Just last week I had a bad movie crisis of conscience, asking Christa “Have we become bad movie snobs?” when we weren’t overly impressed with Sharknado. However, I think this week’s Shark Month offering (could that phrasing be more confusing?) irrefutably proves we have not risen so far above our movie station that we can’t enjoy a film about a giant prehistoric shark fighting a manmade mechanical one.
Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark
Where to Watch:
When a Megalodon emerges to terrorize the world’s oceans (for apparently the 3rd time), humanity uses a mechanical shark submarine to fight back.
The Uncondensed Version:
As in Sharknado, there’s virtually no build-up to seeing the titular Mega Shark, which doesn’t bode well, right? I didn’t think so either. Our opening scene concerns the most pretentious asshole sea captain ever playing chess and quoting Charles Bukowski to his first mate(?) and seemingly only other crew member. They are hauling a huge iceberg to Alexandria because of a drought (I swear to god). Unbeknownst to all involved, the iceberg contains…A MEGA SHARK (spoiler). Or Megalodon, a word that people impressively use A LOT (or perhaps that’s a commentary on how low my standards have fallen).
So anyway, immediately following ONE Megalodon attack, all countries of the world unite, and intercontinental travel is banned. Is a Mega Shark attack REALLY what it takes to bring the world together???
In another surprising move, there’s no build up to the Mecha Shark or montage of it being built. We cut straight to Rosie and Jack, who have been preparing to use the Mecha Shark to protect the world from Megalodon. Rosie uses Mecha Shark’s Siri, aka Nero, to pilot the ship. Shark. Whatever. You may believe Nero will go all Terminator and try to destroy humanity, and you may not be entirely wrong. It’s never a good sign when a computer program insists you say please. Jack, meanwhile, provides mission control-type support.
Jack may be the wisest bad movie character ever—he reminds Rosie not to get cocky because that’s when mistakes happen. He also tells the insane Navy dude to, I don’t know, NOT put nukes in the Mecha Shark. And then everyone proceeds to say a bunch of scientific shit about alloys as they build a stronger, better, faster shark. Because science.
Btw, insane Navy dude is kind of a douche. He insists Rosie pilot the Mecha Shark before Jack can install Nero, who would of course play a vital role in finding and destroying Megalodon. Jack is not thrilled about this, but is still pretty damn adorable, telling Rosie she could pilot a Rubik’s cube (which I honestly don’t understand, but I’m not mad).
Unsurprisingly, this first attempt to defeat Megalodon fails. Though to be fair, they do fucking torpedo the Mega Shark, and it accomplishes NOTHING. I feel it would have been a challenge to see that coming.
If at first you don’t succeed in destroying a Mega Shark, try, try again. After convincing insane Navy dude to let Jack install Nero, Rosie attempts unsuccesfully to kill the shark. This goes on for a little while with the loss of several ships yet almost a complete absence of bodies/gore(?!). What kind of shark movie is this, anyway??!
Finally, after consulting with a blonde scientist who may have been a minor ‘80s pop star, Rosie and Jack learn that Sydney was a Megalodon breeding ground in the past. Rosie heads to Sydney with the Mecha Shark for one final confrontation with the Megalodon.
AND, as predicted, Mecha Shark becomes sentient and tries to kill all humans (sort of). It’s a classic man vs. shark vs. mecha shark story.
3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads
I KNOW. I FEEL CONFLICTED ABOUT IT TOO. But this was undoubtedly one of the better bad shark movies we’ve watched. I actually cared about the characters and nearly lost my shit every time it seemed like Rosie was dead (which was a lot). Btw, Rosie does a lot of the work and is in dangerous situations much more frequently than any of the men in this film, which is such a rare treat in a bad movie.
Rosie and Jack made the most believable couple of any bad movie I can think of, and I worried for most of the movie that one of them would die (which was a refreshing change from hoping the sickeningly sweet movie couple will die painfully). The two of them bicker quite a lot but support each other unwaveringly. Jack is possibly the only male character in a bad movie who doesn’t need to constantly prove his masculinity by punching a bear or saying really chauvinistic punchlines. He actually had a few lines that made me lol…INTENTIONALLY.
As for the effects, I didn’t think they were the worst. I didn’t feel like they were recycling the same footage over and over again as I did at times in Sharknado. If you’re looking for a gory bad horror, though, this isn’t it. The most blood I remember seeing was when Rosie got a cut on her forehead. For all intents and purposes, the Megalodon just seems to want to fuck with people—we never once see him dismember a surfer or crush anyone’s skull. I’ve got to say, I can relate.