Directed by Declan O'Brien, probably best known for Wrong Turn 3: Left For Dead, 2010's Sharktopus is another in the seemingly endless line of SyFy Channel originals in which two different beasties are sort of mixed together into one formidable creature. In this case, as the title implies, it's a shark-octopus combo and it wrecks havoc just as you'd want it to.
When the movie beings we learn that the United States military has been tinkering with biology in order to create something to help them win the war against the drug smugglers that are coming into the country from south of the border. Their idea is to create a sharktopus that they can control with a fancy remote, which seems like a great plan until this creature escapes and swims up and down the Mexican coast line eating people and trashing anything that gets in its way - oh, and the remote breaks.
Thankfully the inventory of this creature, Nathan Sands (Eric Roberts), is on hand to try and stop it, with some help from his hot daughter, Nicole (Sara Malakul Lane). The military kinda-sorta help them out but mostly it's up to the two of them to bring in this creature before it's too late. Look for the film's producer, the legendary Roger Corman, in a small supporting role as a beach bum who witnesses firsthand the full fury of the sharktopus' powers.
It's a good thing that the people who made Sharktopus are more interested in having fun than in making what most of us would consider to be a good movie, because it's not possible even for an instant to take any this seriously. Thankfully, we're not asked to. Instead, we're given a very basic plot set up and then, once that's out of the way with, treated to a series of increasingly ridiculous set pieces in which the titular monster does his thing. Most of the victims are 'beautiful people,' be they male or female they're all in great shape and frequently lounging around on the beach just waiting to get chomped up. And they do. The monster, however, is even less believable than the victims, rendered almost entirely in some of the worst CGI you've seen in a long time. In fact, there are parts where they CGI effects are so bad that you might think they're unfinished.
As far as the acting goes, no one here is really working too hard. Roberts does his thing with enough enthusiasm to pass but he's hardly unaware of the kind of film he's in and as such his performance never really impresses. The rest of the cast tend to waver back and forth between horribly overdoing it (the finale being a pretty good example) or playing to stereotypes and clichés - in short, like the writers, they're taking the easy way out here. Corman's cameo is a fun one, however, and while it might seem like novelty casting to put him in the movie, at least he looks the part and does add a good laugh to the movie where it needs it.
Sharktopus, really, is cinematic junk food of the highest order. It's the filmed equivalent of a White Castle burger - slimy, made fast and cheap, and probably rather damaging to your health, but it tastes good when you've had a few beers and don't feel like exerting any effort to feed yourself.
Sharktopus arrives on DVD for review in unfinished format. The anamorphic widescreen image is bugged and obviously doesn't represent finished product. If finished product is sent for review, we'll update this piece then - until that happens, we can't really comment on the video quality.
The English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track was fine. There weren't any problems with hiss or distortion or level fluctuation evident during playback. Dialogue stays clean and clear and is always easy enough to follow. There are no alternate language tracks or subtitle options provide on the test disc.
The test disc doesn't even contain a proper menu screen, let alone a single extra feature.
Sharktopus is marginally entertaining, but it's hard to recommend it based on the unfinished test disc. The movie itself is goofy - but you knew that based on the title alone - though some creative, if poorly rendered monster attack sequences make it more fun than it really has any right to be. A classic? No, not even close, but a passable time killer if you enjoy big, dumb creature features. Emphasis on dumb.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.