Roger Ebert said, "You used to be able to depend on a bad film being poorly made. No longer." However, bad films poorly made are still out there, still being birthed from the crack addled mind of whatever writer or director is bonkers enough to think they can make movies. Shark in Venice is one of those films.
The film stars Stephen “Not as good as Alec” Baldwin, and the seemingly less talented older sister of Scarlett Johansson, Vanessa.
Apparently, in the depths of the canals of Venice there is long lost treasure. Some mafia guy wearing huge aviator shades is keen to get hold of it. Trouble is, every time he sends a couple of divers down there, they get chomped on by stock footage of sharks in the wild.
It’s not surprising that he’s annoyed by this. A real shark, he could understand. But when your guys are getting gobbled up by a rapidly cut film reel of sharks swimming in different water, under different lighting conditions? It’s not on, it really isn’t.
News of these sharks in Venice reaches the boss of some shark college in the USA. Here, Steve Baldwin is some sort of professor of sharks. Makes sense, as he works in a shark college. Anyway, he’s a busy guy, doing shark lectures in which he makes foolish Jock students look even more foolish in front of rapidly moistening lady students, thanks to his awesome command of shark knowledge.
The boss of the shark college, concerned about the sharks in Venice, says to Steve, "Steve, I want you to go and sort out these sharks in Venice. They’re getting on my nerves. Just do it! And while you're at it, take Scarlett Johansson's less talented sister, Vanessa, with you!"
Jiggling man boobs
So our intrepid duo arrive in Venice. "It’s beautiful here," says Scarlett Johansson’s less talented sister. Steve — surveying Venice with a keen eye — looks for the words that can properly convey the majesty of it’s sunlight dappled waterways, and says, "Yeah, I know." (He does actually say that.)
It’s not long before Steve is caught up in the nefarious goings on of the gangsters. For this, our hero must…
- Run in the style of a slow motion Garth Marenghi whilst wearing an overly tight top that accentuates his jiggling man boobs.
- Hide from bad guys with complete success, before throwing a load of boxes in front of them, alerting them once again to his presence, therefore turning complete success into complete failure.
- Fall victim to a rip in the fabric of time and space, so that he has to buy Vanessa Johansson the same huge orange scarf, twice!! Well, okay, maybe it was a continuity error.
- Suppress years of mild mannered, contemplative study as a Professor of Sharks, and unleash the violent action hero within, by threatening to chop a guy’s head off on a circular saw.
- Throw a statue at a dude on a bike.
The plot on the whole, makes not one bit of sense. Editing gaffes abound including one scene that made me think Steve Baldwin had had his leg bitten clean off by a shark. Amazingly, his leg seems to grow back after a night in the hospital. Luckily, such minor details are but a trifle to the director, keen as he is to get to the next chase, or shoot out, occasionally remembering to throw some stuff in about sharks.
Sharks are normally good value, no matter how little screen time they may get. But even they can’t save this movie. However, it is mildly amusing watching Baldwin stumble from one disastrous scene to the next, baffled, bemused, no doubt wondering how it all went so wrong after the career peak of The Usual Suspects.
Shark In Venice is a bad film, poorly made. But just bad enough to be worth watching. At least once. Then strike it from your mind.