Bugs had been very careful about what he said, but he
still made a slip.
He had said Shark Hunter was "a good
Shark Hunter is not a good movie!
Certainly, it's not a completely terrible movie. There
are a few positive things in it. Some of the special effects are quite
good for what was a low budget. Take the CGI effects that
depict much of the underwater action. Generally, the use of CGI in a
movie is painfully obvious, often looking less convincing than models
and puppets. But in this movie, the dark and watery environment makes
the computer graphics look much more convincing. The CGI artists
even threw in some little details others may have overlooked, like
thousands of tiny floating particles appearing when an underwater
spotlight is turned on.
There's also a short sequence showing divers doing some
underwater welding that wasn't actually shot underwater. It was shot on
a stage, with the set darkened and stagehands above sprinkling down
little particles of dust. It works surprisingly well, except in one
embarrassing shot when too much light is used - then it's all too clear
how they are doing it.
Matt Codd, the director, maintains a constant
claustrophobic feeling, whether a scene is taking place in the dark
waters or in the cramped submarine - which is very appropriate. Plus,
instead of going down a route of familiarity, he manages to surprise by
ending the movie in a way that most viewers will not be expecting.
But that's not enough to make a good movie. There are
other, more numerous, things about Shark Hunter that
make it a bad movie.
To begin with, take Antonio Sabato Jr. He is a poor
choice for the lead. With his unshaven face, pale complexion, and
stringy hair, he neither comes across as a tough hero or one who uses
brains to overcome brawn. That's not even factoring in his actual
performance, with his unchanging facial expression and lackluster tone
of voice making him more forgettable than someone who was actually
He's in good company. Most of the actors are foreign,
primarily Bulgarian since the movie was filmed in that country. While
they speak English in a way that suggests they know what they are
saying instead of phonetically speaking their lines, their accents are
sometimes so thick that it's hard to make out what they are saying.
Sometimes they slip up even more, like when one actor says "Get the
hell out there" instead of "Get the hell out of there" - yet Codd
didn't bother to reshoot the scene.
Heather Marie Marsden, one of the only two other
stateside actors in the production, can speak English, but manages to
make her character very annoying in a teeth-gritting performance. Only
Grand L. Bush as the mini-sub pilot gives a half decent performance.
His character is just as thinly written as the others, but he puts
energy and color to his dialogue and physical actions.
It's not just the characters that are poorly written in Shark
Hunter. There are lapses in logic, like how the submarine is
launched to do nothing but research and report, but happens to be
carrying gigantic harpoons... torpedoes... and fifty-five gallon drums
There are questionable lines of dialogue, like when
Spencer says about the shark, "I'm the only person who's lived through
it to talk about it!" And there are elements that are directly
plagiarized from Jaws, like when one character says
"We're gonna need a bigger sub," or when Spencer looks at a montage of
pictures of sharks and bite wounds.
There's even one scene that plagiarizes the big moment
of Samuel L. Jackson in Deep Blue Sea.
Then there is the fact that when bulkheads on this
submarine are sealed, someone is able to crawl through the air vents
from one section to another. Interestingly, the various rooms and
passageways of this submarine look very much like those of the
underwater station in Dark Descent, another UFO
That's not the only sign of cheapness in the movie. A
number of scenes are never shown, like the launching of the submarine -
the movie simply cuts from the characters on land to a point well
underway on their voyage. The fact of the shark attacking a pod of
killer whales is accomplished by one of the characters telling the
others this after hearing it on the radio.
The shark, by the way, is a megalodon. A megalodon was
large species of shark that disappeared about ten thousand years ago.
However, the characters of the movie believe they became extinct
several millions years earlier. It was about sixty feet long, a size
that the character do confirm when they see it with their own eyes.
Though it doesn't look quite that big when we get to see it
The megalodon was the most fierce sea predator of its
time, more dangerous and deadly than even the great white. It's strange
then that this particular megalodon doesn't come across as particularly
dangerous. It's constantly seen swimming sluggishly through the water,
and almost always keeps its mouth closed. It's a wonder that this shark
is able to cause so much damage to the research submarine, even though
its mass is several times that of the shark.
We never get to actually see the shark slamming into the
submarine. It always happens when the camera is inside with the actors.
In fact, we actually don't get to see that much of the shark itself. It
takes a long time for it to appear in the first place, then after a few
minutes it disappears for a long time before reappearing for a few more
minutes near the end.
The movie has no feeling of tension, no feeling of
danger as a result. There's no reason to care about what happens, who
lives or dies. The only thing you keep wondering is when it's all going
All of this makes Shark Hunter a bad
What? What's that? You are complaining I didn't play
fair? You are complaining that only those who had seen the movie in the
first place could have a chance of solving the mystery?
Well, if you had bothered to read this mystery series to
some extent, you would have realized that most of the mysteries require
you to be as anal as Encyclopedia, and know beforehand a whole bunch of
essentially useless facts.
Anyway, when Encyclopedia exposed Bugs' lie, he expected
that Bugs would immediately confess and make restitution, as he always
But instead, Bugs laughed out loud. He held up the book
he was reading. The title of it was American Law.
"That doesn't prove anything," Bugs chortled. "Art is
subjective! What you said would never hold up in court. In fact,
anything else you try! You keep using hearsay evidence! What solid
proof do you have that I sold that movie to that kid? Do you have a
Encyclopedia learned that day that even the greatest
detective can find himself helpless due to the intricacies of the
American legal system.
UPDATE: "MegaLemur" sent this along:
be if for me to defend the characters of Shark Hunter, but
believing Carcharocles megalodon to have gone extinct
several million years earlier than "about ten thousand years ago" is
not at all out of the question and indeed in line with many fossil
shark workers. The "ten-thousand year" estimate for megalodon
extinction is based on a pair of teeth dredged by the British
Challenger expedition as parts of manganese nodules. From the amount of
manganese dioxide that had accumulated on the teeth, an estimated age
of 11,333 years was obtained. However, most fossil shark biologists
dispute this as being evidence of Pleistocene megatoothed sharks,
arguing instead that these represent fossils that were eroded and
redeposited on the ocean floor. The living megalodons, it is argued,
died off in the Pliocene, between 1.67-3 million years ago. Forgive my
anal retention, but Detective Brown would want nothing less. (Of
course, I haven't seen Shark Hunter, and given the type of
movie it is, your description of "several million years earlier" might
well correspond to statements like "megalodon died a hundred million
years ago, when the dinosaurs were still young!" or some such statement
that seems to be omnipresent in giant, killer, prehistoric sea creature
movies. If this is the case, again, my apologies.)"
My research did not reveal that the ten-thousand year
claim was in dispute. So to give both sides of the issue fair play, it
only seems fair to add this letter. If it eventually proves I was
wrong, well, everyone has their off-days. Encyclopedia Brown
author Donald J. Sobol screwed up the story about the egg-spinner when
it was originally published. And Encyclopedia himself needed help from
his pal Sally Kimball in that case involving the transvestites in the
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See also: Crocodile, Great White, King Cobra