Make no mistake, this is the movie Jason Statham’s forthcoming “Meg” needs to beat. “Shark Attack 3” completely ignores the previous two films (returning cast member Jenny McShane plays a completely different character) and moves the action from South Africa to Mexico. Ariba! This time out our biggest ‘name’ is John Barrowman. Ay ay ay, dios mio!
When a colossal shark’s tooth is discovered off the Mexican coast by lifeguard Ben (Barrowman) during the maintenance on an important new pipeline, it confirms the worst fears of marine biologist and shark expert Cat Stone (McShane) – the most menacing predator in the history of the oceans is still alive, and feeding on anything that crosses its path.
“Shark Attack 3” contains all the ingredients we’ve come to depend on: callous corporations focussed on profits, tourist chiefs reluctant to close the beaches and an old sea dog who’ll catch the shark for ye. That John Barrowman is the least hammy and wooden actor in the film tells you everything you need to know about the rest of the cast and the quality of performances on offer. Even Barrowman’s performance is so tongue-in-cheek, it’s as if he faced a constant struggle to keep a straight face during all this nonsense. Luckily, the same cannot be said for Jenny McShane, who manages to remain impassive even in the face of one of the all-time great lines of cinema dialogue: “You know I’m really wired. What do you say I take you home and eat your pussy?”
In case that doesn’t give you a clue, “Shark Attack 3” is much raunchier than its predecessor, favouring the viewer with actual tits and ass as the director wisely recognises that if he can minimise the amount of dialogue his cast have to deliver, so much the better.
What really sets it apart, though, is its special effects. The use of stock footage is ludicrously haphazard; sometimes brilliant but often profoundly stupid. Although never addressed in dialogue, the unexplained Megalodon is remarkably Protean, changing size, sex and occasionally species with alarming frequency and some decent model work early on is ruined by a spectacularly hilarious dice and splice digital editing in the finale.
I say ruined, but it’s not really true. This is bad shark movie elevated to a high art form, the Platonic ideal of Shark Weak. Thanks to Barrowman (at his most Barrowmany) and his fellow actors, this prehistoric predator pantomime is never boring and never makes a lick of sense either. It’s so bad, it smashes right through the bottom of the scoring, circumnavigates the globe and ends up back somewhere at the middle. The existence of “Shark Attack 3: Megalodon” is a blessing, a curse and a miracle. It needs to be seen to be disbelieved.