Current world events have created the paradox in which I’m ready for this month to be over while hoping it never ends–primarily because it’s shark month on the blog. If anything can distract you from a global pandemic, it’s the familiar sight of a fin cutting through the water and the inevitable bloody thrashing. RIP, all of those who overacted in minor roles as shark attack victims. It’s the last film of Shark Month, so let’s enjoy those committed performances while we can.
A small town sheriff attempts to save unsuspecting locals from a shark living in Lake Tahoe.
In a small town on the edge of Lake Tahoe, there are shady dealings aplenty. Included is some kind of exotic animal smuggling operation that petty criminal Clint Gray (played by Dolph Lundgren who couldn’t be bothered to read the script, probably) has gotten mixed up in. When his place is busted by the law, Clint gets caught up in a high-speed chase, which ends with his van in the lake. Does the van also happen to contain a bull shark that was meant for a local mobster? I mean, duh.
On the night Clint is arrested by sheriff Meredith Hernandez, his young daughter will presumably become a ward of the state. However, feeling a connection with the little girl, Meredith somehow manages to adopt her or become her legal guardian or something along those lines? Look, I won’t claim to understand the adoption process on any level, but this feels doomed to fail if this kind of thing is typically allowed.
Five years later, Clint is released from prison, which has Meredith freaking out. Though Clint is determined to leave his old life behind, it’s going to take more than a low thrill fight scene to keep the mob off his back. Concerned about Clint’s criminal record, Meredith has every intention of keeping him as far away from his daughter, Carly, as possible.
If that weren’t enough to keep Meredith busy, there seems to be a bear on the loose that has attacked and killed a man at the lake. Or could it be…something else?
Clearly it’s a shark causing trouble at the lake–if this film’s title weren’t enough to clue you in, the “well, actually…” guy at the bar puts on his oddly specific bear facts face and dazzles Meredith with his brilliance. He has a PhD, just so you know. And the kind of person who brags about having a PhD about 8 seconds after you meet them is obviously a winner. However, Dr. It’s Not a Bear does manage to help Meredith reach the conclusion that, against all odds, the culprit behind the attacks is a bull shark. How is this possible? Apparently bull sharks are the rare species that can adapt to the level of salinity in their surroundings.
Unfortunately, this conclusion arrives too late for an unlucky couple of parasailers, who suffer a shark attack just as Meredith arrives with the instructions for everyone to clear out of the lake.
Meanwhile, a smarmy British shark expert arrives, proposing to solve the town’s shark problem as long as he can turn the results into his own personal reality show. This ends approximately as well as you’d imagine, though the film recorded does reveal there are not one, but three sharks living in the lake; the bull shark released 5 years ago was pregnant with 2 pups.
The drama really ramps up when Meredith’s mother nearly becomes a victim of the shark after the family’s dog makes a dash for the lake. So, yeah, this does prove that a dog really can help make you more active, but at what cost? Carly is kind of an idiot and uses this as an opportunity to find her father and enjoy some quality bonding time.
It doesn’t take much for the cops to leap to the assumption that Clint has kidnapped his daughter and intends to flee to Canada with her (even though Mexico would be significantly closer). Clint takes off on his boat to bring Carly home, with Meredith in pursuit in a dinky little speedboat. What could possibly go wrong? And will the situation call for Clint to actually haul off and punch a shark in the nose?
2/5 Pink Panther Heads
I would like a written apology from the marketing team for this film, which features Dolph Lundgren prominently in all of the posters, trailers, and credits. Honestly, Dolph gets very little screen time, and his character feels almost tacked on to the main plot of the film.
And let’s talk about the “main plot” while we’re at it–god, is it a mess. This film isn’t really a shark film so much as a police procedural; an incredibly stupid police procedural. Not only are the writing and the plot really stupid, but the police themselves are so stupid that you could reasonably expect them to rush into the lake, commanding the sharks to freeze in their eagerness to make an arrest. The cops spend a significant amount of the film assuming they’re looking for a bear (and congratulating themselves for catching it) based on absolutely no evidence. And Meredith legitimately has a conversation in which she accuses the shark of being evil. Like…I honestly don’t know what to say? Hopefully she’s a vegetarian or Meredith is going to have a serious reckoning with herself about the nature of evil when she thinks about all of the cows she’s killed.
Things I still don’t understand after giving this film a reasonable amount of attention while viewing:
- how/why Meredith had custody of Carly in the first place
- what the mafia actually does in this town besides bitch about never receiving the shipments of live sharks they were promised
- what the fuck the mafia is going to do with live sharks (and if the answer is feed snitches to them, why did we not get to see this???)
- why Clint didn’t tell the police about the whole sharks in the lake thing earlier; surely there’s some sort of anonymous hotline he could’ve used?
- why the sharks haven’t been chomping on human legs for the entirety of the past 5 years
- what Clint’s relationship with the mafia is/was
- whether Clint has any interest in actually seeing his daughter because of all the toxic masculinity/macho bullshit his character is made of
However, I will give this film credit for giving us a rather satisfying fight scene between Dolph Lundgren and a shark. You do have to wait for it, though. And suffer through the line “We cleaned up the lake and the street.”