I have seen a lot of shark movies, most of them bad, but with "Raiders of the Lost Shark" the title's pun ends the fun. This is an amazingly inept shark movie filled with a nonsensical script (even if you consider it a straight parody or homage to the genre) and the worst acting I have seen in a while. Think of this as an Asylum film without the budget or talent. Starting with an extremely unappealing double date and the first encounter with the shark, you think the film has to improve but you would be wrong. The film then goes into a protracted backstory about Professor Carly Reynolds (Candice Lidstone), whose college class is not well-attended (but, hey, it's Friday!), and a confusing flashback about why she's scarred for life. Clearly The Dragon Lady (Catherine Mary Clark, who's in the running for worst performance ever in a shark movie), who controls the island, must be to blame. The Dragon Lady, who is also known as Janet, wants Carly's help on her island to kill an allegedly prehistoric shark, but there are lots of pesky strings attached. Words cannot express how wooden Clark's performance is.
There's a pointless subplot about an uptight lazy sheriff (Lawrence Evenchick) and his comic relief deputy doing nothing to assist anyone ever, and a deeply disturbing performance by Scott McClelland as a boat captain ("This isn't my hand!") The most annoying part of the movie is in French with subtitles, and if you wonder why it's annoying, you'll just have to watch it and then thank the non-acting of Faith Rayah. While all that is padding the running time, Carly and Janet go to the absolutely hilarious super-secret world headquarters of Dragon Lady Enterprises (or whatever it's called) where, via amazing surveillance footage, Carly spots her students on the boat to Shark Island, although later there is a confusing point of contention that it's actually a peninsula. Why? Who knows? Carly knows that she has to get to the island to save her students and they take Janet's plane (which is never seen) while all but one of her students become shark chow. Do not miss the riveting scene where the boat captain asks the students "Anybody want a bag of complimentary nuts?" Speaking of nuts, you may well be driven nuts when you hear the captain's rousing version of "1,000 Bottles of Beer on the Boat". Don't say I didn't warn you. I particularly like the scene of the students stopping to make a cellphone call while swimming away from a shark in the lake. Fortunately the one student who makes it to shore turns out to be a shark hunting genius.
Because of some crazy experiments the shark on this peninsula is able to fly. And it's radioactive. And it is remote controlled by what appears to be a garage door opener. While an idiotic flashback explains more of Carly's background, the special effects are less than reinforcing when it comes to the horror of losing your sister to a prehistoric, flying, radioactive, remote controlled shark. On the island they meet a mad scientist (No way!) named Dr. Howell, played by Richard Groen, which is appropriate as his performance will definitely make you groan. After the shark brings down Janet's plane, there's an odd confrontation leading Janet to proclaim "I own the island, but I've never been her before!" What? This all leads to an unimaginable double-cross (don't ask), more inaction from the laziest sheriff ever, and a dramatic conclusion that will not surprise or delight you in any way.
While "Raiders of the Lost Shark" has one of the best (if not the best) title of any B-grade shark movie in history, it is undone by its terrible production values, acting, and script. Even though I know this movie is a tongue-in-cheek effort and not to be taken seriously (at least I sure hope so), it's hard to enjoy even for camp value. As a bonus, there are some trailers for other films on the DVD, and while some of them look promising for fans of trash cinema, others just look like fresh pain.
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