Sands (Eric Roberts) and his daughter Nicole have created a half-shark, half-octupus creature as a military weapon. Unfortunately, Sharktopus’ wiring goes haywire, and the creature goes on a killing spree along the Puerto Vallarta shoreline. Can Andy, who used to work for Sands, and Nicole stop Sharktopus from killing all the bikini-clad lovelies?
Vitamin B-Acting: 50%
Most of the acting from the leads is tongue-in-cheek—the actors are clearly in on the joke. Eric Roberts’ cynical, relaxed demeanor served the movie well—the character of Sands is the sort who believes that “civilian deaths are a tragedy, but it’s the price of greatness.” Roberts is the kind of actor I always enjoy watching, even in dorky movies like Best of the Best. (BTW, when I say most of the acting is “tongue-in-cheek, I don’t mean that it’s necessarily GOOD acting. The other actors sink admirably to the usual substellar level of Syfy acting.)
The other actor who obviously enjoyed her role was Liv Boughn, who played the reporter Stacy Everheart. And I’d bet $100 that the scriptwriters purposely gave the character a porny name.
Vitamin B-SFX: 95%
The sharktopus is oh so gloriously fake. Here’s a list of the awesome things it does:
--It eats a few of its victims the way we eat hotdogs.
--It snaps a woman off a bungee line, and a man off a jungle trapeze line.
--It climbs onto various beaches and buildings on the shore. We also get to see it crawl around on land.
--It takes down a yacht.
--It stabs (and sometimes beheads) its victims with steel-tipped tentacles.
I should add that its gills are adorned with spikes, and that the sharktopus honors the b-movie law requiring all sharks to growl underwater.
Vitamin Fun: 65%
The movie starts off strong, then about 35 minutes in there’s a long stretch when it drags, and then it picks up again about 20 minutes away from the end. During that slow stretch Eric Roberts stays offscreen most of the time, and there isn’t as much Sharktopus action—the best Sharktopus bits come in the first and last parts of the movie.
Even so, Asylum Films and Syfy have figured out that a good monster ups the fun in Syfy Original Movies considerably. Sharktopus is undeniably the star of the show, which makes this movie one of the more fun Syfy offerings.
There’s quite a bit of forced romantic tension between Nicole and Andy—another reason I kicked down the Vitamin Fun rating a few notches. Romance gets tedious quickly in Syfy movies, at least for me.
Also, the plot features father-daughter tension between Sands and Nicole. Nicole gets angry at Sands for leading her into an unethical project, despite the fact that she pretty much gave up her life to become a top-level scientist to please him. But all is forgiven at the end, when Sands die after Sharktopus slits his throat with a steel-tipped tentacle. (You go, Sharktopus!)
Plot Fiber: 30%
The plot’s pretty straightforward, so not as many jaw-dropping plot twists as in other Syfy flicks. Still, there are some plot elements that bear further scrutiny:
1) The whole idea of Sharktopus in the first place. Just how effective a military weapon can it be if you can just kill it with one well-placed missile?
2) Why do Nicole and Sands chase Sharktopus in a small, open-air boat with so few weapons? I get they have to keep their pursuit of Sharktopus a secret, but still, they could have gone out in a larger boat without attracting undue attention.
3) Speaking of Sands, he keeps insisting that Sharktopus “planned this ambush” and that he’s “highly intelligent.” To me this sounded a lot like the “psychic” shark from Jaws: The Revenge.
4) Like every other seabeast b-movie, the sharktopus prefers resort areas with lots of bikini babes and lusty young men.
5) A minor character named Pez Kingsberry gets one glimpse of the sharktopus early in the movie, and instantly turns into a raging alcoholic overnight. (Pez serves as Stacy Everheart’s source for the sharktopus story.) Why not just flee inland? (And is "Pez Kingsberry" another porny name?)
Pseudoscience Pill: 20%
The movie doesn’t go into the details of Sharktopus’ genetic engineering, which is kind of a shame because that really had potential for loopy pseudoscience. The most we get is that Roberts had the team tweak Sharktopus’ serotonin levels to make him more aggressive.
But the bit that raised my eyebrows concerns Sharktopus’ remote control unit. At the beginning of the film, Sharktopus sports a metal contraption on his head by which Nicole transmits electric signals that control his neural impulses. I seriously question how effective that would be in real life, though I know that implantable devices exist for controlling certain types of epilepsy.
The truly implausible part of the remote control unit is the fail-safe device though. The kill switch also depends on a remote connection, so once Sharktopus’ contraption gets broken, there’s no way to kill him! UNLESS…the characters shoot an “interface dart” that will magically avoid breaking the implanted device in Sharktopus’ head and re-establish the remote connection to the kill switch.
Likelihood of choking: 40%
Political Pill: 5%
Lip service is paid to the ethical questions behind genetic engineering, but Sharktopus usually interrupts the characters’ rants before they get too long.
Likelihood of choking: 0%
PS—Do a Google search and check out all the awesome tributes to Sharktopus imaginative fans have come up with. These two are my favorites:
|OOH--a cuddly Sharktopus!|