Disclaimer: This movie does not get 8/10 for its subtle plot or Oscar-winning performances.
This is definitely a movie for fans of the creature feature, and no-one else. Anyone who doesn't enjoy low-budget shark films will think it's terrible :-) But if you're looking for the following in your creature feature, this is definitely a fabulously entertaining example of the genre:
1. Continuity errors
2. Horrendous acting from the foreign bit-part actors
3. Villains who wear black, look menacing and pull villainous faces (just to make sure we know whose side they're on)
4. Nonsensical plot ("I put these sharks in the water when they were young and waited for them to grow up! Mwaahah!") (So...you were....5 when you did this? They're big sharks!)
5. Plot holes as wide as...well, the maw of a large canal-raised shark.
The reason this is so good is because, unlike other creature features, it's packed-full of (silly) plot. Too many shark films are actually quite dull - the acting simply isn't good enough to carry the single ("There are some villains and sharks here for reason X") plot through, and at some points, the director actually tries to take the movie seriously. (Bad idea.) See "Shark Attack: Megaladon" for details fabulous final 30 minutes when the Mummy Megaladon comes out and starts eating boats; really dull first hour when the baby megaladon attacks a few people with lots of stock footage of sharks thrown in. And as for Raging Sharks...well, OK, let's not mention Raging Sharks. Just hide it at the back of the DVD collection and pretend we didn't spend real money on it.
Shark In Venice avoids this spectacularly. Not only do we have a couple (or more) monster Great Whites swimming around the Venice Canals, randomly leaping out and attacking villains / drunken bad actors possibly about to have premarital sex / red-t-shirted gondoliers, but we have an Indiana Jones subplot complete with trap-setting Medici Knights (who apparently stowed their treasure in the middle ages by carrying it underwater through the canals, but let's not explore that too far) and some ninja chainsaw-wielding stunt-biking mafia. Indiana Jones AND mafia guys AND sharks? What's not to like?
So, (without plot spoilers
as if that's important in a film like this; one of the other good things about it is that you can play the "who lives and who dies a sharky death?" game within the first two minutes with 100% accuracy), some particular highlights of this movie include:
1. The scene with the appallingly bad blonde whose boyfriend is trying to seduce her. Please note the backward-flying spray at the end of the scene (reminiscent of the bit in Anaconda where the waterfall flows backwards) and the fact that after the boyfriend has been Sharked (look, it's not a Spoiler, he's a drunk guy hanging around the water trying to seduce a bad actress; he may even have actually been wearing a red t-shirt!), the blonde has completely vanished. There hasn't been acting this bad since Jenny Mcarthy's stint in Python. It's AWESOME.
2. The bit where the villains chase the Baldwin. Down the same two streets. Over and over and over
3. The bit where the Baldwin tracks down his girlfriend by finding her scarf on a boat when she visibly lost said scarf scenes earlier.
4. The mafia guys and their amazing ability to multiply. Enough said.
5. The random diver villains who suddenly know where the treasure is despite the fact that a key point to the movie is that the Leading Bearded Brooding Villain DOESN'T know and so needs the Baldwin's help, by foul means or
OK, just by foul means.
6. The scene where the Baldwin has a dream, and he's blatantly dreaming about scenes from all the other Shark Attack movies, as that's where all the footage is from. (Spot the baby megaladon breaking into the ship!)
7. The stock footage. We know it, we love it, we've seen almost all of it before. There are some good new shots, such as a great white gulping something down the director evidently liked it as the same shot appears at least 3 times to represent people being eaten.
8. The fact that "slo-mo footage with dramatic music and close-ups" = "really big shark".
9. The way the great whites leap like Makos. Some definite homage to Deep Blue Sea there. (Yes I know that they DO sometimes leap out of the ocean, but these stunt-sharks took it to a whole new level. Again, what's not to like?!)
10. The terrible fin-shots. You know what I'm talking about.
11. The fact that these sharks are more vicious and hungry than Jaws by far. And possessed of an almost supernatural ability to find villainous divers. Perhaps they're descendants of Jaws 4
12. The main bad guy. He's a classic!
So, why does this movie not rate 10/10? Because the filmmakers don't (in the midst of the treasure hunting, booby-trapped underwater caves and chainsaw-wielding ninja stunt-biker mysteriously-multiplying mafiosos) really make enough of the fact that there are SHARKS IN VENICE. As in, that place where you HAVE to cross the water to get anywhere. So many missed opportunities for carnage! In fact there are really only a few scenes among the stock footage and diving "will the sharks appear" scenes (answer= yes, inevitably) where the sharks really have a good old rampage among random unsuspecting Venetian tourists, complete with appallingly amusing CGI. They could have done it so much more. We really wouldn't have minded.