The latest collaboration between the SyFy Channel and legendary B-movie movie mogul Roger Corman, Dinoshark was first shown on the cable channel a few months back and now lives again thanks to the magic of home video. When the film begins we learn how a thawing glacier unleashes a few prehistoric creatures known as Dinosharks who have been frozen in said glacier for countless centuries. A few years later, these baby Dinosharks are now full grown man-eating monsters heading south through the Pacific Ocean towards Mexico.
Arriving in Mexico around the same time is a tough guy named Trace McGraw (Eric Balfour) who has taken a job working on his friend's boat. Expecting to arrive and live the good life, enjoying the scenery and all that Mexico has to offer, McGraw is in pretty good spirits initially - but his outlook soon sours when he witnesses the death of two workers when they're attacked by a massive prehistoric monster. When the Dinoshark makes it personal by eating one of McGraw's closest friends, he decides to hunt down the creature and kill it before it can kill again. He won't be able to do this alone, however, so he enlists the aid of a scientist named Carol (Iva Hasperger), who is as beautiful as she is brilliant and for some reason works for a creepy horny guy who runs a hotel. Conveniently enough, Carol knows an actual Dinoshark expert named Dr. Frank Reeves (Roger Corman) - she found him on the internet, you see - and so she brings him onboard too, and before you know it the three are off to stops these horrible beasts from decimating the Mexican coastline.
Made fast and cheap in the grand Corman tradition, Dinoshark isn't subtle, clever or really very good but it knows what it wants to do, and that's entertain - on that level, it succeeds. It's full of massive plot holes (would a marine biology expert really try and trap a shark with pontoons?) and completely implausible characters and situations and it basically telegraphs an attack by proceeding each one with a few seconds of ominous music, but that doesn't matter. This is a movie called Dinoshark and it delivers exactly what you'd expect it to - a weird looking CGI monster attacking people and eating boats and taking out guys on jet skis. Honestly, when dealing with a film like this, there's not a whole lot more that matters. The film isn't original (it's almost a remake of Sharktopus made for SyFy last year) it doesn't need to be - the formula it follows is tried and true and proven entertainment.
As far as the acting goes, Eric Balfour isn't exactly the most charismatic guy and he tends to spend more time arguing with the guys in the Harbor Patrol than dealing with the Dinoshark problem, but he looks the part I guess if you don't love the guy, you don't hate him either. Iva Hasperger is actually given a fair bit more to do than top billed Balfour and she's fun to look at which takes some of the sting out of the fact that her performance is wooden. Throw in Corman himself as the wise old man of the group and if this isn't a trio that will go down in cinematic history, we've at least got a passable cast to kill some time with.
You don't watch Dinoshark for the acting though, you watch it for the monster attack sequences. We get those, and a little bit of moderate post attack gore effects too. Not meant to be taken in the least bit seriously, Dinoshark is big dumb fun.
Dinoshark looks good in this AVC encoded 1080p 1.78.1 widescreen transfer from Anchor Bay. The hokey digital effects stick out like a sore thumb here but that's the way the movie was made and not an issue with the disc itself. Colors are nice and bright and bold and well defined and black levels tend to be pretty strong as well. Flesh tones look a little bit warmer than they should but this probably has to do with the way it was shot. There aren't any problems with compression artifacts or edge enhancement issues but some scenes do look a bit on the flat side. For a low budget made for TV movie, however, the picture quality is pretty good.
The only audio option on the disc is a Dolby True 5.1 mix in English. No alternate language dubs are supplied though subtitles are provided in English and Spanish. The lossless surround mix here is a fun one, with plenty of directional effects used throughout to highlight the ridiculousness of it all. Levels are usually well balanced but there are some spots where the effects are pumped up in the mix, intentionally we can assume, so be prepared for that occasional attempt at a jump scare. Dialogue is clean and clear and problem free and the score sounds decent as well, demonstrating good depth and offering reasonably strong bass response.
The only extra of any substance on this disc is a commentary track from producer Roger Corman, his wife and co-producer Julie Corman, and the film's director, Kevin O'Neil. This is actually a fun listen, with Corman delivering some interesting stories about his time in the trenches and explaining how he came on board to work with the SyFy channel on this and a few other movies awhile back. O'Neil discusses the slightly more technical side of thing and notes his appreciation for the efforts of his cast and crew while Julie tends to talk more about her husband's involvement than her own. Moderator Perry Martin does a good job of keeping the three on target and the track moves at a good pace.
Aside from that, look for an HD trailer for Dinoshark, animated menus and chapter stops.
Dinoshark is just as dumb as you'd expect it to be but as far as mindless entertainment goes, well, it definitely delivers. With all the bad acting, goofy CGI and plot holes you could want from something like this, it's far from a modern classic but it does at least make for a fun time killer. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray release isn't stacked with extras but it does offer up a good commentary and presents the film in decent quality. If you saw it on SyFy and loved it, pick it up, otherwise it's a fun rental.
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.