaeckel) who pals around with S-H-A-R-K-S that readily chew on anyone who burns his bacon.

By the end of the picture, turns out, that's a pretty long list! Why? Well, in Key West, when they're not boozing it up at pre-hurricane soirees, it seems they rather enjoy doing mean-nasty things to these would-be maneaters. Something Jaeckel's stone-faced Sonny (Oh, the irony!) simply can't abide due to his accidental induction into the "Shark Clan" whilst ankling away from certain death in the Philippines. (Don't ask.) That and because things get personal when a crooked marine biologist comes courting Sonny's extended fin'd family -- Sammy, Matilda and their unborn brood.

But between fearsome feeding frenzies, Jaeckel jabbers with his "friends" via the trap door of his shore-side bachelor pad, tussles with CineSchlocker fave Harold "Odd Job" Sakata and moons over Jennifer Bishop's bikini-clad water mambo in a jumbo-sized aquarium behind the bar at the Rustic Inn. Take THAT Cirque du Soleil!

Besides harboring nary the slightest bit of shame about coattailing a certain other '70s sensation, this strange precursor to militant environmentalism was filmed entirely without cages or robotics, which you guessed it, means lots and lots of sharks were harmed during the making of this feature. Yep, they really don't make 'em like this anymore.

No breasts. 13 corpses. Gratuitous flashback sequence. Hurricane-hampered land and sea chase. Dumpster diving. Bang sticking. Gratuitous shark shaman. Vaudevillian standup routine (with flubbed gag.) Charlie questions Sonny's sexuality: "I wouldn't be surprised if them baby sharks don't all come out looking like him!"

4 of 5 stars

Rent It (Due to DVD quality)  Video: 0 Audio: .5 Extras: 0 Replay: 1

1976, 85 mins, Fullframe, DD mono, No extras. Regarding the cover art: What's the over/under on Legacy receiving a cease and desist order from the JAWS folks?

Posted by G. Noel Gross at May 15, 2005 6:29 PM


Ha ha! I remember this crappy JAWS knock-off. It really pissed me and my friends off because we all felt like we just got taken $3 bucks each from the movie house Jerks. I still got an angry feeling in my stomach reading this review! It was my first B-flick rip-off that I will never forget! Geez! I'm pissed!

Posted by: Joe Lee at May 20, 2005 4:11 AM

nice sh$tty review, its no wonder consumers are outraged at prices, quality and quanity. you would think the movie shirts would try and find some lost footage, interviews, outtakes, flubs, commentary etc. there are so many crappy movies just being put out for us to pay OUR hard earned money for-----and yet we do. my opinion is this: if you put out shit, you get no sales---put some effort and quality and I have no problem whipping out the money for a good representation of product.

Posted by: jh at May 20, 2005 2:02 PM

Here's a funny one for all you MAKO "fans". I was about 10 years old in 1975 (or so) when this movie came out. I was a huge JAWS fan, as it was the first movie that I really sunk my teeth into in my youth. I also happened to be the proud owner of Super 8mm sound movie projector! One day I was browsing the camera department at K-Mart and I happened upon an 8mm, 8 minute digest version of MAKO - JAWS OF DEATH! It ran about 10 minutes, was black and white, and silent with subtitles. I raced home that day, excited to get a taste of JAWS type adventure, only to discover this crappy, cheap, rip-off of JAWS. But I was determined to get some use out of the thing, so my friend and I had a magnetic audio stripe added to the silent film (rather costly in those days) and proceeded to create our own soundtrack for the movie. To this day it is one of the funniest I have ever heard. We were completely mocking MAKO-JAWS OF DEATH with a sarcasm and wit that I find unbelievable coming out of two pre-pubescent boys. We truly were ahead of our time (long before Mystery Science Theater and the like). I wish I could post a version online for all of you to see. It really is a hoot!

Posted by: Jon Blackstone at May 23, 2005 1:47 AM

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