You’ve just gotta love Sci-Fi Network. Or SyFy . . . or whatever the heck they call themselves now. They keep churning out these fantastically, gloriously awful cheesefests – singlehandedly keeping the home-MST3K tradition alive. Supergator, Dinocroc, Megashark vs Giant Octopus – each of them exhilarating garbage, reveling in over-the-top gleefulness. Fans began to ask SyFy and Roger Corman (who’s helped produce many of them) for specific animal/monster combinations. And along came… Sharktopus.
It’s just awful. It’s so delightfully bad that it almost makes me feel sorry for anyone who unknowingly picks it up and expects anything remotely resembling a decent film. All of the acting is painful to watch – but it’s not really the actors’ faults – their characters are one-dimensional: cute, virginal, and brilliant scientist’s daughter; greedy drunken scientist played with a disappointing lack of scenery showmanship by Eric the Roberts; and some dude who’s there to make “SERIOUS FACE” to hilarious effect. Oh and he takes his shirt off. A lot. I mean really, if there’s some sort of Tourette’s-like condition where a person compulsively removes their shirt from one minute to the next – this fucker’s got it. I guarantee his shirt (or lack thereof) will become the source of a drinking game – if it isn’t one already.
Where was I? Oh yeah, who gives a crap about the people anyway? Nobody – so let’s focus on what we’re really interested here, and that’s the half-shark, half-octopus gentically engineered “security device” known as “S10.” I’m guessing the “S” is for Sharktopus, but Mr. Science never calls him that. Pity. Is the freakish mutant all he’s cracked up to be? Oh yeah – in all the worst ways. He may be made of shark and octopus DNA, but somehow he can walk and breathe on-land too – making him a farcical creature of fairly legendary proportions. His tentacles double as poison-tipped spears, and if that’s not good enough for you, he roars. That’s right – Sharktopus roars. The bellowing slimy-limbed monster rampages pretty darn successfully around a Mexican coast while a scientist tries to re-wrangle his pet project with the help of his daughter and a hero with a past. He chomps a respectable number of people in an amusing way – including my favorite attack on land, where he hangs out on a pier overhang cooing like a baby dino whose found a toy.
If I have a gripe – it’s the same one I have for all of the SyFy B-films: Not enough of the monsters and occasionally half-assed CGI. We expect the script to be bad, the acting to be subpar, and the plot to be gossamer-thin. But they’re making tons of money off these trifles and it’d be nice to see them sink a little more of that cash into more scenes of outrageous mayhem. Sharktopus seems to have more than Megashark did, but it’s still not enough. Then again, maybe that’s part of the charm – we keep hoping that the next one will have just a little bit more substance, and they’ll keep teasing us with these happy little bites. Worth it.
So what’s up next for SyFy? Get ready for… Piranhaconda!