Sunday, July 12, 2009
The Shark Hunter (1979, Enzo G. Castellari)
After reviewing Castellari's Last Shark, I decided it just wouldn't be right if I didn't also review his other Shark movie, The Shark Hunter. Though far from the Jaws ripoff that Last Shark was, it still has it's share of shark attacks and underwater action. This time though, it has the Italian legend Franco Nero in a horrible long blonde wig.
Mike di Donato (Franco Nero) is The Shark Hunter, an Italian recluse (who happens to be an American citizen) living on a Caribbean Island. Mike's family was killed years back so he just kinda keeps to himself, with his Spanish beauty (Patricia/Patrizia Rivera, depending on if you are watching the opening or the ending credits) by his side. He discovers a buried treasure in a sunken plane and attempts to retrieve it, with the aid of a rich vacationer. However a group of thugs (one of which is played by hairy-chested director Enzo Castellari using his given name Girolami) have discovered the treasure too and it becomes a race of who can retrieve the treasure first. Oh yeah, there are also a bunch of scenes of Nero's character punching sharks.
The Shark Hunter is good, silly fun. It has all of Castellari's trademarks - big action, slow motion fight scenes and Franco Nero running a lot and being thrown into puddles. There is also the trademark Guido y Maurizio De Angelis thumping disco score that plays over the scenes with little or no dialogue, which seems to be quite frequent. The story itself is pretty silly but overall it works. There are some scenes of real sharks being killed which kind of sucks, but at least it makes the film sort of believable (bad justification, I know). The fight scenes are good, the characters are all menacing and the underwater photography is decent. Why Nero is dressed up like a hippy I have no idea, I guess it's to enhance his crustiness, but in retrospect it makes his character original. There are flashback scenes of Nero with his normal short hair/mustache combo that we are so used to, but for the most part he looks more like his character in Castellari's Keoma. Nero is probably the most handsome man who ever lived (I am saying this in a non-gay sort of way...but you knew that) so it is a shame that they are trying to make him look gross, but like I said before, at least it's different and who would believe a reclusive shark hunter who looked like a debonair Italian businessman? Well, enough about Nero, I'm starting to sound like a weirdo. If you like Nero and/or Castellari, I would recommend this but if you are looking for a good Jaws-type movie or a big budget underwater film, this ain't it.
By the way, if you are looking for this it is included on the Grindhouse Experience 2 box set, but it looks like a bad vhs transfer. I have an old VHS rental copy that looks way better, so I would suggest that one instead.