There seems to be an awful lot of bad films based around sharks. I suspect the popularity of the shark as an antagonist is due to the availability of library footage of sharks bumping into cameras and chopping on hunks of meat. All the makers of these “Shark-ploitation” films need to do is slap in a few reaction shots of people screaming and blood dispersing in water and they are in business.
Clearly from the same school as Snakes on a Plane, Shark in Venice is about a Shark in Venice (well actually several sharks in Venice). However Shark in Venice was clearly intent on ripping off other Spielberg classics as well as Jaws, by trying to turn Stephen Baldwin into Indiana Jones. All that’s missing is Baldwin being visited by a lost alien looking for a way to get home. Baldwin spends half the film staring emotionless at other characters occasionally sighing and the remainder sounding like an asthmatic that has just run up four flights of stairs. In fact Baldwin cuts a sad figure, he’s like one of you friends dad who is in the middle of going through a divorce and spends all day eating ready meals and dreaming of buying a motorbike.
Baldwin’s character David Franks (a doctor in marine biology) is told that his father has disappeared while on a diving mission, and his father colleagues were found dead. Baldwin takes this news by sighing, shrugging his shoulders and muttering that he better go to Venice. He ends up finding ancient treasure from the Crusades and a mafia boss shows up to try to get Baldwin to obtain the treasure for him. The mafia kidnaps his girlfriend forcing the 3rd best Baldwin to find the treasure, fight the sharks, reveal to the world that the police are covering up the existence of sharks in Venice and while trying to avoid the same fate as his Dad.
Bar a few scattering of poor CGI and library footage of sharks close up and limbs falling off there is actually very little about sharks in the film. The film may as well be called “Stephen Baldwin in Venice”. At one point Baldwin is bitten on the shoulder by a shark (great white sharks apparently) and just huffs and puffs his way out of the water with nothing but a scratch. Stephen also can’t be said to be in the best physical condition, so seeing him wriggle in and out of a wet-suit for 65% of the film may not be some people’s idea of a good time.
The acting and directing give the whole thing a feeling of an American soap opera, in fact there it’s only when a shark pops up to eat a gondola that you remember this is meant to be about a Shark in Venice. This is what annoys me about this film, if you have a concept as stupid as SHARKS IN VENICE why not use it! Embrace to stupidity! I wanted to see drunken college kid on holiday in bikini’s having a drunken swimming race get swallowed whole. Instead we have to make do with one drunken local and a gondola attack. “But hey! I bet that shark comes out to play in the finale” I hear you shout. Well barely, the majority of it is a gun fight between the mafia and the police that lasts five times as long as it should.
After a dramatic shootout, Stephen Baldwin gives up his mission to tell the world about the sharks in Venice, something he was shouting and screaming about for the first half of the film. Oh and if you care, it was the mafia putting the sharks in the water to stop others finding the treasure which they themselves have not found. Idiots.