Jaws is the best film ever made. Because of this, everyone and their cousins were inspired to make a shark movie. Some were either courageous enough or stupid enough to actually get their shark movies made. There are A LOT of shark movies. In spite of all my poundin’ and hollerin’ and screamin’, I am going to watch them all. I don’t know what will be left of me afterwards.
The Flick: Shark Attack 2 (2000)
The Chum: Thorsten Kaye, Nikita Ager, Dan Metcalfe, Danny Keogh (actors), David Worth (director)
Species of Shark: Great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias)
The Meat of the Movie: They did it. They actually did it. They made a sequel to Shark Attack. A sequel that has next to nothing to do with the original film’s characters or premise. A sequel to a film that no one really cared about (except for hardcore Van Dien-ists, which there are too few of in this world). A sequel that has absolutely no reason for existing.
Sometimes, the Universe gives us such mysterious and wonderful gifts. Best not to question it.
The film kicks off with two people going wreck diving. Huh, that reminds me of the opening of Jaws 2. Well, I’m sure that’s just coincidental. Anyway, these two are sisters and one of them needs to get killed because a sibling’s death is what kicked off the last Shark Attack movie. Hooray for thematic continuity! The sister who doesn’t get chomped (her name is Samantha) manages to stab the shark in its right eye before escaping to the surface so she can weep to the heavens in a pitch perfect display of soap opera acting. She’s definitely an upgrade from Mickey Rourke in the last Shark Attack, but she does have the unfortunate countenance of an extraterrestrial Dina Meyer.
Hey, didn’t the shark in Jaws 2 also get scarred on the right side of its face? Wait a minute, was that shark roaring? Those were clearly lion roars I just heard. Hold on, all the sharks in this movie constantly roar like lions? This movie is taking a page out of Jaws: The Revenge as well? And the film has only been on for five minutes? Someone call a prospector, because we just struck gold.
We’re introduced next to Michael Francisco (only his friends call him Sanny), owner of the soon-to-open aquarium attraction Water World. Hold on, not only are you lazily riffing on SeaWorld, and not only are you doing it in a way that gives Kevin Costner post-traumatic stress flashbacks, but now you’re ripping off Jaws 3-D as well? Shark Attack 2, you’ve got the biggest, brassiest balls of any Fin Flick yet. Moving along, Sanny is apparently the Brundlefly version of Ernest Borgnine and Rutger Hauer, but with a hairpiece made from a dead tribble. He also has a subservient little toadie that I swear is the Matt Damon marionette from Team America: World Police brought to life.
They’re off to talk to Dr. Nick Harris, the head fish guy (I don’t remember if he gets a real title) at Water World. He’s not the Adonis that Casper Van Dien was, but for a steroid-infused dudebro version of Tony Danza, he’s not half bad.
Cut to two kids sitting on the edge of a dock and playing with a remote control boat. Who are they? If you’ve been following Fin Flicks, you know that kind of information isn’t important. What is important is that their boat gets attacked by One-Eye! There’s two benefits to this scene: 1) We get to see the insanely polished puppet shark head for the first time. 2) We find out that director David Worth (who has a co-directing credit on the JCVD classic Kickboxer) doesn’t mind if one of the divers operating the shark head is totally visible in the frame.
Since Sanny is our Louis Gossett Jr., he wants One-Eye to be Water World’s big attraction. Dr. Nick Harris is reluctant at first, but can’t pass up the opportunity to study a plastic shark, so he agrees. He enlists the help of two brothers, Tom and Mark, and rents their oh-so-cleverly named boat, the Wet Dream. They lure the shark in and are getting ready to tranquilize it, when Tom says, “Looks like a twelve footer!” Dr. Nick Harris responds with ,”No, this one’s sixteen.”
In less than fifteen minutes, Shark Attack 2 has managed to cram elements of every Jaws film into its narrative. This is appallingly impressive. And right after that little “homage”, we get a shot from directly behind the shark’s dorsal fin. That’s another one of Jaws 2‘s pieces you’re stealing, Shark Attack 2! Your lack of respect knows no bounds, and I’m loving you for it.
Dr. Nick Harris captures One-Eye and makes it onto the local news, which Samantha happens to see. Recognizing the shark that turned her sister into a meat smoothie, Samantha heads down to Water World to demand that the shark be destroyed. This allows her and Dr. Nick Harris to briefly cross paths, setting up the inevitable romance we’ll have to suffer through later on. That romance gets a little kick-start when Samantha breaks into the aquarium at night in an attempt to kill One-Eye. Dr. Nick Harris stops her and she explains that she was the one who gave the shark his Valhalla Rising inspired nickname. He assures her that the shark won’t hurt anybody now that it’s in the aquarium. I guess none of the filmmakers bothered to show Dr. Nick Harris Jaws 3-D.
Now it’s opening day at Water World! The montage of activity definitely brings to mind the beginning of the 4th of July celebration from Jaws. There’s even an interview with the mayor! We also get a look at the Water World gift shop (sadly, there are no fake Dennis Hopper eyes to be found), where they sell blood-stained t-shirts (!) and toys that celebrate sharks eating people. I’m starting to doubt the scientific validity of this establishment.
A bunch of patrons are gathered around the shark tank, which gives Sanny the idea to feed the shark. Too bad for the guy doing the feeding, since he doesn’t notice his foot is looped around the rope that’s attached to the bait. After a futile attempt at escape, he decides to give the onlookers his best Shelby Overman impersonation.
One-Eye makes use of the pandemonium by escaping from Water World, but not before Dr. Nick Harris can tag him with a tracking device. During this escape, there is a shot of the shark that I believe is a miniature toy-sized version. I can’t confirm this, but take a look and judge for yourself.
Because Sanny is a big jerkwad, he blames Dr. Nick Harris for what happened and gives him the boot. In order to catch the shark, Sanny hires a stereotypical Australian named Roy Bishop. This guy is obviously a thinly veiled Steve Irwin spoof, as he’s some kind of minor celebrity with his own show on the Discovery Channel. His entrance has him riding into the harbor, standing at the tip of the bow like a figurehead.
I hate this guy.
He hands out autographs and says they’re “worth a lot of money”, and he immediately lays into Dr. Nick Harris when he’s told by Sanny that Dr. Nick Harris was the one who let One-Eye get free. Fuck this Paul Hogan wannabe.
Samantha and Dr. Nick Harris head out to sea and use their tracking device to locate One-Eye. When Samantha pulls out the shotgun to kill One-Eye, she somehow falls into the water. I think we’re led to believe that One-Eye bumped into the boat and caused her to fall in, but in reality, she just leaned over the side of the boat and dove in. It looks wonderfully dumb.
Well, Dr. Nick Harris saves her and that means she’s now officially in love with him. The boat seems to have been damaged during One-Eye’s bumping assault, so they have to get towed back to harbor. And who shows up to tow them? That twatmuffin Roy Bishop. He laughs at their predicament and I keep my fingers crossed that he ends up in the Best Meal category of this article.
Before the plot continues, we get a filler scene of Samantha dreaming about great white stock footage. She wakes up screaming for her sister. Seems like that would have been a good opportunity to use some film of the sister. I guess they couldn’t do that, since it wasn’t in a Jaws movie.
Have no fear, lovers of Jaws ripoffs, as the next scene is Roy showing off a shark he caught and proclaiming it to be One-Eye. But, the fact is that the bite radius on this animal is different than the wounds on the victim. …Er, I mean, there isn’t a tracking device on the shark. Samantha and Dr. Rick Harris go to the Wet Dream for another trip out to find One-Eye, but are told that the boat still needs work done and won’t be ready until that night. Plus, Mark and Tom are getting ready for the big surfing competition tomorrow. I don’t foresee that event being a sharkless affair.
So, with some time to kill, Samantha and Dr. Rick Harris begin their romance with a Limburger cheesy montage of a date. They feed some squirrels, play soccer with some local kids, and Dr. Nick Harris even does a spit-take when some cannons go off… somewhere? All of this is set to a song that sounds like a Daniel Johnston attempt at a Whitney Houston number.
Once we’ve dealt with that, they end their date by taking the Wet Dream out to find One-Eye. That Dr. Nick Harris is one romantic bastard. They find him in an underwater cave, so Dr. Nick Harris sends down a robot camera that he “borrowed” from Water World before he left. The footage from the camera shows them a whole bunch of great whites are hanging out together. …What? I thought we were just dealing with One-Eye, but it seems like there’s a school of sharks. And just so that it can cover all of its ripoff bases, One-Eye eats the camera and we see it on a monitor, just like when the mako sharks in Deep Blue Sea take out the cameras in their pens. Bravo, Shark Attack 2. Bravo.
Dr. Nick Harris visits his scientist buddy that still works at Water World (he’s been around at other points during the movie, but he only exists for this one scene, so I haven’t felt the need to mention him), and here’s where we get our info dump. The sharks are overly aggressive because… they’re the offspring of the sharks from the first Shark Attack. I just… I don’t even know what… How would they… Fuck it, next scene.
The surfing competition is about to get underway, so we get another 4th of July on Amity Island type montage of joyous happenings. Dr. Nick Harris is on the shore with his tracking device monitor thingy, while Roy Bishop is headed out to the shark cave to get some footage for his show. He and his two buddies get into some shark cages. Cages go into the water. Sharks are in the water. A few chews later and Roy is minus two buddies.
Back on shore, Dr. Nick Harris’ tracking device monitor thingy starts beeping, meaning One-Eye is near. It’s here where we get the most egregious Jaws ripoff: they do a dolly zoom on Dr. Nick Harris (like Spielberg did when Chief Brody sees Alex Kintner getting killed) and the score turns into a stripped down version of John Williams’ theme. Shark Attack 2 continues to flabbergast me with its blatant disregard for originality.
It’s in this sequence that Shark Attack 2 gives us our greatest gifts yet. Surfers get killed left and right, and most of time it’s two sharks doing the deed. One of those surfers is Mark, while his brother Tom manages to survive, but with one of his legs chomped off. There’s some fun blood spurting and fake shark head stuff in this scene, but the real highlight is when Dr. Nick Harris rams a jet ski into One-Eye. This doesn’t do anything except piss One-Eye off. As Dr. Nick Harris makes his way back to his jet-ski, this happens:
Besides the ridiculous way in which One-Eye propels himself out of the water, I adore the fact that you can see the tip of the fake shark head’s snout in the water just behind Dr. Nick Harris. It’s sitting there, waiting patiently for the director to tell it when to launch itself upwards. That’s the kind of visual flub that endears a movie to me.
With his Aussie buddies dead and gone, Roy realizes what an ass he’s been and decides to team up with Samantha and Dr. Nick Harris. After some science mumbo-jumbo on how to attract the sharks to one place and blow them up, Samantha and Dr. Nick Harris have one of the corniest sex scenes ever. They’re in a pool and they are surrounded by what has to be at least fifty candles. Their attempts at simulated thrusting looks like Dr. Nick Harris is bouncing Samantha on his knee. The dubbed moans are the right kind of atrocious, and we get this face from Dr. Nick Harris, which I am certain is going to pop up in my nightmares.
With that unpleasantness out of the way, we’re off to the climax. In the middle of explaining how the bomb their going to set off works, Roy pulls out a specially modified Glock that can fire underwater. We have now been promised some kind of underwater gunplay. YES.
Roy and Dr. Nick Harris go down to set up the bomb, but their submersible gets trashed by the sharks. In the midst of this attack, Roy’s dumb ass accidently hits the timer on the bomb. For reasons of dramatic tension, the timer can’t be stopped once it’s started. Samantha dives down to help them out, and that’s when Roy decides to pilot the damaged submersible into the cave by himself. He achieves this, but also gets his arm bitten in the process. That makes him drop the underwater Glock. Oh, it’s coming.
The shark drags Roy into the cave while Samantha and Dr. Nick Harris make their escape. Hey, don’t forget about One-Eye! He tries to leave the cave, so Samantha attracts him by banging a rock against another rock. Whatever, because what matters is that Dr. Nick Harris picks up that underwater Glock. Just as One-Eye is about to send Samantha to meet her sister, we get this:
Movie’s over. No denouement required. Nothing is gonna top that.
For those of you who must know, the bomb goes off and kills all of Dr. Craven’s shark babies. Roy pulls a Mario Van Peebles and floats back to the surface, wounded but alive. He describes how he got away in his usual dickish fashion, Dr. Nick Harris and Samantha hug and the credits roll.
Best Meal: I’m going to go with the entire surfing competition massacre. So many guys get double teamed by great whites! That doesn’t mean what you think it means.
How the Shark Gets Sushi-ed: Most of them get blown up by the underwater bomb, but how do you top One-Eye getting shot in the head with a Glock execution style?
The Mindless Eating Machine: The most copious use (and reuse) of live-action shark footage yet, some of the shiniest shark puppets ever, what I swear is a toy-sized shark in one scene, a few real dead sharks (I’m not liking this trend), and CGI that makes the first Metal Gear Solid game looks photo-realistic.
Shark Stupidity: Besides the non-stop roaring, the fact that these sharks are the offspring of the sharks from the first film is one of those stupid sequel things that just irks me for no real reason. And I know this is a low budget production, but they could have spent a little extra dough making the shark puppets not look so obviously plastic.
Hilarity Factor: Herculean. Great bad acting, spotty dubbing, stupid dialogue and some of the best doofy sharks this column has yet to see makes Shark Attack 2 a top contender in this category.
Sink or Swim?: Shark Attack 2 is a surefire Swim. A lot of that has to do with its unabashed shamelessness, which at first seems like a turn-off but eventually becomes part of the film’s mentally deficient charm. It really does feel like a ten-year-old made a movie immediately after binge watching all four Jaws films with a Deep Blue Sea chaser. The goofs and all around production value make for great unintentional laughs, and the movie manages to stay silly even when it stumbles into its more boring sequences. As far as Fin Flicks is concerned, I’d say this is my favorite entry since The Last Shark.
Next Time: You know, I’m really wired. What do you say I… take you home and watch Shark Attack 3: Megalodon?
previous Fin Flicks