Born in Antarctica, Dinoshark noses his way down the warmer currents to Mexico, towards a popular vacation spot crowded with party-goers unwittingly ready to fall prey to a prehistoric eating machine. When the killings begin, it becomes clear that no normal animal can be responsible for such savagery.
Local captain Trace McGraw (Eric Balfour – “24”, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Skyline) and marine biologist Carol (Iva Hasperger – “CSI”, “Cold Case”) seem to be the only ones convinced that the creature terrorizing their shores is something other than the expected man-eating shark. They enlist the help of the world’s only expert on the Dinoshark (Roger Corman himself). Together, will they be able to reel Dinoshark in?
Dinoshark is the story of a terrifying sea-creature that threatens to turn a holiday swim into a bloodbath. This fierce, finned predator has to be seen to be believed: if he will let you live that long!
With his career resurgence, of sorts, due to the blossoming of the SyFy channel creature feature, producing legend Roger Corman has added some memorable feature films to his already lengthy, storied career. In fact, his return to the "spotlight," as it were, comes at the perfect time, as his classic features have found a new generation of viewers with the Shout! Factory DVD and Blu-ray lines dedicated to his more prominent works. Now, not only can viewers visit history and see many future stars in low budget exploitation fare produced before they were famous, they can also watch completely talentless casts and crews, who probably worked for minimum wage, reminding us that in today's Hollywood, there is no way to get talented performers on no-budget fare.
With 'Dinoshark', not only did we learn that the biggest name that could be scraped up was Eric Balfour, we also found out that even the creature monstrosities that had any talent or screen presence wanted nothing to do with the production. When Corman was told no by even the talentless Giant Octopus, the film should have been stopped dead in its tracks. Unfortunately, that was not the case. See, the Mexican Puerto Vallarta setting was already in place from 'Sharktopus', and all of the cast rejects from that instant classic were tied up in the film, promised a whopping eight dollars and some odd cents and hour. In a last ditch effort, the origin behind Mega Shark was utilized, and we were given a twist on the creature: this time, the prehistoric shark killing machine, unfrozen due to Global Warming after 150 million years, had the head of a T-rex.
So, for those of you keeping track: shark head with octopus body? Good, very good. Shark body with T-rex head? Bad, very bad. The poor shark that was cut in half to create these two creatures? Dead, very dead.
The plot? There is none. 'Dinoshark' was written on a cocktail napkin one evening, and when director Kevin O'Neill ran out of toilet paper*? You know where this is going. So, after that horrible mistake, everyone had to improvise. Balfour, known for his rugged good looks, apparently isn't known for his improvisational abilities, as his character, Trace McGraw, apparently didn't realize that with a name like that, a career in country music was a must, talent be damned. So he instead works on a boat, in Mexico. And, for some reason, he has a group of friends (like Iva Hasperger as Carol Brubaker) who he sometimes runs around with. We're never quite sure what commonality they have, until they have one shoved in their face: Dinoshark. Now, their only hope to avenge the death of some of their crew is to enlist the help of Dr. Frank Reeves (Corman), the world's only Dinoshark expert.
There is no reason that 'Dinoshark' should have been this bad. Even with no budget, a script that got flushed down a toilet*, and talent that isn't even good enough to play a pile of corpses, this film should have been entertaining as can be, solely due to the fact that these films are best when there is no plot, just extended kill setups, a variety of ways to perform said kills, and a memorable finale. You could throw in quite literally anything, for a minute at a time, so long as we knew the scene would result in a fun or funny death scene, and all would be forgiven. There's just none of that here. 'Dinoshark' tries to play it serious, and that mistake is strikes one, two, and three for the film.
The opening kill sequence tells us the entire story: boring, boring, boring. There's no imaginative slaughters. No real group kills. No guilty pleasures or ridiculous attacks. Even the would-be piece de resistance, two teams of teenage girls playing water polo, is botched. Kills have no heart or humor to them. It's just dorsal fin, bite, swallow, blood plume, and done. Over. And over. It's ridiculous, that a film featuring a creature hybrid can't even create a single fun kill in the entire runtime, with that being the entire purpose of the film!
Audiences will be astounded by how a supposedly large creature can appear in the shallowest of waters. They'll also wonder how the Dinoshark can be big enough to swallow entire boats, at times, then barely big enough to get its mouth around a single person. Eventually, they'll give up, as the disconnect grows too strong. Characters make no sense (for example, Brubaker takes her top off in one scene, revealing her undergarments, in the middle of dialogue, for no reason whatsoever), and the worst offenders don't die. See, there's another big problem with the film: the eye candy dies too fast, and we're left with the worst actors and characters. How is that fair? How is it fair that a film that has ratings limitations, that prevents real bloody carnage, gruesome shots, language, or nudity can't even give us that much?! 'Dinoshark', I wanted to love you..but you wouldn't let me.
*For the record, I have been told that a script did, indeed, exist for this film. I just cannot believe it, based off what was seen on screen. I believe this to be an elaborate cover story created solely so that some people could get screenwriting credits, and the checks that come with them.
"I bet he has a view to die for!"
I'm jealous of the above referenced person, as for ninety minutes, I only had a view to kill because of. Anchor Bay's 1080p AVC MPEG-4 encode for 'Dinoshark' is random and messy, irritatingly messy. The picture can be startlingly sharp and clear, with amazing depth one moment, flat and beyond soft another, ridiculously grainy the next, bright soon after, then dull and dark after that. There is no rhyme or reason to the randomness of the picture, it's just a constant shift between aesthetics that can take you right out of the film. Noise can splatter the entire picture, while skin tones are affected constantly, changing between cuts. I loved how the edges looked on this release, and the sharp, deep moments were to die for, but the random low grade footage interspersed throughout this flick is just too damn much.
What would inconsistent video be without inconsistent audio? The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track for 'Dinoshark' is a thing of beauty, in that it really doesn't know what the hell it wants to be. Bass pops up in the opening credits, then disappears entirely. Rears get constant activity throughout the film, and tons of ambience, but it can shut off at random times. Dialogue is crystal clear and accurate, all located in the front channels, but one has to question the dynamics of the scene when words are right in front of your face the entire time, with the same volume and clarity, throughout. Sadly, gunfire has no pop, no bass, and can be overpowered by a tap dancing six year old girl. There's no powerful roars, no strong splashes, no volume spikes (no loud moments at all, really), just a film stuck at one level, refusing to do anything but just chill. The last thing I want to hear on a Blu-ray is the audio just relaxing.
'Dinoshark' is a disappointment. Fans of the genre get absolutely nothing special or unique, as this uninspired feature goes through the motions, pretending to understand what it is, despite being the opposite. No good kills. No good characters. No good humor. This is just no good. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray is average, at best, with frustrating presentation qualities, and in terms of extras, there's just a track featuring the man behind the disappointment. If you liked 'Sharktopus', you won't like its inferior little brother. With the release date coming just a day after my 30th birthday, I was hoping for something more. This is almost as bad as the time I got a big ass can of olives.