Misjudged shark drama starring Halle Berry
John Stockwell’s name might not mean much to the general public, but he’s been carving a niche for himself as a sand-and-surf action director of such tropical and yet tepid fare as Blue Crush and Into The Blue, pitching iffy stars like Kate Bosworth, Paul Walker and Jessica Alba into blandly colourful outdoor action.
This time it’s Halle Berry, some way from her Oscar triumph in Monster’s Ball, who dons her bikini for a generic shark adventure. Berry plays Kate Mathieson, a so-called ‘shark whisperer’ traumatised by the death of a fellow diver in a shark attack. Nevertheless, when selfish millionaire Brady (Ralph Brown) and his sulky son Luke (Luke Tyler) decide they want to go swimming with sharks, Kate’s ex-boyfriend Jeff (Olivier Martinez) persuades her to head for the high seas, and specifically to Shark Alley, where the toothsome fish are sharpening their dentures in readiness.
It’s Hollywood legend that Robert Shaw's famous speech from Jaws, the story of how the survivors of the Indianapolis were picked off by sharks, has constantly fallen at the last hurdle in terms of becoming a movie in its own right. Stockwell cannily reworks some of the details of that story in a chilling final sequence, in which the cast are helplessly trapped in Shark Alley as Kate’s boat sinks.
But it’s the only scene in the misbegotten thriller that works for a second; otherwise there’s some dull intrigue about whether Brady has a death wish or not, and some mumbled drama about Kate’s fear of sharks. But the whole enterprise is holed beneath the water-line by Berry’s uber-glam appearance; looking more prepared for a walk down a Milan catwalk than the grizzled old salt she’s supposed to be, Berry provides a dull filling for Stockwell’s risible shark sandwich.
Selected release from Fri 19 Oct.