“Shark Attack 2”, the imaginatively named follow-up to 1999’s “Shark Attack” opens, as is traditional, with an unexpected shark attack. This time it’s a pair of scuba diving sisters and only one of them makes it back alive, albeit after managing to injure her attacker. For a brief moment, I wondered if we were in for a sharky spin on “The Fugitive” as Samantha is accused of her sister’s murder and she spends the film trying to convince people it was not her, it was the one-eyed shark! Sadly no, but it does at least keep a tenuous link to the first film as it turns out the sharks now terrorising the coastline of Cape Town are the same genetically modified ones from Port Amanzi.
Dr. Nick Harris (Thorsten Kaye), a marine biologist is brought in to deal with the mutated shark menace and succeeds in capturing the shark, housing it in local theme park Water World but due to the greed of the aquarium owner, the shark manages to escape. Nick is forced to team up with Samantha (Nikita Ager) to hunt it down.
This no-name sequel immediately lowers the acting bar and although it’s still primarily relying on model work for special effects, you can see that the money they saved on casting has been spent on some rudimentary CGI. There’s still some smart use of stock footage, though.
Plot-wise, we all know since “Jaws 3” that attempting to keep a Great White in captivity never ends well and it’s “Jaws 3” that this movie is riffing on so hard and so cheaply. The script is laughably workmanlike, staggering from plot point to plot point with little time for logic or consistency. Everyone seems super-chill about people getting eaten by the shark at Water World. When an employee falls into the shark’s tank while trying to feed it, the most anybody – even the park visitors – can muster is mild concern. After the employee has been devoured, our hero Nick then decides to radio the control room to advise there’s an emergency. Lightning reflexes, buddy but unless the shark requires a toothpick, I doubt there’s much urgency left. Of course, this is just a story development to allow Michael Francisco (Danny Keough), the shady owner of Water World to scapegoat Nick and fire him.
He may be fired from Water World, but he’s still employed by the film as its hero, so he decides to go after the shark, teaming up with the vengeful sister of the movie’s first victim on her saucily monikered charter boat, the Wet Dream. But Water World’s Francisco wants his star attraction back too so he hires Discovery Channel Crocodile Hunter knock-off Roy Bishop (Dan Metcalf) to pursue them.
Thanks to an electronic tag, our hero and heroine quickly track down the errant shark, which turns and attacks the boat. Of cours, the shark roars, so if you had that on your Shark Weak bingo card, cross it off now. After tangling with the shark again the Wet Dream finds itself adrift – evidently, the shark wasn’t told that only the human cast members get to chew the scenery – and the crew has to be recused by the bigger, better Discovery Channel boat.
Unfortunately TV’s Roy Bishop is more of an IrLoser than an Irwin and manages to catch a shark but can’t confirm if it’s the same shark due it letting it get decapitated by the propeller. Our hero Nick is convinced the danger remains and goes diving at night to see if he can find the real shark (risk assessment isn’t his strong point). To his horror, he discovers an underwater cave full of mutant Great Whites – it’s a shark gang and they’re not practising jazz tap routines to take on the Jets this time.
Thanks to this gang of sharks, the local surf competition bites the big one as the mutant sharks cruise the shore like a surf ‘n’ turf buffet, causing the Mayor to lash out at Francisco who takes out his guilty rage on Roy Bishop while Dr Nick shares tales of a tiger shark attack he survived years before. No mention is made of whether he ever tangled with Mary Ellen Moffat, but he does get busy with Samantha in a brief, steamy super-softcore sexy scene.
If it sounds like the movie manages to pack a lot into its 90 minute run time, it does – even if it’s the kind of packing which means you arrive at your destination with your clothes all wrinkled and your sun tan lotion having leaked all over your books. A frenetic underwater showdown with the shark gang ends with IrLoser Roy staging the most improbable survival since Mario van Peebles bobbed to the surface in “Jaws: The Revenge”.
Despite the wooden cast and rip off plotting, “Shark Attack 2” actually ends up being kind of a better movie than its predecessor. It’s still hammy and incredibly dumb but it’s also pretty good fun.