The world of film would truly be a poorer place were it not for the mad scientist. Whether he’s into world domination, money making, revenge or just because those stuffed shirts wouldn’t approve his crazy research methods, mad scientists get the job done in low-budget films. And we have a particularly fine one in this very early SyFy Channel original movie (when it was still called Sci-Fi).
Another uncharted island? You’d think, with this and our recently reviewed “Danger Island”, that you can’t put a boat in the ocean without running into some weird island or other. Anyway, there’s experiments and a casual disregard for human life going on, you know the drill. The people who will be eventually fed to Shark Man are the board of a big pharmaceutical corporation, and their board meeting has normal-looking men, some older, some younger, and the few women who are there are all model-beautiful, of course.
Our stars are William Forsythe as the head of the IT department (I think) and Hunter Tylo as…something to do with research. Who cares? Tylo has spent the last 20+ years on US soap “The Bold and the Beautiful” (1,903 episodes and counting) and despite being 43 when this film was made, has used the finest of the surgeon’s art to try and look like she’s in her late 20s. I only mention it because she’s on the verge of looking a bit…plastic? Anyway, I was writing down “she’s definitely going to do a pose in a bikini at some point, to show she’s still got it” and before the sentence was fully written out, there she was. Not the boldest prediction I’ve ever made.
Anyway! Jeffrey Combs is the mad scientist, he tried to save his son’s life (cancer) by splicing some hammerhead shark DNA in with his cells. This turns him into some mostly-shark, and Combs’ efforts to save him just seem to involve lots of people getting killed. He used to work for the big pharmaceutical firm – kicked out for his crazy methods, of course – but his discovery interests his old co-workers who fly out to see him.
I don’t know if “The Island Of Dr. Moreau” ever explained how Dr Moreau could afford an island, but this film certainly doesn’t. He has a gigantic research centre, lots of staff paid well enough to kill for him without question, and a seemingly endless supply of human guinea pigs. He’s figured out, with all this experimenting, that if he can get his son to breed with a human, the DNA from that kid would be able to solve all the world’s medical problems…
I feel I have to comment on this. Test-tube babies, artificial insemination, all that good stuff, has been around for decades, and clearly Combs should know about all that. But he’s insistent on his female subject getting inseminated “the old fashioned way”, which just seems wasteful given HIS SON’S A SHARK
“Mythbusters” has ruined films like this for me, for two big reasons. Firstly, if you’re near an explosion, you don’t just get thrown backwards, the force of it will kill you; and secondly, to stop even the most powerful gun in the world, all you need to do is get more than 18 inches under water (because water doesn’t compress, the bullet uses up all its energy getting through the water almost instantly). The makers of this film weren’t concerned with such details though.
Unsurprisingly, this film was not very good. I can’t say it was terrible, it just sort of existed. All films like this needed to be was entertaining enough to get you to watch the adverts, and then make a few £ on DVD release (under a different name – this one has also been called “Hammerhead”), and I suppose it just about succeeded. It could have done with either being a lot worse or a bit better, though.
Rating: thumbs down