SHARK ATTACK IN THE MEDITERRANEAN (2004) Reviews and overview

 

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‘Deep ocean terror at a new depth!’

Shark Attack in the Mediterranean is a 2004 action horror film about a pilot and a marine biologist battling a huge megalodon shark. Also known as Shark Alarm.

Directed by Jorgo Papavassiliou from a screenplay co-written by Jörg Alberts, Roland Heep, Frank Koopmann and Don Schubert. Produced by Hermann Joha.

The German Action Concept Film- und Stuntproduktion movie stars Ralf Moeller, Julia Stinshoff, Gregor Bloéb, Katy Karrenbauer, Oona-Devi Liebich and Patrick Pinheiro.

Plot:

Devastated by the violent death of his wife, helicopter pilot Sven Hanson (Ralph Moeller) helplessly watches as his personal life and business unravel. He finds renewed hope on the exotic island of Mallorca until the day his peaceful life is rocked by the appearance of a gigantic thirty-five-foot shark.

When Hanson learns that this is the same monster that killed his wife, he teams up with attractive marine biologist Julia Bennett. Together they battle the beast in a dramatic fight for survival…

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Review:

The movie opens with a distressing voiceover from a high-pitched child telling some boring story about a shipwreck. It seems to have nothing to do with the film, so let’s forget it ever happened, just like the filmmakers do (until the closing credits when the story is confusedly brought up again).

The actual story centres on a scientific institute that, in a silly plot reminiscent of Deep Blue Sea, is using sharks to cure a disease. In this case, it’s cancer. These well-meaning scientists are presented as creepy villains with a bizarre love for sharks, despite the fact that they legitimately want to cure cancer! Anyway, these scientists have managed to clone a big f*cking Megalodon.

Unfortunately, none of the voice cast dubbing the German actors appear to know how to pronounce “Megalodon” – either that, or it was some kind of wonderful prank. “Megalodon” goes through so many iterations. You can even hear the strain in the actors’ wavering voices before they say the word. Anyway, the Megalodon, or Megalodowne, has gotten loose and its escape is being hushed up. The only person who knows what’s up is Ralf Moeller, as Sven Hansen.

Sven is basically a sh*tty, muscled version of Chief Brody as he shouts and screams his way through the film attempting to convince the authorities a giant shark is eating people. His wife was eaten by a shark back in the day, so he’s pretty sensitive when it comes to that sort of thing. He also flies a helicopter, which makes him super cool, and his idiotic daughter is permanently putting herself in harm’s way. Sven is supposedly the film’s hero, but thanks to the fact that he literally puts a stop to a cure for cancer kind of strips away any heroic qualities. He’s also unbearably smug and loves to burst into rooms ranting all sorts of unfounded, unscientific anti-shark propaganda.

It took a whopping three sittings to get through this film. It’s not boring. The action is pretty consistent. It’s just hypnotic in its terrible execution. The droning dialogue, the weird editing that swings from frantic jump cuts to static nothingness — this is a jarring, exhausting watch. It does, however, provide some incredible laughs. Most of which comes from its star, Ralf Moeller.

Ralf Moeller is not a performer I’m really familiar with outside of TV’s Conan the Barbarian and some bit parts here and there. He seems to have a long history of playing thugs and tough guys. Here, he’s supposed to be a caring dad — as shown in a scene where he cooks his daughter and his love interest the most upsetting looking meal in cinema history — but he’s more like a big hunk of meat in a leather jacket than a human being. He storms through scenes flatly threatening people, whether it’s his best friend, his daughter’s boyfriend, or a shark.

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Despite his hostile persona, the script really wants to convince us that he’s awesome. Everybody he comes across — other than the cancer-curing creeps — love him. Even an overweight barbecue-loving rich guy (Ottfried Fischer, who is in the film for like thirty seconds but is featured prominently on the German poster) whose barbecue-and-babes lunch is interrupted by Sven’s sudden appearance.

Almost as enjoyable as Ralf Moeller, is the incredible leaps in logic and faith characters take. One such moment is when Sven’s scientist pal Julia (Julia Bennet) accepts a likely lengthy sentence of attempted manslaughter and several other crimes by blindly believing Sven’s insane Megalodon rants and breaking him out of prison. The jailbreak — where she drives a car through the prison’s entrance, nearly killing a guard — is followed by a ludicrous car chase where Sven and Julia crack inane jokes while causing absurd amounts of property damage. This scene is set to a score that closely resembles the soundtrack of an episode of Looney Tunes parodying a gangster movie.

The movie’s basic understanding of just about everything is very off. When the apparently evil, shark-loving, cancer-curing Dr Brandauer (Katy Karrenbauer) is eaten by her creation, there’s no real sense of loss. This lady could have cured cancer, now she’s just a shark snack. Sven tells his buddy at the end of the film that he’ll do him a favour by checking his cancer-ridden wife into a really good hospital to help out with the whole cancer thing. His pal is wet-eyed and thankful as if her cancer is gone already. That’s not how it works, pal. And if Sven was his ‘best friend’, as he dramatically claims in a highly emotional scene, and has access to a great cancer facility, why the f*ck didn’t he offer this support earlier?

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You may have noticed I’ve spent more time discussing Ralf Moeller, than the film’s big shark. There’s a reason for that. For a film called Shark Alarm, there’s an alarmingly small amount of shark action. The Megalodon is mostly shown tumbling through the water without much in the way of comparative visual context, making its size seem less impressive. It also changes size frequently — ballooning from the size of a pretty big Great White to the ridiculous size of a bus within two consecutive scenes.

It will be no surprise to anyone that this film is garbage. But it is at least mildly entertaining. Like the hysterical Raging Sharks (2005), it’s made funnier by the fact that it takes itself more seriously than the deliberately crap post-Megashark era shark films. Shark Alarm tries its damndest. There’s car chases, explosions, helicopters, and a speedboat race. It even throws in a cameo from German pop star Jeanette Biedermann who sings a sleazy song in tiny shorts. Shark Alarm‘s efforts are endearing. And if you can’t get any joy out of Ralf Moeller blowing up a shark from a helicopter, then God help you.

Dave Jackson, guest reviewer via Mondo Exploito

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Other reviews:

“The action scenes are fairly intense (especially the opening rescue), and there’s a subplot involving Carlos’ dying wife that gives the story a dash of emotional depth. I won’t lie to you: most of the time, this movie is more “so bad its good” than it is “good”…” 2,500 Movies Challenge

“When you do get to see the shark, it’s somewhat impressive (i.e., it doesn’t look too fake). It swims as fast as Aquaman on crystal meth, though, which means if you get in the water you’re gonna end up as ocean lasagna. The mega gripe here is that most of the time is spent on the tedious sub-plots and not what we paid good money to see, which is the giant shark’s digestive system in action.” Drinkin’ & Drive-In

“The movie doesn’t fool around, as it starts off with a bang, and rarely become boring. The sharks appear regularly in the movie, and for a TV film, the CGI shark effects aren’t bad. The movie has a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor which makes it much more palatable than if it had taken itself too seriously. The characters are fairly likable and we get two cool car crashes.” DVD Talk

Cast and characters:

Ralf Moeller … Sven Hansen
Julia Stinshoff … Julia Bennet
Gregor Bloéb … Carlos Rivera
Katy Karrenbauer … Doctor Verena Brandauer
Oona-Devi Liebich … Maja Hansen
Patrick Pinheiro … Fabio Ortega (as Patriq Pinheiro)
Simone Hanselmann … Tina Stein
Carsten Spengemann … Javier
Jeanette Biedermann … Jeanette Biedermann
Anna Bertheau … Charlotte
Jasin Challah … Tobias
Vanessa Hilger … Lena
Yvonne Maria Schäfer … Chica
Ottfried Fischer … Millionär
Dayan Kodua … Organizer

Alternate titles:

Hai-Alarm auf Mallorca – original title
Megalodon: O Ataque dos Tubarões – Brazil
Le chasse au requin tueur – France
SOS Mallorca – Hungary
Blue Savage – Japan

Technical details:

109 minutes

Clip “Shark alarm!”:

MOVIES and MANIA says:

Shark Attack in the Mediterranean is fairly tongue-in-cheek and never dull. Its main drawbacks are wooden lead Ralf Moeller, poorly conceived supporting characters, dire dialogue and dreadful dubbing (“mega-load-dun”), all of which makes it laughable. There’s a daft car chase-BBQ scene that’s hilariously OTT (“Who’s watching the sausages?”).

It’s a pathetic excuse for a shark film that wants to be a low budget Bond film. Despite this, if you can get over the aforementioned downsides it certainly makes for dumb fun entertainment. Oh, and it includes a song called ‘Do the 69’.  Yep, it’s that trashy.

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