Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda (2014)

Ah, Sharktopus. You are simply the little gift that keeps right on giving. Yes, if you have kept up with my work and read my review of the first film from last year, you know that I am a big fan of the tentacled terror with jaws that rend and tear. It may very well be my favourite Roger Corman creation. I delight in watching the creature rip into tourists and soldiers who made the mistake of hanging out on the beach. And yes, it's just large enough to be considered a kaiju in my eyes. Not a Godzilla level one, mind you, but it's definitely in the ranking.

Let's not forget that other large sharks pale in comparison to his size.

Sharktopus' also got quite a fanbase. I literally just saw a drawing of a little girl playing with it and another featuring an epic battle between Aquaman and the beastie. From the very first film there were already talks of sequels. Not one, but multiple sequels. What other creatures could they cook up to face off against titular toothy titan? Well, so far the names Mermantula and Whalewolf have been choices, but neither of those was selected for the first face-off. No, that honour went to Pteracuda. The great thing about these names is that I really don't have to explain what they are, as they name plainly states it. It's pterodactyl and a barracuda genetically spliced together. Beautiful.

Keep your fingers crossed that maybe we'll see Pirahnaconda get in on this action.
Our story begins, essentially, where the last one ended. Sharktopus got blown the fuck up and the heroes escaped...but so did something else. Because it turns out that our tentacled friend happened to be preggers and an egg-sack survived and washed out into the ocean where it was found by marine biologist Lorena Christmas, who finds a baby sharktopus inside ready to be nurtured. D'awwww! So after an undefined amount of time passes (definitely not enough time for the actress to seemingly age at all) we see that both her and her young ward now reside at her uncle's aquarium where he's attempting to market Sharktopus as an attraction for tourists.

Someone's been stealing ideas from Louis Gossett Jr. in Jaws 3-D, which is not too healthy.
Yeah, let's just go with forcing a genetically engineered killing machine to be a tourist attraction might be a bit of a bad idea. But hey, if InGen can remake Jurassic Park into a working place renamed Jurassic World, maybe this will work too? Except for the fact that they also created a new thing in there that got loose and made everything go to shit quicker than me after eating a few things off the Taco Bell menu. But, to her credit, Lorena seems to be good with Sharktopus. The critter seems to dig the vibes she's laying down. The problem is her uncle is a massively greedy dickhole who keeps ruining the progress she's making in training her large toothy friend. Someone send Chris Pratt to teach this guy about handling dangerous genetically engineered animals.

Just give Sharktopus a motorcycle and it'll all be gravy.
But the asshole uncle isn't our villain, regardless of how greedy he may be. No, our villain is Robert Carradine. No, seriously, Lewis Skolnick is the big bad here. Well, him and what he created, the aforementioned Pteracuda. Same basic idea Eric Roberts had in the first film: create a genetically engineered creature to use as a weapon that they can control via a computer in its brain. So what happens? A Russian hacker named Vlad (because of course he's named Vlad) hacks into it and turns it on them. Carradine sends some mercenaries he's employed after it, but they all die except for one because he's got the greatest superpower of all! Main character powers! Yes, through the simple fact that's he a main character he simply will avoid death based simply on the fact that he's more important for some reason!

"I think I just shat myself..."
He goes back to Carradine to try and figure out a plan to stop both the flying killing machine and the hacker attempting to control it while we see Lorena go out to dinner with her boyfriend who is just sweet enough to be killed off later in the movie. Mark my words. I mean, hell, he's a lifeguard in a movie involving a shark creature, he's got like maybe 5% chance of making it out this alive. Odds are he'll die and she'll end up with Merc McShitpants in the end, because of reasons that make no sense. Speaking of him and his boss, they find out about Sharktopus because some idiot tourists made a giant fuss about wanting to see it (even though Lorena told her uncle the beastie wasn't ready for people) and one of them got a sucker to the face. They go to the news and the Pteracuda killings get chalked up to Sharktopus...even though it's still in captivity at the aquarium. Oy vey. Regardless of that plot point that doesn't mean anything, the duo here go and pay the uncle off so they can stick a computer inside our real hero's head and take Sharktopus to go Pteracuda hunting. Lorena isn't into this so her uncle locks her in a closet.

Or maybe she just always talks through Face/Off and he can't miss the Serpent Soldiers episode!
Surprising no one, this all goes south pretty quickly as Pteracuda manages to rip off Sharktopus' computer controller, but I've got to wonder how well it worked anyway as our hero still killed some people while being controlled. Some divers, tourists, and even a wild Conan O'Brien played a highly fictionalized version of himself in my favourite cameo since Lloyd Kaufman got eaten by a Big Ass Spider. Conan is clearly hamming it up too, enjoying every single moment of his time here. He also has the best death scene which I'm afraid a still image just can't do justice.

But you can't blame me for trying.
Volleyball players even bounce his head around, because why let a man being killed break up a good game? The dynamic duo kidnap Lorena, hoping she can help, but while Merc McShitpants goes to rig up a super-harpoon, she manages to sneak off to the beach and help her boyfriend give CPR to a girl I was certain Sharktopus ate a  few scenes ago. But, with two horrible monsters on the loose and his girlfriend in danger he does the heroic thing and leaves her there to go try saving other people, fail horribly, then get his head ripped off by Pteracuda while Lewis Skolnick holds her at gunpoint. Welp. That just happened. But no time to grieve when you're a hostage, because the plot must roll on! And it turns out that the Russian hacker is planning on blowing a nuclear plant with Pteracuda for some terrorists, because he works for morally ambiguous people who hurt others and that pisses of Merc McShitpants. Why? Because that's his job, dammit! This movie isn't big enough for two mercenaries! They go to get the hacker, he gets away, a chase ensues, and Pteracuda asks him to lend a hand.

Instead Vlad gives him an entire arm. What a nice guy!
After generic Russian hacker gets eaten, it turns out Pteracuda is tracking his briefcase laptop and Skolnick decide McShitpants and his girlfriend just aren't Tri-Lam material, so he leaves them to save his own ass. She runs for the bathroom to hide while McShitpants decides getting into a knife fight with a giant monster is a brilliant idea, but he manages to survive through the same powers as before! It's a miracle! Then he runs to hide in the bathroom too, because he's just that good.

"Maybe this bathroom with hide the smell coming from my pants..."
Meanwhile, Sharktopus decided he was tired of playing so he went home to aquarium to eat the greedy uncle because Lorena wasn't there to scratch his belly. Nothing of value was lost. He also stops by to say his her, clearly showing that Sharktopus has no intent to kill her. But dammit, Merc McShitpants is tired of this titular monsters in this motherfucking movie, so he grabs a mirror-ball and his exploding harpoon gun and they go to kill them. For some reason the Pteracuda is attracted to the ball, so it comes after it, but knocks Lorena into the ocean too. Luckily for her, the true hero shows up as Sharktopus saves her ass while Merc looks doofy for a minute before shooting his harpoon at the monster being held down by the other monster. Sharktopus pulls it down after it gets shot and a massive explosion happens, with the two hapless humans asking if both are now dead while in an embrace, because nothing makes a girl fall in love quicker than being kidnapped by a guy who drilled a hole in the animal she cared about's head and then having him let said animal loose where it then killed many people. Yep, totes romantic, bro. Then Sharktopus jumps out of the water at the camera and the credits roll.

Because someone in this movie had to be cool and it may as well be the title character.
How does it measure up to the first movie? Well, it's not quite as good, but it's still a ton of fun and I really love the idea of them turning Sharktopus into a recurring monster who now seems destined to fight other monsters. It's definitely a lot better than either of the Sharknado films, even with the obvious camp factor and hokey acting. It's true Roger Corman creature feature and I couldn't bring myself to hate it even if I tried. It's fucking Sharktopus! What's not to love? Hell, my only real gripe I had while watching it was that Roger Corman didn't do a cameo again as the metal detector guy from the first film, which was honestly one of my favourite moments.

I may have run this joke into the ground at this point.
If you dug the first movie and just love a fun campy Roger Corman flick, check this out. It's not as over-hyped as the Sharknado sequel and it's so much more entertaining to root for Sharktopus rather than Ian Ziering and Tara Reid. No amount of chainsaws and Al Rokers can truly measure up to Shartopus and Conan O'Brien. Trust me on that. So, until someone genetically splices a jackelope and an angler fish together, I'll be here wishing desperately for a Sharktopus toy. Come on, Corman, make it happen!

A Pteracuda toy would be alright too.

No comments:

Post a Comment