Double your pleasure, double your fun: “Two-Headed Shark Attack”

February 14, 2012

The Asylum really set the bar high with Two-Headed Shark Attack. Well, maybe not high, per se, but they certainly raised some expectations. I mean, what’s better than one giant, pissed-off man-eating shark? Two giant, pissed-off man-eating sharks, right? Yeah, well, but slightly less awesome, yet still very cool is a two-headed shark! Scratch that, a two-headed shark is actually cooler, because there are so many dramatic possibilities. I mean, just think of all the things that could possibly be done with a giant, pissed-off, two-headed shark…

I mean, the obvious idea that leaps to mind is kind of a Pinky and the Brain scenario, where one head is, like, really smart and the other one is a dumb brute. And they could swim around, and the smart head would be like, “Aha! We will lure the foolish humans into the deeper waters, where out speed and strength will be our advantage!” and the dumb head will be like, “Growr! Me wanna eat!” And, like, maybe the smart head would have a David Niven mustache, while the dumb head would have—I dunno—maybe a stubbly beard, like Don Johnson in  Miami Vice or a mullet. And when they’re not eating people they bicker over what music to listen to, because the smart head wants to listen to Bach, and the dumb head wants to listen to Tony Keith…or the smart head wants to listen to NPR and the dumb head wants to listen to Rush Limbaugh. You see where I’m going here.

Or, better yet, they could be like bickering twenty-somethings…only they’ve got kind of an Odd Couple thing going. Then they could be all like, “Dude, lets attack that fishing boat and eat everyone on it while it’s sinking!” “Naw, man, I’m almost done with this level of HALO!” “Dude, you gotta get some exercise, man. Come run thus ultra-marathon with me.” “No way, dude, I got these Swedish chicks coming over. I met them at the coffee shop. I told them we were pilots, so follow my lead.”  “I don’t want to pretend I’m a pilot! That’s asinine! We’re clearly a two-headed shark!” And the other head is like, “Dude, don’t cock-block me. Hook a brother up. I got little captain’s hats and everything. It makes perfect sense. Two heads. Pilot and co-pilot. But I get the blonde one. Cool?” You know, and there’s all sorts of wacky misadventures they get into. They could be like Jerry Lewis and Tony Curtis in Boeing, Boeing.

The one on the left even kind of looks like Tony...with less Brylcream.

Even better, one head could, like, an old, racist white dude. And the other one is a black NFL player. And they’d be all like, “Stop calling me boy!” And: “You don’t tell me what to do! Go back to your ghetto!” “Well, you go back to your mansion, cracker! Black power!” Then: “No! I’ll have none of your revolutionary speak, you welfare-queen!” And then they have to go through kind of a Defiant Ones-type journey while they attack boats and eat swimmers.

Yeah, I guess that last one doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny, does it?

Alas, we got none of this. What we got instead was a pretty standard and small-scale thriller in which a bunch of rock-stupid protagonists get picked off two-by-two by a double-headed shark. Frankly, it’s disappointing.

Yes, practical effects are so much better than CGI.

The set-up is goofy enough: We got a yacht filled with community college students on a practical exercise for their sailing class. The captain is played by Charlie O’Connell (he was in Sliders, and…uh….well, you know Jerry O’Connell? Charlie’s like his spare). Anyway, Chuck is so blithely gung-ho that it’s hard not conclude that he’s mildly retarded or suffered some sort of head-trauma or something. In one scene, he and his students find a hole in the ground, and he announces, “It could be a post hole! We’re off to a great start, you guys!” Safe to say Professor Chuck probably grades on a wicked curve.

The students are pretty idiotic bunch that all act like they’re desperate to land a gig on next season’s The Real World. The only ones of note is a juicehead, Situation-wannabe (holy crap, is there any sadder description possible in the English language?) who broadcasts his evilness by wearing a perpetually-popped collar. Then there’s a geeky Indian dude who’s really smart (is that a racist sterotype? Something tells me it is, but I’m not sure), and a feisty one played by Brooke Hogan (aka Hulk’s shameful crush). The rest of them are pretty much interchangeable hard-bodies who periodically get naked and make out with each other until the shark’s various heads get them.

And this happens, because...well, why not?

Oh yeah, and we also get Carmen Electra as…um…you know, I’m not sure. Another professor, maybe? Mostly all she does is act surly and put-out until it’s time for her to strip down to her bikini and sunbathe. Yeah, that would have been a lot cooler ten years ago before she had the puffy face and muffin-top that forces her to arch her back in every scene in a desperate attempt to conceal it.

Pictured: Anonymous shark-chow.

So, they’re cruising along, while Chuck tries to teach them how to use a sextant (whoa! Might want to start simple with this group, Prof. Like, maybe knots. Or how to tell the difference between the ocean and a car). Suddenly they come across the half-eaten corpse of a megamouth shark, which gets tangled in the yacht’s propeller and breeches the hull (because the yacht, apparently, has the seaworthiness of a cereal box). Taking on water, they decide to take a launch to a small atoll where Chuck hopes to find something that can help them repair the boat. I’m not entirely sure what it is they think they’ll find. A machine shop? A shipyard?

There's only room for one Electra in this movie...

Anyway, then the two-headed shark begins its mischief, and the group is whittled down, and stranded on the atoll. Which begins to sink, because, well, two heads doesn’t mean it can walk on land, right? Gotta put them in danger somehow. So the team has to combine their brain-power (hee hee hee) and figure a way to save themselves. In the meantime, we’re asked to believe that:

* A massive two-headed shark (at least sixty feet by the looks of it) can somehow swim undetected in waist deep water.

* The shark’s electromagnetic senses can pick up the outboard motor of a zodiac, but not the massive props of the fishing yacht.

* That scrap-metal can help them weld the breach in the hull…of the boat that the shark doesn’t see as metal.

* That a Zippo lighter that has been immersed in water for the better part of an hour will still light.

* An empty gasoline drum will explode like an M-80.

* The shark finds one guy by following the alarm on his cel phone.

* That people this mind-bogglingly stupid would be in college, and not, say, doing whippits and punching each other in the ‘nads.

* When pop-collar takes off with the boat and leaves them all to die, the only response is one character saying, “That dumbass!”

* That Brooke Hogan can and should act.

* One of the characters, upon noticing the shark’s obvious defining characteristic exclaims, “Two heads! That’s twice as many teeth!” What do you want to bet Professor Chuck would give her a B+ at least?

But the most dispiriting things is that the reason the shark has two heads is, well, just cuz. I was really hoping that at some point they’d stumble across a secret lab and a mad scientist who would exclaim, “The scientific community ridiculed me, but I’ve created the perfect killing machine!” Or explain, “It was designed to be our secret weapon in war on terror!” But, no, it’s just a mutant. Guess its mom ate too much expired tuna or something.

And that’s why Two-Headed Shark Attack fails to live up to the promise of its premise. Now tell me any of my ideas weren’t better…

One comment

  1. lol..I like your Pinky and the Brain scenario.

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