I am a huge Jaws fan. Hell, I must have seen it in the theater over 15 times between the initial run and the rerelease, of course since I was so young it scared from the beach for life. Oh well, it’s a small price to pay. It wasn’t till I was an adult that I realized the impact of Jaws, not just here, but all over the world. Everybody loves Jaws, and those that don’t damn well should! Little did I know that there was so much more shark fun to have and it was all coming from Italy!
Italy is known as the home of horror knock offs, I disagree. Zombie has little in common with either Night of the Living Dead or Dawn of the Dead and I’d also argue that Fulchi is a far superior film maker to George Romero. Anyways, I digress, we’re not talking about zombies, we’re talking about working for a living, we’re talking about sharkin! We’re talking about The Last Shark!
The Last Shark was made in Italy by Director Enzo G. Castellari and is the most notorious of the Jawsploitation flicks, so notorious that it is banned in America! Not in that cheesy “Banned in 14 countries!” poster ad kinda way, no, this film is actually banned in the U.S. by court ruling. Universal sued and won an open and shut book case. Why? This film is not just a Jaws knock off; it’s what the film would be if you made a home movie version in your back yard, it’s Jaws beat for beat with a little Jaws 2 thrown in!
Port Harbor (I know) is a small seaside community getting ready to celebrate its town centennial. One of the events to be held is a wind surfing completion (Just go with it), but after the favored surfer goes missing, the waters are search and what is found is a 35 foot Great White! Now, let’s do a roll call shall we? Take charge family man? Check! Salty shark-expert sea dog? Check! Greedy and self-absorbed mayor? Check! Ok, all the players are here.
Once the shark is discovered, Ron Hamer (Vic Morrow) and his buddy, author Peter Benton (James Franciscus) must track the shark and kill it! Not an easy feat since the Mayor doesn’t care, the kids want to do it themselves and everybody has an angle. This film has it all, there’s kids that take the boat out without permission, a helicopter attack, dynamite and more! Eventually the Mayor’s son and author’s daughter are attacked and you know what that means…its personal!
I know you’re reading this thinking, “Good God! Why should I bother?” I’ll tell you this. I watch films to be entertained, period. Granted, if I pay $25.00 for tickets and an additional $35.00 for popcorn, hotdogs and drinks, the film better be pretty fuckin good. That said, you’re not seeing this film in the theater. If you can even track it down, you’ll be watching it at home, eating whatever you want and hopefully drinking a brew or two…dozen. Point being, you will be entertained. This film is fun, and the better you know JAWS and JAWS 2, the better it is!
The film gets little love and I can understand that but like I said, all I ask is to be entertained and damnit, this film sure as hell is entertaining. Nuff said!