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Aquatic anger-management: “Raging Sharks”

October 18, 2011

Scary Movie Month continues with Raging Sharks. Raging Sharks. Whoa! How awesome is that title? Answer: ASS-LOADS of awesome, that’s how awesome it is. I mean, how do you pass up a movie with that title? Raging Sharks. Sharks that are raging. What are they raging against? The Machine? The Man? Wall Street CEOs? The dying of the light? Dunno, but the only thing we do from this title is that they are enraged, and thus holds the promise of B-movie goodness. Sharks are badass enough, but pissed-off sharks? Damn, that’s a straight shot of awesome sauce right there. Just pure, B-movie, chompy-chompy goodness.

Once this movie kicks off, we know right away that we’re in good hands. It begins in outer space, with some aliens speaking alien gibberish, while a massive spaceship heads toward their own craft. Sharks and aliens? My cup runneth  over! What next? Green Orion women doing yoga to “Lady Marmalade?”  Okay, that doesn’t happen (hey, but ca-ching! Found my new happy place), but the ships do collide and some sort of pod plummets to Earth, ripping through a fishing vessel, and the two of them plummet to the briny depths of the Bermuda Triangle.

aliens

“Try to avoid the big blue thing…No, you’re heading right for it! Goddammit!

Next we cut to Oshona, a manned research base on the ocean floor. Oshona is run by Dr. Mike Olsen, who’s played by Corin Nemec. Yeah, Parker Lewis himself. Now, I’m not a fan of Nemec. I’ve always found him kind of smug, kind of glib, and in serious need of being worked over by a bar full of irate Harley Davidson enthusiasts. Still, he’s in this movie, so that’s kind of punishment enough, plus now that he’s aged, he just looks like that douche college professor that shows up at campus parties and macks on freshmen chicks.

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“Yeah, I play in a band.”

Whoops, sorry. Tangent. Anyway, Dr. Mike runs Oshona with his wife, Linda. Linda is played by Vanessa Angel, who used to be the cyber-genie in the TV series Weird Science—a role that catapulted her to the upper rungs of list of “Chicks I Want to Live on My Island and Bear My UberChildren” in 1994 (it’s a long-term hobby for when I become rich and crazy). And I gotta say, time has treated her better than it did Kelly LeBrock (Hey, Vanessa, you’re back on the list…it’s  a living document, and you just took the space vacated by Shirley Manson).

Okay, so we got those two plus a couple hottie scientists and some surly mechanics. As the movie begins, they’re all grousing since Oshona’s buget has been cut back so much that they can barely do their work anymore (one of the hotties complains that they’re using 1980s technology…as she sits in front of a high-rez video display, which kind of suggests she wasn’t alive in the ‘80s, or old enough to have ever used a Trash-80 computer.) In a private moment, Linda and Mike gently argue over whether they want to continue this work, or ditch it and start a family someplace on dry land. Linda likes the former, Mike the latter. Who cares? There are no sharks in this scene.

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Pictured: A dude hitting above his weight.

Well, Mike heads topside to try and drum up some financial support. Shortly after he leaves, the Oshona crew notices and increasing number of sharks outside the facility. At the same time, one of the other scientists discovers some odd orange pebbles inside some of the “samples” they bring in (samples of what? I dunno. Hell, it’s not even clear what Oshona studies. Who cares, anyway?) Then a couple guys go outside the facility to repair some stuff and all hell breaks loose. And when I say “all hell,” I mean—you know it—raging sharks! First they gobble down the divers, then they trash the Oshona by clubbing it real hard with their conical snouts and biting through the umbilicals, leaving it nearly powerless and losing air fast.

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“Ha! You’re boned!”

Mike hears about it and rushes back. The Navy gives him a ride on a nuclear sub skippered by Captain Riley (Corbin Bernsen, playing role with the weariness of a man whose career has come to Raging Sharks). Along the way, Mike is harassed  by some federal bigwig named Stiles (a surprisingly good Todd Jensen), who claims to be investigating Mike for a negligence suit for letting the Oshona deteriorate into such crappy shape.

While those two bicker en route to the sealab, them sharks, they a-ragin’. First, one of them sinks a yacht bearing a local news crew (okay, no big loss there), then a couple more go to town on a Bermuda beach, gobbling down a bunch of swimmers.  Man, these sharks are raging!

So, once the sub gets to Oshona they realize they have no way to dock, so Mike and Stiles go aboard using a DSRV. They find the place trashed and the air low. Yeah, we knew that already. But they also find the crew (with the exception of Linda) on the verge of a total freak-out and blaming Mike for their predicament. This seems kind of unfair. I mean, he didn’t cause the raging sharks, after all.

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“Hi.”

Well, things turn into an Assault of Precinct 13 scenario with sharks. One of the mechanics freaks and tries to steal the DSRV, but the raging sharks make short work of that. At the same time, Mike goes outside to try and fix some stuff, only to be swarmed by sharks. Mike calls the sub and tells them to launch a torpedo at his position (!!!), which magically doesn’t kill him, but scatters the swarm of raging sharks. Along the way, Mike notices the alien capsule filled with glowing orange pebbles. Weird, right? First raging sharks, now this.

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Behold the Coast Guard’s elite aerial team!

Mike gets back onboard, but the capsule seems to be emitting some kind of EM disturbance that begins to mess up the sub’s systems. Any by mess up, I mean, “trashes it as thoroughly as the USS Enterprise when it met up with Ricardo Montalban”. To make matters worse, Stiles finally shows his true colors—and a handy MP-5 submachine gun—because no one named “Stiles” has ever been a good guy. Ever. Yeah, he’s a black ops agent for MAJIC-12, and he got sent from Area 51 to track down the alien pebbles, which are a source of cold-fusion. And now he has to kill everyone aboard Oshona, because…well, he’s not terribly clear on that point. What the hell, he’s named Stiles. He’s gotta be evil.

So now, it basically turns into a Friday the 13th movie…only with Jason backed by a posse of raging sharks. Stiles makes short work of all the non-essential characters (a waste of some perfectly-good, and clothed, hotties, really), and then chases Linda and Mark through the rapidly-flooding Oshona.  Naturally, love conquers all—well, it conquers Stiles anyway (love and a spear-gun), and Linda and Mike settle in to drown in each other’s arms. It’s a actually a surprisingly tender scene.

Ha! But just when we’re about to lose all hope, the aliens return to recover their pod, and save Mike and Linda by giving them some scuba gear (???). The two catch up to the sub (now moving flank speed, I should add) and pound on its, uh, door. Captain Riley lets them in, and they realize that the sharks were just protecting the aliens’ stash. It all ends happily with humanity continuing to be reliant on poisonous and politically-compromising fossil fuels, but our two leads safe and sound.

I’m not sure I would trade energy dependence for Corin Nemec. Vanessa Angel….well, maybe.

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Yeah, I would.

But what else is awesome about this movie? The sheer oblivious badness of it. Consider:

* A good 70% of this movie consists of stock-footage culled from Shark Week, other B-movies, and…I’m pretty sure those aliens were stolen from the Independence Day prop warehouse.

* When the Coast Guard sends aircraft, the best the filmmakers can come up with is a little pontoon plane that looks like Indiana Jones should be dangling off its wing while angry natives throw spears at him.

* The US sub is never the same kind of boat in any two establishing shots. Once it even becomes a Russian Alfa-class attack sub.

* When the (ahem) Coast Guard plane lands on the ocean, deep inside the Bermuda Triangle, the shoreline (with some nice lake houses) is clearly visible behind it.

* In one scene we see a shark being dissected by two scientists…only we never see them, just hear their voices on the soundtrack.  Man, that must have saved a ton of cash.

* Everyone can speak underwater, despite having regulators in their mouths.

*The sharks growl, snarl, and roar. Yep, an animal with no vocal chords—that’s just how hard they rage.

So, that there’s Raging Sharks. Pissed off Great Whites snarfing people down like a nacho platter at Chilis, UFOs, Aliens, and Vanessa Angel. You can do a lot worse.

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