Nothing screams "Summertime!" quite like a shitty, zero budget Jaws rip-off, and tonight's review fits those criteria, even if there are no SyFy level tornadoes of sharks, zombie sharks, or three-headed shark attacks to speak of here. Just Dolph Lundgren, only thirty one years removed from his success as Ivan Drago, Rocky Balboa's formidable foe in Rocky IV (1985), and an assload of blatant, clunky cgi, just the way you fans of trash like it. Thai actress Sarah Malakul Lane is also aboard, a veteran herself of such high brow entertainment as 2010's made-for-tv Sharktopus and 2015's Cowboys vs Dinosaurs. Did I mention the aggregate of sloppy cgi already? Well, I can't stress that enough. There's cg sharks, cg wounds and blood, even cg boat wakes. Too bad they couldn't cg themselves a better product...
If his career dies, it dies.
Clint Gray (Dolph Lundgren) juggles single parenthood with a lucrative, illegal career supplying exotic species to the black market. One night while delivering a live bull shark to clients, he's set upon by the local constabulary, crashing his vehicle into a nearby lake, effectively freeing the shark into the body of water. Five years later, we see that Officer Hernandez (Sarah Malakul Lane), who was part of the raid that bagged Gray, has adopted his young daughter Carly (Lily Brooks O'Brient), and spends much of her time stressing about when Clint is released from prison and demands to see his daughter in person. Meanwhile unsuspecting lake party goers are getting chomped in shallow water (there's also the matter of frigid Lake Tahoe temperatures, but yeah, go ahead and throw that Speedo on), there are some passing shark-shaped shadows, and even a phony, impossibly oversized dorsal fin (is this a bull shark or a basking shark?), but no one can solve the murky mystery. In between flubbing her lines and delivering like a true sociopath, Hernandez enlists the help of a horny dork of a marine biologist named Peter (Michael Aaron Milligan).
Two inches lower, and I'd have given this one an extra Wop.
Once Clint gets out, he's annoyed by pesky mafioso types who demand late delivery of their shark, leading to a few brief on screen beatings for the former action star to punch his way through. Once the threat in the freshwater lake has been identified, the sheriff calls in a British fisherman-turned-television-cocksmith (James Chalke) to hunt the beast, all the while being filmed for an upcoming project. He discovers too late, that Clint's shark had been pregnant, and has delivered a pair of pups that have since grown to adulthood in the lake, and all three have worked out intricate hunting strategies when dealing with pink, fleshy things. Carly, curious as to whether her dad is nice or bad, secures his current address from his police file, and sneaks off on her bicycle to see him, while he's loading up a boat for a coming shark hunt and her mom is shooting down the advances of the ichthyologist at a bar. Things only get dumber from here, leading to a conclusion that's every bit as unsatisfying as the rest of the movie, and will have you longing for the Italian Jaws rip-offs of Joe D'Amato and Bruno Mattei before too long. At least, they're entertainingly bad.
Hyper-realism, you're doing it wrong.
I should probably mention at this point, that it took me three separate Netflix sessions to get all the way through tonight's review, and nearly four, as I almost pulled the plug again with nineteen minutes left. Never a good thing when you're calling flatline on a movie just as it's supposed to be kicking into high gear in the climax. You'll notice bits and pieces borrowed from every Spielberg cash in from Jaws II (1979) to Piranha (1978), and everything in between, if you can manage to focus your attention (translation:stay awake) long enough, that is. This isn't laughably bad, the kind of movie you and your friends can make fun of from opening credits to end titles, this is plain old insultingly bad, the kind of waste of time that leaves you angry afterwards. A single Wop might be generous in this case, but that's all it's getting from me. Avoid.
"Quick! Hand me my Russian APS underwater assault rifle!"