Shark In Venice (2008)

Directed By: Danny Lerner
Written By: Danny Lerner
  Les Weldon
Starring: Stephen Baldwin
  Vanessa Johansson
Shark In Venice

The title says it all and says nothing at all. There is a Shark in Venice. Unusual, yes. Exciting, no. This cinematic thrill ride is a boring, ridiculous, laughable mess that’s punctuated with pieces of action so confusing and stupid that the morbid enjoyment the audience gets from it is still no excuse for seeing Stephen Baldwin in a wetsuit.

Our everyman Baldwin is Oceanographer David Franks, and his father is dead. He’s disappeared in Venice during what the police called a propeller accident with two other divers. The boat is missing, his Dad is missing, and the other victims look suspiciously shark-bitten. Displeased by the Italian police’s dismissive reactions to his concerns, David sets about to discover what actually happened to his father. A little bit of research later and suddenly he is thrown into an insane world of the Mafia underworld, complete with shark-dodgery and King Solomon’s underwater buried treasure.

Although anyone could make this film sound thrilling, if not completely absurd, it’s exceptionally slow-paced. Opening on an extended shot of Venice, complete with cliché Italian opera music, there are many similar scenes and many more of characters standing around talking, with dialogue so dull and unimaginative you find yourself desperately hoping for an idiotic shark attack. And the attacks are completely stupid.

Every underwater assault is a montage of stock footage nicked from some cheap nature documentary, obviously shot in the ocean and then badly mixed with underwater divers yelling in fear, the occasional limb floating around and a lot of swirly, watery blood – and this is as realistic as it gets. And it gets worse. Laughably worse. You practically pray for the return of inconsistent and repeated stock footage when the CGI shark attacks start, jumping out of the water in a blur of badly rendered, poorly made effects. Shoddy and embarrassing. Yet sometimes in cheap films the acting and plot can make up for the poor effects. They don’t. They fail miserably.

Stephen Baldwin as a hero does not work – he’s a lumbering, humourless, unsexy man with no charisma and reads lines like he’s reading out a Nandos menu with great disinterest. Stephen Baldwin cannot act. There is no debate here – his unfortunately perky nipples have more personality.

The script isn’t greatly sympathetic, with baffling lines like “herein lieth the rub” when discovering something and the unintentionally hilarious “Laura, listen to me. I’m bleeding and I can’t talk”. The plot is completely insane and makes literally no sense – I don’t wish to spoil the revelations, but the reason why the sharks are in the water is so utterly bonkers it makes those snakes on a plane look like the most reasonable assassination plan in the history of mankind.

Shark In Venice is stupid – even the name is a misnomer. It is a silly idea, a terrible mess, a pointless attempt at pumping something new into the “terrifying sharks” genre. Shameless and idiotic.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

3 Comments on “Shark In Venice”

  1. miranda endersen says:

    i particularly love the fact that thay can speak underwater without the use of full faced masks, and a regulator shoved in their mouth.. ventriloquist

  2. [...] “Stephen Baldwin as a hero does not work – he’s a lumbering, humourless, unsexy man with no charisma and reads lines like he’s reading out a Nandos menu with great disinterest. Stephen Baldwin cannot act. There is no debate here – his unfortunately perky nipples have more personality.” Gorepress [...]

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