‘Mankind just dropped down on the food chain!’
The Slightly Distorted Productions-The Asylum co-production stars John Savage (Dead South; Tales of Halloween; Demon Legacy; et al), Jack Amstrong, Ashley de Lange, Jonathan Pienaar, Thandi Sebe, Camilla Waldman and Leandie du Randt.
Welcome to the future! It’s very wet.
That’s to be expected, of course. In fact, now that 98% of the world is underwater, we should probably be surprised that the future isn’t wetter than it actually is. What survives of humanity now lives in floating, makeshift communities. Some of them are doing better than others, of course.
A warlord floats out there. His name is Ian Fien (John Savage). With the help of his main henchman, Mason Scrimm (Jonathan Pienaar), Fien has several communities under his grip. Everyone is required to pay Fien his tribute. Failing to do so means getting attacked by the sharks that Scrimm has under his psychic control.
Once 98% of your planet is underwater, you learn not to laugh at the possibility of being eaten by a shark.
However, Fien has finally gone too far. He’s kidnapped Willow (Ashley de Lange), the daughter of a shark caller who may have inherited her family’s ability to control the sharks. Her boyfriend, Timor (Jack Armstrong), sets out to rescue Willow but it quickly turns out that he’s not going to be able to do it alone. Fien is simply too powerful and his fortress too well-defended by both men and sharks. Timor is going to have to travel to a floating bar and recruit a team of misfits to help him both rescue Willow and free his people from Fien’s tyranny.
If the plot of Empire of the Sharks sounds familiar, that’s because it’s a prequel to 2016’s Planet of the Sharks. It’s also an Asylum film. Of course, The Asylum is best-known for the Sharknado franchise but I think that, if they don’t also develop a Planet of the Sharks franchise, they’ll be missing out on a huge opportunity. One of the things that I liked about both Planet and Empire was the surprising amount of effort that was put into creating the future. Each floating community is its own little world and full of details that will reward sharp-eyed viewers.
I know that some people online complained that everyone looked too good, considering that they were living in a post-apocalypse wasteland. That may be true but here’s something to consider. Do you really want to spend 90 minutes watching totally unattractive people?
Anyway, Empire of the Sharks is enjoyable. The movie is pure fun. Just the fact that the main villains are named Fein and Scrimm should tell you a lot about the film’s sense of humour. It’s a cheerfully crazy movie, featuring the usual CGI sharks (of course) and a nicely demented performance from John Savage.
Lisa Marie Bowman, guest reviewer via Through the Shattered Lens
“The big showdown happens when Fien and Willow battle for control of the sharks by frowning hard at each other while waving their arms at the apparently easily-manipulated fish. Tedious plot, boring shark attacks, minimal gore and over-acting clichéd characters. What did you expect from watered-down sci-fi?” Drinkin’ & Drive-In
Empire of the Sharks premiered on the Syfy channel on August 5, 2017, as part of their Sharknado Week. On-demand and DVD releases followed on September 5, 2017.
Cast and characters:
John Savage … Ian Fien
Jack Armstrong … Timor (as Jack Amstrong)
Thandi Sebe … Sion
Ashley de Lange … Willow
Leandie du Randt … Nimue (as Leandie du Randt Bosch)
Tauriq Jenkins … Edgar
Tapiwa Musvosvi … Toby
Camilla Waldman … Captain Ann Aldrin
Jonathan Pienaar … Mason Scrim
Joe Vaz … Jasper
Sandi Schultz … Sarah
Mélodie Abad … Mara (as Melodie Abad)
Royston Stoffels … Zareia
Philip Tan … Thelonious
Neels van Jaarsveld … Theos McFadden
Tshamano Sebe … Tustin Worth
Daniel Barnett … Moffatt
Anwhar Adams … Mack Tyson
Dan Nel … Arno (as Daniel J.F. Nel)
Quentin Chong … Lu Bu
Dorian Holdren … Drake
Sarah Mocke … Young Willow
Ryan-Wayde Hannival … Creeger
Brandon Auret … Captain Barrick
Anele Rusi … Captain Darsi
Craig Holtzkampf … Captain Bold
Hout Bay, Western Cape, South Africa
Salt River Film Studios, Cape Town, South Africa
Strandfontein, Western Cape, South Africa
Aspect ratio: 1.78: 1