We’re back in the realms of mad science with 2005’s “Sharkman” (the internet’s most often confused movie. It’s sometimes called “Hammerhead” and not to be confused with the apparently unavailable (believe me I tried) 2001 film “Sharkman” from which I think the poster I’ve used is taken but plenty of other sites credit this to the 2005 version so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ). This time, it’s the trusty myth that sharks don’t get cancer that’s at the heart of the drama but don’t switch off just yet – this movie puts our toothy protagonist on a different footing…
Dr Preston King (Jeffrey Combs), desperate to save his son from cancer experiments with hammerhead shark DNA but accidentally turns his son into a hybrid shark-man instead. But with great power comes great appetite and when a delegation from the pharmaceutical company sponsoring his work arrives at his island laboratory, it’s buffet time for our boy.
So, first off this has Jeffrey Combs in it so you know at least some of it is going to be watchable and so it is as he anchors the picture with a typically creepy and intense performance. Thankfully there are also some pretty good practical creature effects going on to and when we’re given a glimpse of him, the shark man is goofily scary. The practical blood and gore is pretty decent too, even as it spatters across the pantomime performances from the rest of the cast.
Regrettably, SharkMan ends up being a run-of-the-mill monster rather than a misunderstood anti-hero on his way to superherodom (when will we get a shark based good guy (not you, Shark Boy)?) but given he’s as at home on land as in the water, at least this movie has a valid excuse for the trope of hiking through forests which many other low budget shark movies seem to use to pad out the runtime.
Unlike ‘Crocodile’ Dundee, there are no native islanders to give him a cool name like Jabba-Jahda-Ah-Der-Ahd, but nevertheless, the shark who walks like a man (and has a frankly ridiculous looking tail) is a decently grimy sharksploitation flick with a gruesome spin on the whole idea. It’s a wonder this hasn’t been scooped up for a big-budget remake but, hey – who knows what barrel they’ll be scraping by the time we get to “The Meg 5”