There have been many many shark films over the years; none have come close to the king of all shark films, Jaws, but some have shot for a different crown, and that is the “Batshit Crazy Crown”. Raging Sharks is certainly a contender for the crown.In a shot seemingly right out of Aliens, a ship that looks like a cross between the Sulaco and the Battlestar Galactica glides across the screen in all it’s majestic wonder. Unfortunately the occupants are two aliens that are more reminiscent of Pinky and the Brain than galactic conquerors. While bickering in some alien language, their ship plows into a huge space station and explodes.
A cylinder survives the explosion and soars off through space where it, humourously enough, reaches Earth and slams into a Russian freighter, destroying it in a cataclysmic concussive shock wave. When I picked up this movie from a two for $7 dollar bin, I expected your usual low budget shark attack movie, certainly not an opening scene that included an alien spacecraft disaster and a surviving capsules plummeting to Earth. Nothing on the DVD case alluded to an other-world connection, so were the marketers afraid of the sheer stupidity of it, or was it meant to be a cool reveal?
A title card tells us that it is the Bermuda Triangle Impact Zone five years later later, and deep below the stormy waves of the Atlantic, we get our first glimpse of the Oshona Deep Sea Lab with its inhabitants of young and attractive scientists. The sea lab itself is ten years old and everything is starting to break down. All the scientists on board are complaining that they can’t achieve their goals with antiquated equipment, while the project director Mike Olsen (a Kevin Bacon wannabee) would like to see it fail so he and his wife Linda could finally get a job on dry land. Is this a common goal for oceanographic researchers? Meanwhile, magnetic spikes seem to be drawing a large number of sharks to the neighborhood, and strange crystals have been found with no Earthly origin.
The excitement quickly mounts as two divers, sent out to fix a relay box, are attacked by a school of sharks. Linda heroically (in other words stupidly) gets into her wet suit and swims out to help. She only finds the dead bodies and a bunch of really nasty predators, of course, which she is able to fend off with her trusty knife and dive lamp. Things get a bit worse as one of the sharks chews through the cable that provides the lab with external power. I guess this shark never saw Jaws 2. But this shark shows no ill effects. (Right there I was expecting some one to cry out, “They’ve cut the power? How could they cut the power? They’re just animals!” But I guess the writers were able to show some restraint.) The sharks then begin severing the remaining cables that run up to the support ship.
Mike Olsen (Corin Nemec), who had gone stateside just prior to the attack, is rushed back to lead the rescue aboard a Navy sub commanded by a disgruntled Corbin Bernsen. So at least we know we’re in good hands. Also aboard the sub is a callous insurance investigator, waiting to find out if he’ll be able to sue them for breach of safety regulations. He may as well be wearing a vest made of chum. Meanwhile, the support ship sends a diver down to investigate and he is quickly eaten by a roaring shark… which as this film goes on would seem to have been a more appropriate title. The sharks continue to eat anyone who tries to reach the sea lab, and all seems hopeless for the group of people that we neither care about nor particularly like.
There are a couple of sea lab engineers that are working on repairs; one complains incessantly while the other just agrees with him in such a familiar way that I think Yaphet Kotto and Harry Dean Stanton should be seeking legal action. When head complainer guy refuses to go outside to do the necessary repairs, Linda calls him a coward. Yeah, refusing to go outside among an armada of killer sharks who tore apart the last two guys who ventured out sure sounds like cowardice to me.
More sharks decide to make a side trip and turn a Bermuda beach into one giant smorgasbord, but one shark is captured. When cut open, alien crystals are found in its intestines. A news boat sailing out to catch some footage of the sharks is rammed and sunk, then tension is ratcheted to new heights when it’s revealed the sub has no rescue apparatus on board. This is when things start to get silly. Well that’s all the spoilers I’m going to give as I wouldn’t want to deprive any of you of the joy this movie will bring you.
This film is definitely in the Shark Attack class as far as script and acting goes, but the shark effects are actually quite good without relying on CGI all that often. The biggest visual blunder is that we constantly see the surface of the water just above the divers or the sharks that are swimming around, contrary to being in a deep sea research station. Still, as shark films go, can you pass up seeing one that gleefully rips off such films as Alien & Aliens, Jaws 2, Deep Blue Sea, and The Abyss?