The film opens with a baby Dinoshark swimming away from a broken chunk of Arctic glacier that calved due to global warming. Three apparently uneventful years later, the Dinoshark is a ferocious predatory adult and starts killing tourists and locals off the shores of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Our hero, Trace, is the first to notice the creature, witnessing his friend get eaten, but – as is always the way – he has trouble convincing anybody that a monster of such prehistory is still alive let alone snacking on the local populace.
Roger Corman’s (yes, him again) “Dinoshark” has a far better claim to the title “Jurassic Shark” than the ‘film’ which took the title and clearly a greater budget than whatever loose change was found down the back of a sofa plus a camcorder that was used for that travesty. I mean, this film has Eric “Skyline” Balfour in it!
Aside from the micro-budget nonsense like “Raiders Of The Lost Shark” and “Jurassic Shark”, there’s a something of a tradition for sharksploitation flicks to be thinly veiled excuses for the cast and crew to enjoy a few weeks on an exotic South American getaway. I bet the poor guys who slave away on the bargain basement CGI effects barely even get to go outside at all, let alone hit the beaches.
The film’s kind of lazily formulaic (or maybe I’ve just watched too many of these things in quick succession). In any event, it’s easy to see why director Kevin O’Neill got the nod to direct the two “Sharktopus” sequels. It was originally pitched as a sequel to “Dinocroc” but SyFy wanted a more sharky flavour so out with the crocs and in the with the sharkskin and away we go as Corman recycles much of the plot from his 1979 “Jaws” cash-in creature feature “Up from the Depths”.
It’s a little bit bloodier than usual with these films – we actually see the water turn red when people fall into the water at the slightest bump to a boat and there’s a hilariously staged half-eaten corpse which is clearly the actress half buried in sand and dressed with some offal. Digital effects wise, the film gets its money’s worth from two specific shots of the Dinoshark swimming through the water and it actually pulls off a pretty mean helicopter snatch ‘n’ munch, one of the best I’ve seen in these films.
Of course, there’s a regatta running and Trace’s warnings go unheeded until the very last second. People usually seem completely oblivious to the ineffectiveness of firing bullets into water in these movies, and here there’s the added problem that the creature is heavily armoured, foreshadowing the toothy tunnellers of “Sand Sharks”. We get a selection of the usual water sports fun kills as a paraglider and a jet skier get munched among others. The action-packed final kill is also up there – literally – as Eric Balfour attempts to takes out the Dinoshark with a mid-air grenade toss. Unfortunately, it’s not quite enough and, from the way it’s filmed, our hero ends up appearing to use a small child as a human shield against the advancing monster. Thankfully, our leading lady (Iva Hasperger) is on hand to take way more time than strictly necessary to set up a cheesy one-liner before skewering Dinoshark in the eye with a harpoon.
If you were rooting for the monster in this one – and who could blame you if you were – don’t worry too much because before the movie’s done, we revisit the still thawing glacier in time to see the release of another Dinoshark baby.
So cheesy you could top a pizza with it, “Dinoshark” really isn’t a shark movie at all, but it helped define the tropes and clichés of the bad shark movie genre so gleefully, earning it a place in Shark Weak’s line-up.