There was a time in the 1970s when made-for-TV movies meant something. These movies would be touted as "World Premiere" movies and they would often either be based on a true story, or they would bear a striking resemblance to popular theatrical films. But, today, that trend has all but died out, although the 2005 CBS entry Spring Break Shark Attack looked as if it were bringing the genre back. However, the German TV production of Shark Attack in the Mediterranean shows that these films may be alive and well in other parts of the world.
Shark Attack in the Mediterranean takes place on the island of Mallorca, where German ex-patriate Sven Hansen (Ralf Moeller) runs a helicopter tour business. He lives with his daughter, Maja (Oona-Devi Liebich). As the story opens, Maja is assisting Fabio (Patriq Pinheiro) and Javier (Carsten Spengemann) on their boat, where they are helping tourists dive in a shark cage. Meanwhile, Sven is flying oceanographer Julia Bennet (Julia Stinsoff) to the local institute, when they get word that the divers are in trouble, as the cage is stuck on the bottom of the ocean. Once the divers are rescued, they report seeing a huge shadow in the water. The next day, a body is found near a destroyed boat, where Sven discovers a huge shark's tooth -- one which looks suspiciously like the one which was pulled from his wife's dead body two years before. Sven is then convinced that a killer shark is prowling the waters off of Mallorca, but no one will believe him. It will take more deaths to convince the others that Sven may be right, as Julia and Maja join him to find the shark.
OK, let's get one thing straight: there is nothing at all original about Shark Attack in the Mediterranean. The movie could have easily been created out of footage from Jaws, Jaws 2 (the shark attacks Sven's helicopter), and Deep Blue Sea. Sven, with his leather jacket and one-liners, is the action hero from any B-movie, and Julia is the kind of beautiful and intelligent scientists that one only seems to see in movies. (No offense to any beautiful and intelligent scientists who may be reading this.) With Sven and Julia, we get the requisite sexual tension, and with Maja and her friends, we the predictable "event which puts them in harm's way". (Instead of the regatta from Jaws 2, we have a jet-ski race.) There's even a car-chase which could have easily been lifted from a James Bond film. The third act's plot twist is somewhat unexpected, but it only takes a moment to realize that it too was lifted from another movie. And the finale? Let's just say that Roy Scheider would probably think that it looked really familiar.
While all of this probably makes Shark Attack in the Mediterranean sound terrible, here's a little secret: the movie knows that it's a rip-off and it doesn't care. This movie only wants to have fun and entertain the audience. And for the most part, it works. The movie doesn't fool around, as it starts off with a bang, and rarely become boring. The sharks appear regularly in the movie, and for a TV film, the CGI shark effects aren't bad. The movie has a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor which makes it much more palatable then if it had taken itself too seriously. The characters are fairly likable and we get two cool car-crashes. There's one thing for sure, Shark Attack in the Mediterranean is much better than most of the Sci-Fi channels stinkers. The movie can't touch the films which it is stealing from, but at least it's fun.
Shark Attack in the Mediterranean swims onto DVD courtesy of Image Entertainment. The movie has been letterboxed at 1.66:1, but the transfer is not 16 x 9. The image, which looks cramped, is fairly sharp and clear. Most of the exterior shots look very good, as the blue sky has a nice depth and shows no major grain. However, there are some grainy shots scattered throughout. I did note some minor video noise at times.
In an odd move, the Shark Attack in the Mediterranean DVD contains an English Dolby Stereo track and the original German Dolby Stereo track, but no English subtitles. So, as I don't speak German, I was forced to listen to the dubbed English track. This track sounds OK, but it still sounded like a dubbed track where the dialogue is somewhat too loud. And I hated how some characters referred to the shark as a meg-a-low-don, while others called it a mega-load-dun. That was irritating.
There are no extra features on this DVD.
Who knew that Germany had whacky made-for-TV movies? I sure didn't. Shark Attack in the Mediterranean is a shameless rip-off of many other shark movies, but that doesn't stop it from being cheesy fun.