Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Last Shark, Jaws Italian Style

"The Last Shark"! (aka L' Ultimo Squalo")  Oh please, not the last one, how about one more?  Nope, today's film is 1981's "The Last Shark."  Made by Italians and shot in Savannah and Malta, this is an over-the-top B movie. With entire lines and plot devices taken right out of "Jaws," we must give director Enzo G. Castellari credit for ripping off a great film instead of "Ordinary People" or "Looking for Mr. Goodbar." With lots of gore, bad dubbing, and a cheesy irrelevant musical score, you'll have fun with this one.
A nice, quiet coastal town prepares for their annual windsurfing regatta.  Mayor Wells (Joshua Sinclair) reminds us of the revenue this regatta will bring in.  Uh oh, preparing for the weekend event, a hunk wind surfer is swallowed by a 30 foot great white.  The political entities want to keep this potential boating accident a secret as not to scare off tourists.  Peter Benton (James Franciscus), no...not Peter Benchley...his babe wife Gloria (Micaela Pignalelli) team up with Ron (Vic Morrow)...think Quint...to find the shark.  Alas, Peter's beautiful daughter, Jenny (Stefania Girolami Goodwin) grabs some of her teenage buddies and they also go out fishing.
The adults find Ben Gardner's boat...actually in this film it is Ed Glover's boat...all chewed up.  Meanwhile our teens find our 30 foot monster which will feast on leg-of.teenager.  Peter, Ron, and Gloria go back out to sea and now the entire town is mobilized.  The giant fish will take out a helicopter, more boats, news crews, more windsurfers, and some spare ribs.  I bet you can figure out how this will end.  To this film's credit, the mechanical shark is quite neat and dwarfs Bruce from "Jaws."
Fans of the 1975 classic will be able to pick out a dozen scenes lifted right out of that film.  The actors and actresses are all great looking, the gore is quite nice, and cheesiness is perfect for B movie fans. Stupid and campy?  Maybe, but that's fine with me.  "The Last Shark" (the best fish film ever shot in Malta) is available on YouTube.

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