Saturday, January 14, 2017

In short: Shark Lake (2015)

Clint Gray (Dolph Lundgren) is smuggling rare, dangerous and endangered animals for some gangster boss (Don Barnes). On the night when the local sheriff’s department finally catches up to him, he and his truck take a nosedive into a lake, freeing a pregnant shark. Nobody will notice that little problem until five years later, though.

Right about the time when Clint gets out of prison, a series of killings begins which most of the local police at first ascribe to bears. Most, that is, but Meredith Hernandez (Sara Malakul Lane), not only the only competent copper in town, but also the officer who arrested Clint, and the woman who took in his daughter Carly (Lily Brooks O’Briant).

She’ll soon be proven right, too, for it’s not bears, it’s (spoiler!) sharks. Because sharks alone supposedly don’t make a movie, there’s of course also a sub-plot about Meredith’s unwillingness to let Clint see his daughter again as well as another completely pointless one – taking up ninety percent of the meagre screen time Lundgren gets hired for these days even if he is supposedly a movie’s star – concerning the gangster boss pressing Clint into his service again to catch his damn shark. Also appearing are an oceanographer and would-be love interest for Meredith, a big shot BBC shark hunter (of course coming to a sticky end), and a lot of other people who couldn’t act their way out of a paper bag.

In fact, the only people on screen who have their act together as thespians are Lundgren (don’t laugh, he’s a pro at this semi-cameo business by now), the actual lead Lane (putting in a ridiculous amount of effort the script neither asks for nor deserves, winning hearts and minds – well, mine at least – in the process), and Lily Brooks O’Briant (even though we all know by now how much I dislike child acting as a whole). The rest of the cast is all sorts of embarrassing: some painfully so, some in a funny way.

Otherwise, this is the most SyFy Original movie ever made that isn’t actually a SyFy Original, though the melodramatic sub-plot is so treacly I don’t think the SyFy Channel would actually go with it for reasons of artistic standards. Lundgren is as always first listed in the credits but actually just popping in for two or three days of shooting at best, while the rest of this thing plays out nearly exactly as you’ll think it will.

Jerry Dugan’s direction for its part makes no impression whatsoever, so this one’s mainly for the Dolph completists (poor souls that we are), the habitual watcher of shark movies (again, poor souls we), and people who like to hope for better gigs for clearly overqualified lead actresses.

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