Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hammerhead: Shark Frenzy / Sharkman (USA, 2005)

(Trailer) Available in Europe on DVD as Sharkman, the original title of this Nu Image abomination is Hammerhead: Shark Frenzy. One of their many low budget B-films originally made for the SciFi Channel, the flick is also one of their worst. As directed by Michael Oblowitz, whose prior credits include two 2003 Steven Seagal movies — Out for a Kill (trailer) and The Foreigner (trailer) — Sharkman offers solid evidence that the fault that the two Seagal films both flopped is not alone the blame of the overage action blimp. Going by those two films, Oblowitz’s 2001 vampire film The Breed and this cinematic wreckage, Oblowitz would be doing the low-budget film world a favor if he were to go into early retirement, for a talented director he is not.
The story was thought up by Kennith M. Badish & Boaz Davidson — the same duo behind the plotlines of the indefinitely superior Nu Image B-flicks Larva (2005/trailer), Mansquito (2005/trailer) and
Creature (2004/trailer) — but to say the plot is by-the-numbers would be inappropriate because it would infer that the film displays more creativity than it actually does. The flick not only lacks the fun, guts, and directorial and technical proficiency of the three previously mentioned Nu Image productions, but it is also boring. On the whole, Sharkman plays out like a z-version of The Most Dangerous Game (1932, remake ad nauseum) intercut with the remnants of an incomplete mutant-shark flick. Populated by stock characters, the film is a poorly acted, incoherent mess that seems to have been edited by a mentally deficient epileptic.
The plot involves the usual group of fodder — 2 blondes (Elise Muller and, seen here, Maria Ignatova), 1 brunette (Hunter Tylo) with collagen lips and a lousy haircut, 1 older company boss (Arthur Roberts), 1 faceless young dude (G.R. Johnson) and 1 overweight “real” man (William Forsythe) — that go to an island where a former employee of the boss's major medical corporation (and father of the brunette’s ex-and-dead true love) and total all-out mad doctor (Jeffrey Combs), his Igor-like assistant (Velizar Binev) and ice-bitch female colleague (Lydie Denier) supposedly have found the cure for cancer. (That all is not well on the tropic paradise island we know from the opening scene of the movie in which some yachting yuppies become shark food when they take a swim in the island's harbor. Later on during the welcome luau another swimming couple also becomes shark food, but where they even came from is never explained.) Dr. Crazy has been screwing around with stem cells and has created a half-man, half-shark monster suit — the titular sharkman — and hasn’t really invited his guests to share his discovery, but rather to revenge past wrongs by feeding his guests to his creation (who is actually his mutated son, long thought dead). The group manages to escapes, but one by one they become shark food because the sharkman can obviously teleport and turn up everywhere all the time, no matter where the given person happens to be standing or floundering. Like the infamous Dr. Moreau, Dr. Crazy decides to mate the brunette with his shark son, but the hero shows up in time and saves the day and everything goes up in a really horrendously fake CGI explosion.
Sharkman is one of those types of films in which people (who have probably never handled a machine gun in their life) pick up machine guns and shoot better than professionally trained soldiers (who, in turn, can’t hit the side of a barn), but for all the shooting, explosions and people screaming, nothing either scary or suspenseful ever happens. Filmed in Bulgaria — although the landscape seems to change indiscriminately between Pacific Northwest pine forest, European mixed forest and Hawaii tropics — when watching the film, by the end of its running time one only wishes that the film had also remained in Bulgaria. Avoid at all costs, as it is not even good for a laugh.

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