14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Jaws (1975) is one of my favorite films, and not just because of the fantastic and terrifying effects involving the shark, but because it's one of the most well crafted movies ever produced...the acting, the plot, script, direction, musical score, casting, the character development, attention to detail...everything came together so well...too well, as it turns out because soon afterwards, nearly everyone was churning out lame films featuring any kind of beastie you could imagine in an attempt to try and feed off the success of Spielberg's popular film, incorporating very little, if anything, that made Jaws so good, including this Mexican production entitled Tintorera (1977) aka The Silent Death aka Bloody Waters aka Tiger Shark.
Directed by the prolific René Cardona Jr., whose specialty seems to be low budget schlocky Mexican films, the film features English actress Susan George (Straw Dogs), Hugo Stiglitz (Incubo sulla città contaminata aka City of the Walking Dead), Andrés García (The Bermuda Triangle), and Fiona Lewis, who some may remember as the evil Dr. Margaret Canker from the film Innerspace (1987). As the film begins, we are presented with two men in Steven (Stiglitz) and Miguel (Garcia). Steven, who first appears as a patient in a hospital, has had some sort of stress related breakdown from working too hard, and is ordered by his doctor to take a long vacation. He ends up renting a boat off the pacific coast, near a popular Mexican resort, one where Miguel, who also appears to be on vacation, seems to be staying. Miguel is apparently a gigolo by profession, and seems to be continuing his ways at the resort, so I guess his is a working vacation. Anyway, both men end up sharing a relationship with Patricia (Lewis), but she soon gets gobbled up by a shark (in about two feet of water), and, since no one witnessed the attack, the men assume she left, and their once acrimonious relationship turns friendly, sharing the bond of both being stilted by the same woman. Miguel soon takes residence on Steven's large rented boat, and the men begin drinking, carousing with various women, and take up shark hunting. They also, in my opinion, begin developing a homoerotic relationship that's never actually shown, but certainly seemed implied. After awhile, the meet Gabriella (George), and the three develop a creepy ménage a trois...yuck...oh yeah, there's a few more shark attacks, but that's about it...
Now mind you, I wasn't expecting anything great here, but this is just a really terrible film. I will say there are some nicely shot underwater scenes, but that's about it...even those scenes will probably end up putting off some viewers, as many real sharks were harmed in the production of this film. They really seemed to have no problem in killing off all sorts of sea life in the progression of the story. I have no love of sharks, but seeing them senselessly slaughtered again and again kinda turned my stomach. And wait until you get to the part when they gut a defenseless sea turtle...yuck...I guess fake sharks were more expensive than real sharks. The direction is really bad, as the Cardona has no concept of transitioning from one scene to another. One minute you're watching a particular scene, and then POOF!, you're watching another, completely unrelated scene, and you're left trying to figure out what the heck is going on...after awhile, I did manage to put some of the pieces together, but ultimately the jarring effect only served to take me out of the film. There was absolutely no tension throughout, even when I knew a shark attack was imminent. The film has the look of a pornographic movie from the 70's, one where they took out the hardcore sex scenes and tried, unsuccessfully, to incorporate the element of the shark. The acting was on par of what you'd expect to see in a Mexican soap opera (I'm sure Mexicans put out some wonderful shows, but their soap operas are even more atrocious than those in the US), and the dialogue is even worse. The characters spew out the most inane lines, but this does provide some unintentional humor. There is a good amount of nudity, both of the male and female kind, but it was all gratuitous as it served no purpose other than to offer weak titillation to very bored viewers. The plot is incredibly lame, and plods along at a snails pace, as this particular version has an excruciatingly long run time of just over two hours (I do believe there are a few versions out there, with shorter running times, but lucky me, this seems to be the original, uncut version). And then there's the odd and less than appropriate, completely annoying musical score...disco music and killer sharks just do not mix.
Being the 25th Anniversary Edition, one might expect something special with this release. Well, you'll probably disappointed...the full screen print used here looks probably about as good as what you'd see on a used VHS copy. The picture has visible flaws throughout, most involving damage due to age and deterioration. It's not terrible, but certainly noticeable. The dialog is mostly in Spanish, with a lesser mix of English. There are English subtitles available, but when you have that feature turned on, you also get Spanish subtitles when the characters are speaking English. What is the point of that? I suppose if you are watching the film with a group of people, some only speaking English and some who only speak Spanish, it is useful, but if not, it just seems moronic. As far as special features, there are brief biographies and selected filmographies (no listing of this film in there, oddly enough) of the director and some of the talent, along with a few trailers for films I've never heard of, as I believe they're all low budget Mexican productions.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
It looks like we're finally seeing the works of famed Mexican director Rene Cardona, Jr. arrive on DVD. Such an event gives horror/exploitation fans the world over reason to cheer--or let out a huge raspberry as a show of defiance. Cardona burst on the scene back in 1964 with the smash hit "El Raspado" before moving on to a career in rancid, cheese infested exploitation fare like "The Night of a Thousand Cats," "Cyclone," "The Bermuda Triangle," and "Guyana: Crime of the Century." Cardona had a knack for assembling recognizable talent from the United States and Europe, putting them in truly dreadful pictures, and then sitting back and waiting for the pesos to roll in. I suspect he saw precious few pesos if the two movies I've seen are any indication. After sitting through the tasteless account of the Jim Jones massacre followed closely followed up with the two-hour plus cerebral novocaine that is "Tintorera," I'm thinking about heading down to Old Mexico for a refund. But, alas, such will not happen. Director Cardona passed away in 2003. One hopes that he spends his time in purgatory watching his films on a perpetual loop, preferably while suffering a chronic case of Montezuma's Revenge.
I thought "Guyana: Crime of the Century" was bad! I hadn't seen anything yet until I sat through the toxic sludge of "Tintorera: Tiger Shark." A shameless (yet shameful) attempt to cash in on the success of "Jaws," Cardona's "Tintorera" contains nothing of interest for the hardcore exploitation fan. Instead of huge numbers of gory shark killings, we get instead a lame story about a rich jerk's various romantic entanglements during his stay in a boat anchored off the coast of Mexico. Miguel (Andres Garcia) is looking to let loose with the ladies, and he's quite successful considering he owns a huge yacht that floats just offshore in full view of the numerous lovely ladies parading about on the beach. His first conquest is a disenchanted brunette, Patricia (Fiona Lewis), who eventually rejects him for a local Lothario named Esteban (Hugo Stiglitz). The two men fight over Patricia briefly, but when she disappears one morning thanks to a huge tiger shark, Miguel and Esteban put aside their differences and decide to go hunting for ladies together. Why not? Esteban has the smooth talk and good looks down to a T, and the brooding Miguel has the money to finance their escapades as well as the fancy yacht.
Miguel and Esteban become quite close, close enough to embark on an adventurous liaison with the beautiful Gabriella (Susan George!). When the two men aren't mixing things up with their new girlfriend, they're out mucking around on the bottom of the ocean hunting sharks. We know exactly what they're doing because Cardona shows us their expeditions in brain deadening detail. They use a spear gun to spike a fish and then wait for the blood in the water to draw in the sharks. Then one of the men, usually Esteban, shoots the shark with an underwater gun. Fun stuff! Obviously, these two idiots are environmentally aware hunters who respect wildlife in all its myriad forms. Anyway, after watching these trite scenes for what feels like forever, something tragic happens to Esteban. Gabriella, who cannot deal with losing one side of this love triangle, bails out on the stricken Miguel. Vowing revenge against the animal that ruined his relationship with both Gabriella and Esteban, Miguel goes on a campaign to hunt down the guilty tiger shark. Of course, tragedy strikes once again when a young lady falls prey to the hungry beastie in full view of Miguel. Our rich hero eventually tracks down the shark, much to his and the fish's lasting detriment.
Egads, this movie stinks! "Tintorera" has to rank as one of the most ridiculous "animals run amok" films I've ever seen. We hardly ever see the shark in action because Cardona is far more interested in spending his two plus hour runtime showing us underwater footage and interminable stretches of dialogue heavy scenes that numb the mind with their banality. I'm appalled to consider for a second that actress Susan George agreed to appear in this car wreck, but there she is mugging for the camera every chance she gets. Too, I noticed Priscilla Barnes of "Three's Company" fame slumming for a paycheck in a small role near the end of the film. But it's the two actors in the lead roles of Miguel and Esteban who are most deserving of my scorn. Hugo Stiglitz, a Cardona regular whose eyebrows meet in the middle of his head, is greatly annoying in his part. Most shocking was the sudden realization that he looks like a Mexican James Caan. As for the actor playing Miguel, what's up with his face? He has a smile that would warm a sociopath's heart, and his eyes could scare small children. And he's supposed to be a winner of women's hearts? Yeah, right. Crispin Glover would have a better chance landing the babes than this freaky looking dude.
The biggest flaw with "Tintorera" isn't the bad acting or the pathetic dialogue; it's simply the fact that NOTHING EVER HAPPENS! The shark kills are far too few in number and largely consist of red dye floating around in the water. I don't know about you, but when I pop in an exploitation film I expect to see some serious exploitation. Thinking about it, perhaps this is an exploitation film after all in that I'm the one who was exploited because I spent nearly two and a half hours waiting for something to happen. What a fool I am. I can't recommend "Tintorera" to anyone; it's boring, relatively bloodless, and fails miserably in every aspect of its execution.