Roger Corman presents... 'Nuff said.
Dr. Nathan Sands (Eric Roberts) is a gifted scientist working for a major corporation called Blue Water. Dr. Sands has been commissioned by the United States Navy to create the perfect weapon.
S-11 is that perfect weapon. Is it a shark? Is it an octopus? It's a Sharktopus, baby! Sharktopus was designed to be the U.S. Navy's latest weapon in international combat. Its mission is to locate and terminate drug dealers and pirates on the high seas. Luckily, the Sharktopus has a device on its head where the scientists can control its every movement and action. However, that device somehow gets damaged during a test run and Sharktopus is free from its shackles and is no longer under the control of its human masters. It can do whatever the heck it wants and it wants to cause mayhem because this Sharktopus was injected by some kind of formula that makes it more aggressive and potent than the usual shark or octopus...
The Sharktopus is headed to the coasts of Mexico, looking to make some waves. Dr. Sands and his daughter Nicole (Sara Malakul Lane), also a gifted scientist but is constantly talked down to by her father who calls her Pumpkin, head to Mexico to try and track down the Sharktopus before the oceans turn blood red. They enlist the help of a former employee, Andy Flynn (Kerem Bursin), who after being laid off by Blue Water, is enjoying a rather luxurious life for himself in Mexico. Oh by the way, Andy has to constantly flaunt his physique by being shirtless, which I'm sure the ladies are not going to complain about. Dr. Sands and Blue Water want the Sharktopus taken alive . . . but Andy has some other ideas...
Hot on the tentacles of this creature is an intrepid reporter (Liv Boughn) who will do anything to get a breaking news story, including bribing people for leads.
Who's on the Sharktopus's menu? Everybody from tourists and casual beachgoers to beautiful girls in bikinis, jet-skiers, government agents, bungee jumpers, and fire dancers. When the sharktopus heads to the shores, the beaches -- and the resorts -- are about to become killing fields.
Sharktopus is actually not a half-bad movie. It is certainly better than most films of its ilk. It is admittedly way too predictable, especially because you can tell which characters will live to tell their story another day, and which ones will be Sharktopus meat. There are some over-the-top hilarious moments such as one early victim screaming "No! Not like this!" while he is being strangled and taken away by the Sharktopus. While I didn't have a great time watching Sharktopus, I can appreciate this film for what it is.
Sharktopus originally aired on the SyFy Channel so it's a bit toned down in terms of the more outrageous material. But the film is well paced and is seldom boring. The Sharktopus attacks are numerous. The Sharktopus kills its victims in a variety of ways including biting them in half or using its tentacles to strangle its victims or sometimes using the blades attached to its tentacles to slice or stab them. What makes the Sharktopus even more dangerous is its ability to attack while on land albeit for a limited time. It can use its tentacles to move across land, serving as a greater threat not just to beachgoers, but anyone living close to the ocean.
As this was a made-for-TV movie, the filmmakers were limited in terms of what violence they can show. Although Sharktopus has plenty of bloody moments, it isn't overly gory as to make people nauseous. Many of Sharktopus's attacks take place underwater, where we hear screams and see blood flow, but no dismemberments or anything really graphic. Then again, the TV series The Walking Dead was able to get away with showing zombies gut munching their victims in graphic detail, and the series was rated TV-14! Sharktopus is pretty tame compared to many TV series they air on cable and even network television nowadays.
The film is probably very low budget. The production values are passable though one gets the impression that there were a lot of cost cutting measures. The cinematography has a good eye for sandy beaches and blazing bikini bodies, but is otherwise unexceptional. At least Corman avoids recycling footage from his previous movies, which is a huge plus.
The special effects are almost entirely CGI-laden including the explosions, blood splatter, and Sharktopus itself. The Sharktopus actually appears menacing at times, but it tends to look a little too cartoon-like, which one could argue adds to the charm. Call me sentimental, but I miss the good old days of animatronic creatures and actors wearing rubber monster suits.
The acting is not particularly good, and is in fact pretty dreadful, even for a Z-movie. But I am going to be more lenient here because solid acting is not exactly required for a film of this caliber. While Eric Roberts doesn't have a great deal of screen time, he is given enough to do, even if his role is essentially a glorified extended cameo. But at least this isn't the case where Roberts is top billed and he appears for all of five minutes in the entire movie. He has enough of a role, even though he's more of a supporting player than the lead. Besides Roberts, I don't recognize any of the cast members except for Shandi Finnessey, who plays the engineer working for an obnoxious, sexist radio host who has been exiled from the mainland thanks to the FCC. Her acting isn't much but Shandi still looks stunning in a scorching bikini. Roger Corman has a humorous cameo as some guy walking across the beach who witnesses a girl in a bikini being devoured by the Sharktopus. His reaction to what he saw and how he responds are priceless. The acting is amateur hour, but at least the cast tried.
This film proudly revels in its cheesiness. It has its tongue firmly planted in cheek. The filmmakers don't have a chip on their shoulder here. And Roger Corman knows who his audience is and gives them what they want. The movie is inoffensive fun and it's entertaining enough to warrant a viewing on a slow rainy day.