Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus (2009)
Directed by: Jack Perez
Starring: Debbie Gibson, Lorenzo Lamas, Vic Chao, Sean Lawlor, Dean Kreyling
See, there’s this group of people who call themselves The Asylum. Their job is to take box office hits and copy them – poorly. The formula is simple – get crappy special effects people, crappy cameramen, crappy editors, throw in a dab of sex, unknown (crappy) actors, then run a movie title through a scrambler. If you so desire (and have a little extra cash lying around), you might be able to have a washed-up actor, TV performer, or pop music star in the main role. So, for example, Transformers becomes Transmorphers starring Amy Weber (Son of the Beach, WWE wrestling), Snakes on a Plane becomes Snakes on a Train, The Day the Earth Stood Still becomes The Day the Earth Stopped (with C. Thomas Howell and Judd Nelson!), etc. These films are affectionately termed “mockbusters” – they’re more like porno parodies of major hits (you know, like Pirates, Edward Penishands, Beyond Thunderbone, etc.), except without the porn part, which is kinda disappointing, but I digress.
Sometimes, if they are feeling particularly brave that day, The Asylum will branch out into avenues that don’t necessarily involve copying a box office hit. Instead, they will copy a copy! You see, The Asylum ain’t the only cashing-in, spoof-happy production studio out there – they have competition, from a little studio known as Nu Image Films. No slouch when it comes to ripoffs, Nu Image is responsible for output like Operation Delta Force, and the Jaws-inspired Shark Attack, along with sequels Shark Attack 2 and Shark Attack 3: Megalodon. (You may have seen some very “special” scenes from Shark Attack 3 floating around on YouTube). Not to be outdone, the Asylum dudes released this sea monster mash-up, modestly and subtly titled Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus, obviously influenced by Shark Attack 3 and another little-known Nu Image film entitled Octopus. (Duh).
The twist this time around is that Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus features a really, really giant shark and a really, really giant octopus trashing the Pacific coasts before going at one another, in the style of Godzilla vs [Insert Monster Here]. The bonus is that we get two familiar faces: Falcon Crest‘s Lorenzo Lamas and, uh, 80s teen pop sensation Debbie Gibson (well, that’s Out of the Blue!). Oh, excuse me, I have just been informed that it’s “Deborah Gibson”, not Debbie Gibson. My mistake. Anyway, we start things off somewhere off the Alaskan coast where the government is doing illegal sonar testing. “Remember, lieutenant, this mission is classified! Should there be any trouble, the government will deny its existence!” Meanwhile, down below, Debbie… um, I mean Deborah – plays Emma MacNeil, who is riding around with her companion in some sea sub thing, which she is not supposed to be driving, but she’s a rebel, I guess. Also, while her right hand sports clear fingernails, her left hand has black nail-polish. Perhaps she was getting ready to go down to the local goth club but something came up.
“There’s poetry here” exclaims Emma, as she watches whales and hammerhead sharks swimming about. Once the chopper guy releases an LFAS (Low Frequency Active Sonar), it drives the sea critters crazy, and they start running into the glacier walls, or something like that – due to the editing, it’s hard to tell. Oh, apparently there’s a giant shark (a Megalodon) and octopus frozen down there, and now due to all the activity, or something, they have thawed out.
Finally, the helicopter pilot dies when his helicopter runs into the glacier. I don’t know why exactly he decided to ram his chopper into an ice wall. Perhaps he felt guilty about doing illegal operations for the government. Oh sure, the movie wants us to believe it was an accident, but I know what I saw…
After a huge whale is discovered on the beach, Emma retrieves a giant tooth from one of the wounds. Then, the institute fires her for driving a sea vessel without authorization. By the way, Nick Cage makes an appearance.
So she goes to visit her old Irish professor Lamar Sandars (Sean Lawlor, a long way from Braveheart), who once grounded a nuclear sub to avoid running into a pod of dolphins. Silly dolphins – get out of the way, stupid! Meanwhile, on a Japanese drilling platform, a visiting American oil worker is scolded about urinating on the local people (Come on, like the Japanese don’t do that kind of thing!) The American says “as long as we have a sense of humor about this, everything’s gonna work out!” (Is that the director talking?) Then, the entire station is attacked by giant tentacles.
Then there’s the incident with an airplane, where a dude tells the flight attendant that he’s getting married in two days. That’s right before a giant shark leaps out of the ocean and grabs the plane in its jaws. We just saw the plane go through a thunderstorm – thunderstorms occur at, what, around 6,000 – 10,000 feet? So, yeah, this giant mega-shark can jump out of the water thousands of feet! That’s totally mega!
Later, a navy destroyer tries to take out the shark (“Send that bastard down for the deep six!”). Naturally, they fail. (The captain goes: “Noooooooooooooooo!”) Right around the 30 minute mark, Emma, Lamar, and their Japanese scientist companion Dr. Seiji Shimada (Vic Chao) are arrested and taken to Treasure Island (US Naval Air Command Station), where they meet Allan Baxter (Lorenzo Lamas) who insults everybody (he tells Seiji that he’s not going to Manzanar, but he can commit harakiri if he wants, offers a Kewpie doll to the Irishman, and tells Emma that she’s all washed up, but is he talking to Emma or Debbie Gibson?) At least our heroes get to name-drop Gitmo and Hurricane Katrina. The outcome of their little meeting is that the American Navy will try to corral Megalodon into San Francisco Bay (wow, great plan) and the Japanese will corral the octopus into Tokyo Bay. That’s Brilliant!