Monday, December 10, 2012

#847. Dinoshark (2010)

Directed By: Kevin O'Neill

Starring: Eric Balfour, Iva Hasperger, Aarón Díaz

Tag line: "Fear What's Just Below the Surface"

Trivia: Producer Roger Corman plays a supporting role in this film

Like a fine wine, the films of producer Roger Corman improve with age. Movies such as Piranha and Humanoids from the Deep, considered exploitation trash by many critics back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, have, over the years, evolved into genre classics. Only time will tell if 2010’s Dinoshark, one of several recent films Corman co-produced with his wife, Julie, for the Syfy cable network, reaches the same lofty heights as its predecessors.

But as for the “here and now”, Dinoshark straddles the line between entertaining schlock and utter suckfest.

Thanks to global warming, a huge chunk of Alaskan glacier comes crashing down, releasing tadpole-sized creatures, which had been frozen in the ice since prehistoric times, into the surrounding waters. After a few years, one of these living, breathing fossils, which looks like a cross between a Tyrannosaurus and a shark, has both grown to enormous size and migrated all the way to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where it starts snacking on tourists and locals alike. One of the creatures’ first victims is Rita (Christina Nicole), a close friend of the film’s hero, Trace McGraw (Eric Balfour), who then makes it his mission to destroy this freak of nature. Naturally, nobody believes there’s an ancient monster in the area, so the only two people willing to help Trace are Carol Brubaker (Iva Hasperger), a scientist / water polo coach, and Paleontologist Dr. Frank Reeves (played by Corman himself). But how can they defeat a primordial beast with skin as thick as armor?

Like many of these Syfy channel movies, Dinoshark is story-weak and CGI-heavy. Admittedly, some scenes work, including our first glimpse of the monster, when it attacks a boater (Gary Tunnicliffe) off the coast of Alaska. The sequence is fairly suspenseful, and the slo-mo view of the dinoshark about to strike was just cheesy enough to bring a smile to my face. Once the action shifts to Mexico, there are plenty of bikini-clad babes to divert our attention away from the flimsy plot, and I have to say I enjoyed seeing Roger Corman play a significant role in one of his films. That said, the scenes where the characters are left on their own, to talk to each other, are painful as shit to sit through. Also, the more we see the dinoshark, the less convincing it looks. I understand Dinoshark was made on the cheap, and its computer-generated effects were going to suffer as a result. But with that being the case, why show the monster so damn often?

Twenty years from now, Dinoshark (along with the plethora of other Syfy channel originals) could very well attain the status of a cult classic, a movie respected and adored by hundreds of thousands of genre fans. Who knows? I myself might even like Dinoshark by then. Just don’t expect me to watch it again before that time.

In fact, if it does happen, I’m kinda hoping it takes thirty years for people to come around.

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