B-movie actor Eric Roberts stars as Nathan Sands who works for Blue Water Corporation, which specializes in genetics engineering. He has created a biological weapon known as S-11, a giant shark/octopus hybrid. During maneuvers off the coast of Santa Monica, California, the sharktopus has an accident with a speedboat, resulting in damage to the remote control device that controls its behavior. The sharktopus escapes its handlers and begins a killing spree on the West Coast from Santa Monica down to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
The film's director, the legendary Roger Corman, is the king of copycat, low budget thrillers. According to the commentary, Syfy gave Corman only the title and he was requested to create a an entire film around it. "Sharktopus" appears to be the crest of the wave of Syfy's popular films that feature giant monsters such as Komodo dragons, boa constrictors, spiders, etc. "Sharktopus" is slightly different in that it combines two giant creatures.
"Sharktopus" is bloody, gory fun with a very high body count. Most of the film consists of the Sharktopus snatching, spearing and gobbling unsuspecting sun bathers, boaters and bungee jumpers. It's very predictable in its plot. The acting is extremely amateurish and more atrocious than most of the other creature features on Syfy. I've seen better acting at high school dramas. The aging, graying Eric Roberts mostly sits around barking orders, Kerem Bursin has bulging Pecs and washboard abs and, if you squint your eyes, Sara Malakul Lane looks a little like Shannen Doherty of "90210."
Roger Corman's earlier films such as "Piranha" and "Humanoids from the Deep" were low budget thrillers that were sometimes funny, sometimes horrifying, but were always groundbreaking and innovative for all those involved. Unfortunately, "Sharktopus" is more of an homage to all the tacky creature features that have gone before it on the Syfy Channel.
Roger Corman has a cameo appearance in "Sharktopus." He's an old beach bum who is watching a bikini-clad girl look for buried treasure using a metal detector. He doesn't bother to help the girl when the monster attacks her. Instead, after she's been dragged out to sea, he grins and helps himself to the gold coin that she uncovered from the sand. Basically, as a film director, he doesn't do much to ensure that "Sharktopus" becomes a classic. Instead, it is doomed to become another run-of-the-mill giant creature feature that Syfy has become famous for cloning.
In one particular scene, which takes place on board a yacht in Puerto Vallarta, Corman appears to be insulting his legion of fans. When radio D.J. Captain Jack hears about the sharktopus, he jokingly says that it sounds like the plot of a film. His lovely bikini-clad assistant, Stephie, claims she'd watch it. He replies that she's easily amused. He continues by saying, "I've seen you mesmerized watching a frozen burrito rotate in a microwave oven."
The Anchor Bay release for "Sharktopus" gratefully has English subtitles for the hearing impaired. It also has trailers for "Sharktopus" as well as for another silly creature feature "Dinocroc vs. Supergator." It previews the DVD for the first season of the "Walking Dead" series on AMC. Most importantly, it has an advertisement for all of Roger Corman's cult classic features that are being released on DVD and Blu-Ray from SHOUT Factory. (Corman has had quite a successful career as a film director that expands nearly fifty years.) A trailer is also provided for "Cyclops," which stars Eric Roberts.
I was surprised to learn that the DVD doesn't have any "making of" featurettes or deleted/extended scenes. There is, however, an interesting commentary from producers Roger Corman and his wife Julie Corman. Most of the film was made in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico because the scenery is beautiful and varies and it's more cost effective. Also, the Cormans have many connections there. Their daughter was in the bungee scene where the girl is gobbled up by the monster. It became the most talked about scene in the film and the movie trailer itself became a big hit on YouTube.
I can only recommend "Sharktopus" to lovers of giant creature feature films and to fans of Roger Corman. (I happen to be both.) However, I suggest that fans rent this movie before purchasing it. They may be disappointed to learn that it is not on the same caliber as the original "Piranha" or "Humanoids from the Deep." These are classics that have survived the test of time. I'm afraid that "Sharktopus" may soon be forgotten.
Joseph B. Hoyos