Written by H. Perry Horton
Directed by Emile Edwin Smith
Run Time: 85 minutes
Ouch. Yeah, you read the title correctly. Another inspired addition to the Megalodon franchise for us to enjoy. And let’s agree to no "jumping the shark" jokes, ok?
Yep, we’re up against yet another Megalodon movie, which generally are pretty "fun", in the Monster Shack sense of the word, naturally. So, let’s see, hitting the DVD play button now and…
A tugboat towing a giant block of ice to Egypt because of the latest drought or Global Warming or something. Amazingly, nobody notices the enormous object encased in the middle of the ice block. Nope, nobody at all. Must be simple discoloration…Yeah, a dark blotch the size of a city block in the shape of shark! This doesn’t raise any eyebrows.
To the tugboat crew’s great surprise, the warm waters cause the ice to start melting (Duh!!!) and it eventually cracks open, releasing Megalodon! Freed of its icy bonds, Megalodon celebrates by tail-swatting the tiny tugboat, sending it through the air and into the desert where it knocks the head off the Sphinx! I’m not kidding. (At this point it’s safe to say this movie isn’t going to take itself too seriously.)
To meet this global menace, the United Nations (!) constructs a secret weapon. Can you guess what it is? You have read the title of this movie, right?
Yes, dear reader, the end result of billions of dollars of technological investment, thousands of construction hours, and unparalleled international cooperation is…a submarine shaped like a shark. At least our tax dollars are going to a good cause, right? But why a normally shaped submarine couldn’t do the job is still unclear to me.
The UN, in all of its collective wisdom, has seen fit to entrust the testing of the aforementioned craft to the husband and wife team of Jack and Rosie…a couple of "Doctors" of something, never explained and don’t care. Rosie, the putative pilot, is taking the Mecha Shark for a test dive and radios up from a depth of 1000 meters that everything is fine except for "some leaks". Now, I’m not a submariner, but leaks sounds like something on a submarine that would not be fine!
Despite the leaks, Rosie completes an intense series of battle-readiness tests consisting solely of tipping the sub 60 degrees to the left and then straightening out again. At this point it appears that the film’s CGI crew experienced a burst of inspiration as we see a pair of giant squids (!) swim out of nowhere and immediately attack Mecha Shark. Huh. That was sort of…random. But never fear, the squids are repelled with a jolt of electricity as Rosie returns to base. Boy, that scene was really necessary.
Back in dry dock, the the Navy reveals a more advanced version of Mecha Shark called the "Mecha II". (Maybe this one doesn’t have any leaks?) You see, this version of Mecha Shark has been armed with "intermediate steel" teeth and "pectoral torpedo pods". (Insert joke here.) Keeping in line with this movie’s "Full Steam Ahead!" pacing, Rosie crawls into the new Mecha Shark, plunges into the sea, and the hunt is on!
It doesn’t take long before Rosie spots Megalodon swimming around and getting up to no good, eating oil rigs and such. While Rosie quickly tags Megalodon with a GPS transmitter, I guess because tracking a shark the size of an aircraft carrier would be too difficult with normal sonar, a nearby nuclear submarine Captain unwisely launches a torpedo at Megalodon. O! Ye foolish knave! Everybody knows that Megalodon scoffs at mankind’s puny torpedoes, mere gadflies to this mighty marine beast! A swish of the tail sends the torpedoes back at the sub resulting in its destruction.
After the attack, Rosie resurfaces and cries in frustration, "Damn it! If I could only aim and fire at the same time!"
You know, that seems like something you’d want to get working before you go into battle with a giant Megalodon.
Jack steps in and insists that the Navy allow him to install his Nero AI on Mecha Shark’s computers. Admiral So-And-So reluctantly agrees and gives Jack 24 hours to install it. (Reluctantly?! Megalodon just ate one of your nuclear subs along with its entire crew, so, like, Hey Admiral, dontcha think having functional AI would be a worthwhile investment? Then again, the writers just had to pull out the timeworn Science-vs-Military contrivance, didn’t they? [NOTE FROM THE FUTURE]: Nero is a piece of crap…Maybe the Admiral had a point.)
Jack successfully installs Nero in Mecha Shark 2, helpfully referred to as "Mech 2" so the viewer doesn’t get confused with "Mech 1", which looks exactly the same except for a big number "2" painted on its side. Rosie is back in pilot seat and descending under the waves when alarms start to blare, red lights flash…you know, all that submarine-y stuff.
"The water pressure is effecting my systems," Nero reports over the loudspeaker.
What?! The submarine’s software can’t handle water pressure? Rosie performs a quick system reboot and all systems are back online. I’m not sure how that would help since the water pressure is still the same, but again, whatever.
Rose next releases huge streams of blood in the water from the sub’s "chum stores". With Megalodon drawn by the great gobs of fish guts, Mecha Shark closes in for the attack…can you feel the excitement? Oh no! Nero’s sonar loses contact with Megalodon as it swims into a huge cloud of oil from a damaged underwater oil pipe. With the sea in danger of massive oil contamination, Rosie calls off the hunt and deftly folds over the top of the gushing pipe by ramming it with the sub. You really have to see it to believe it, then again, I won’t blame you if you don’t bother watching this movie.
Cut to a jet flying high over the ocean and…uh oh. I hope you can see where this is headed; and if you’ve seen this movie you know exactly where this is going. To my great visual glee, Megalodon launches itself up out of the ocean and towards the airplane. Not to be outdone, Rosie also launches Mecha Shark up into the air and knocks Megalodon out of the path of the plane in mid air!
At the risk of being pedantic, I’m going to re-post a fantastic graphic showing just how preposterous this really is:
After plunging back into the ocean, Megalodon’s ego is bruised, so he’s pretty pissed. He turns and takes the fight Mecha Shark with a vicious series of chomps and head butts. Rosie snaps off a hasty torpedo which Megalodon deftly whacks with his tail (when will we ever learn!), sending it directly into the side of a Navy destroyer. Oops. A second torpedo misses its mark and hits an underwater mountain, burying Rosie and the sub in a avalanche. Hey, Rosie, hold off on the torpedoes for a while, um kay?
Back on the water’s surface in the control room, Jack cries out in helpless frustration, "She’s trapped down there and all I can do is sit here and scream her name!" Slamming his fists on the keyboard, he shouts at Nero, "Piece of crap!" (I admit, that was pretty funny.) With Rosie sitting unconscious in the pilot’s seat, Nero reboots itself and announces it’s performing a "system restore". (Hoo boy, I hope Nero isn’t running on Windows…) After a successful restore, Nero takes exclusive control of the sub and initiates its own rescue scheme by blowing up a bunch of rocks and quickly ascending to the surface. (I guess they forgot to program "How to Avoid the Bends" into Nero’s data banks.)
Ok, with Rosie safely extracted from the damaged sub, Mecha Shark sinks back to the ocean bottom, incapacitated again. I have to agree with Jack here: Nero is a piece of crap!
Meanwhile, marine biologist Dr. MacNeil (played by Debbie Gibson…I’m sure you recall her from Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus thoughtfully reviewed for you…by me…you’re welcome) informs the Admiral that she might have a solution to the whole giant-shark-eating-everything-problem-thingee. Boy, it’s a good thing that every marine biologist has a direct line to high-ranking Naval officers… just in case! Dr. MacNeil continues her goobledeegoop and points out a "unique pattern" she found in the shark’s movements. (Note that this, <cough> unique, pattern looks any other totally average set of swirls). MacNeil suggests that Megalodon is headed to Sydney where its ancient spawning grounds are located. "It was most likely born there," MacNeil concludes without providing any evidence.
Sure enough, Megalodon is closing in on the beaches as the Australian Army marches into defensive positions…wait a minute…the Army?! Wouldn’t this be a job for the Navy? Oh, I see. The Army has been called in to evacuate Sydney. Yes, evacuate the entire city’s population because of a shark.
Cut to Sydney, where the massive civilian evacuation has began. The film makers realize this daunting cinematographic feat by showing movie extras jogging past the camera in sporadic groups of 3 or 4. As Yoda would say, "Convincing, this is not."
Anyway, super-advanced AI Nero is offline again, and has put itself into "drone mode". As Jack explains, Drone Mode means Nero "is going to do what it has to do but without the safety protocols." As Nero putzes around getting into "drone mode", the shockingly unsophisticated Megalodon shows his disregard for the Fine Arts by knocking Mecha Shark into the air and onto the Sydney Opera House…Philistine!
Fed up with the Navy’s endless incompetence, Jack remotely launches the original Mark I Mecha Shark (Mecha 1, if anybody still cares) which presumably the Navy happened to have laying around moth-balled in the ship’s hold. Suddenly, for no explainable reason, the always impressive Nero, world’s most super-advanced AI program, goes rogue. Kind of like HAL9000 from Kubrick’s 2001…and I sincerely apologize to Mr. Kubrick for daring to mention that fine movie in the context of this film. Jack and the others watch in horror as Nero puts Mecha Shark into, and I shit you not, "Amphibious Mode"! If my eyes aren’t deceiving me, "amphibious mode" entails extending massive rolling tank tracks from the sub’s hull and rolling through town eating everything in sight.
By the way, what gang of idiot software managers not only approved the "Amphibious Mode" project, but also had massive rolling tank tracks installed on a giant mechanical shark running beta-version AI?!! Code reviews, people! Code reviews!
Cut to a news reporter staring wide eyed at the spectacle: "Have you ever seen anything like this?" she gasps to her cameraman. (Really? You had to ask? What were you expecting the answer to be?)
OK, time for Plan B: lure the misbehaving Mecha Shark back out into the ocean, set it for self-destruct, then blow up Megalodon when it attacks. Gee, what could possibly go wrong with that? Rosie volunteers to climb back into the out-of-control machine and enable a high-frequency transmitter which will presumably draw Megalodon to his doom. I couldn’t help but notice that the access hatch is in Mecha Shark’s razor-sharp tooth-filled mouth! What the hell?…who designed this thing?!
As time runs out, much like my patience, Jack steals a motorcycle (don’t ask) and drives around like a maniac luring Mecha Shark back out into the sea. OK, this movie is way off the rails now, so is there any point in asking why Mecha Shark would stop rampaging through the city and choose to zero in on some random dude riding a motorcycle? Did the Nero program recognize Jack as its creator and seek to destroy him like Frankenstein’s monster? What does Nero have against Jack? Oh, will the list of Unanswered Questions ever stop growing?
Inside Mecha Shark Rosie manages to "re-program the transmitter" to emit a high-frequency sound which will piss off Megalodon or something. With that being done, Rosie tries to get the hell out of soon-to-be-destructing sub but gets stuck in the "chum chutes" (Yech!) Apparently Rosie has to exit the sub via the chum chutes instead of just going back out through the main hatch, yet another design flaw in my eyes.
Jack jumps to the rescue and re-programs Nero (again!) to "flush the chutes" and whaddayouknow, out pops Rosie into the water. (There’s a awful lot of on-the-fly computer re-programming going on here..shoudn’t all of this been caught in beta test?)
Anyhoo, Megalodon closes in on Mecha Shark and they chomp each other a bit, because, well, what else can they do? Mecha Shark suddenly explodes and whatever, they’re both gone now, so, huzzah, I guess.
As the ruins of Sydney burn behind them, Jack and Rosie celebrate their victory with a passionless kiss. With the sun serenely setting over the chaos, Jack smiles and promises to reload a new version of Nero into the next generation of subs but first he has to work out "some kinks".
KINKS?! Nero went into amphibious mode and ate Sydney! You call that a "kink"?
Cue generic rock music and closing credits…
Dennis Grisbeck (Jan 2016)
This movie, much like Sharknado, makes no attempt to hide the fact that it is pure parody. Heavy use of CGI can be forgiven because of the fast pace and gob-stopping plot turns, aka, my favorite of all: amphibious mode! The acting is up to par, even though I doubt any Oscars will be given out to the cast, but they at least managed not to laugh during the numerous outrageous scenes.
All in all, this was a fun, fast moving, spectacle…what more do you want?