When you think of a made for TV shark movie, you would probably think that this is something that would have premiered on the Syfy channel. However, today’s movie actually debuted on TBS and would be one of the highest rated movies in the station’s history. I remember watching this when it first premiered and it was everything I thought it would be, a dose of enjoyable cheesy movie watching. When I saw it on DVD, I decided to go ahead and pick it up a copy of Red Water so that I could watch it again.
The plot: An old man and his grandson are heading towards a wildlife preserve in southern Louisiana to do some illegal fishing when they pass by a newly constructed oil rig, which is using dynamite to clear out the rocks blocking the drill. Unnoticed by the rig crew, a bull shark was attracted to the drill’s activities and it swims away downstream to where some people are swimming and attacks a swimmer. Meanwhile, John Sanders, a former oil rigger that now runs a charter fishing boat, is making a payment on his boat but due to his frequent late payments, he is told that if he misses one more payment, his boat will be repossessed. Elsewhere, a gangster named Rick is sending his cousin, Ice, and an associate named Brett after a man named Jerry, who had hidden $3 million of Rick’s money before he was captured by police. Back in Louisiana, the old man is killed by the bull shark and the grandson ends up going into shock. The boat eventually ends up reaching the harbor, where John and his first mate, Emery, discover the boy. Bringing him onto the dock, they are met by the sheriff, who is on his way to investigate the shark attack, and he assigns one of his deputies to get some medical attention for the boy. John is then visited by his ex-wife Kelli and her boss Gene Bradley, whose company owns the rig, asking for his help in dealing with the rig’s problems so they can meet a deadline. John refuses, as he still feels guilty about the deaths that occurred on the last rig he ran, and when Kelli tries to convince him, he kicks her off his boat. Meanwhile, Ice and Brett find Jerry on a boat he rented and, after disarming him, convince Jerry to take them to where he hid the money. Later that night, Emery convinces John to swallow his pride and take Kelli’s job and he reluctantly agrees, and heads to Kelli’s hotel room to let her know. The next morning, they start heading up to the rig and find boats filled with people hunting the shark, and the sheriff tells them that the father of the girl that was attacked had put a $50,000 bounty on the shark. John convinces the sheriff to let them head to the rig and when they finally get there, they see the boat with Jerry, Ice, and Brett anchored nearby. Gene believes that they are members of an advanced team from Global Oil. their competitor, and asks Hank, the rig’s foreman, how long they have been there and Hank tells them that they were there when they woke up. Inside the rig’s office, John listens to what Hank and Kelli tell him about the data and suggests drilling at a different angle to try and find the main deposit. Meanwhile, Jerry and Brett are diving down to look for where Jerry hid the money but are not having much luck, as the past 5 years have changed the river bottom. On their last dive, Jerry heads over to an old car and uses it to attack Brett, then sabotage his scuba tank. Kelli had gone diving for soil and water samples when she sees the injured Brett and brings him up to the surface, where John helps get him on the boat. As John and Kelli tend to his wound, Gene questions him about Global, saying that they are violating their lease but Brett tells him he doesn’t work for Global. When Jerry and Ice pull up and Ice checks on Brett, Gene says he will call the police to have them removed but Ice shoots Gene in the leg, then holds everyone else hostage. When the sheriff arrives in a helicopter, Brett has everyone hide in the cabin while he sends John out to get rid of him and the sheriff tells John to stay out of the water as there was another shark attack. As Brett and Ice argue over what to do with the hostages, the alarm sounds on the rig, indicating that a blowout is about to occur. John, Hank, and the two other workers try and prevent the blowout while Brett and Jerry move the boats to safety but they are unsuccessful and an explosion occurs, killing the two workers. Hank and John attempt to call for help but Brett shoots the radio, then has them shut down the spill so Hank is forced to dive down and shut off the valve on the river bed but as he manages to do so, the shark attacks him. John sees a flurry of bubbles and, grabbing a weight, dives down to help John but all he finds is his arm. When John surfaces, Kelli and Emery yell out that the shark is behind him and he quickly swims back to the boat. After tying up John and the others, Brett finds some of the leftover dynamite and attempts to use it to kill the shark but the fuse on the first stick goes out and the shark attacks before he can use the second one, causing it to explode without doing any damage. Gene ends up bleeding to death and John attempts to get the drop on Brett with his gun that he had hidden but Brett throws his knife into John’s arm and quickly disarms him. Brett then tells John and Emery to accompany Jerry in the water to find the money but when Emery admits that he can’t swim, Kelli takes his place. Kelli and John manage to find the chest containing the money but the shark attacks John, grabbing him by his scuba tank, and carries him off, stunning Kelli in the process. Jerry finds Kelli and gets both her and the money to the surface, where Brett and Ice help them onto the boat. Kelli wants to go rescue John but Brett stops her and takes her back to the cabin, where Jerry and Ice are trying to open the chest. Meanwhile, John manages to unhook his scuba tank and climbs up onto the rig but the shark bites his foot as he climbs up, breaking off a tooth in his foot as he does so. Back on the boat, Ice attempts to shoot the locks off, as they are completely rusted shut, and Brett tells him to stop as they will open it when they get back to Rick’s. However, Ice and Jerry decided to double cross Brett and Rick and they stab Brett in the stomach and send him overboard, where the shark kills him. The two men prepare to feed Kelli and Emery to the shark but John starts shooting at them, then tells Kelli and Emery to jump off the boat as he shoots a propane tank that was on the bridge. Jerry is killed in the explosion and Emery jumps to safety but Ice grabs Kelli, causing her to hit her head on the edge of the boat. John jumps into the water and rescues Emery, then they use a crane to rescue Kelli, then jumps to safety himself when the boat explodes. Meanwhile, Ice had gone back in the cabin for the money and jumps to safety with the case before the boat explodes. The shark grabs a hold of the case and causes it to break open, spilling money into the water, and as Ice grabs the money, the shark kills him. When the crane breaks, dumping Kelli back into the water, John grabs her and the swim underneath the rig and try climbing up the ladder but debris keeps the hatch from opening. Seeing the drill, John tells Emery to head into the control room and turn on the drill, then he acts as bait to lure the shark underneath the drill, before yelling at Emery to release the brake, causing the drill to lower straight into the shark’s mouth, killing it. As the three sit on the edge of the rig, John holds up the tooth from his foot and wonders if the bounty on the shark is still good and Emery says that they should let the spirit of the shark be, so John throws the tooth back into the river as the sheriff’s helicopter shows up to look for them.
A made for TV shark movie is always a recipe for some good entertainment, but they can be hit or miss at times. This had some good parts but the movie took itself to serious at times to make it a big hit for me. The acting was good, with Lou Diamond Phillips (John) and Kristy Swanson (Kelli) doing really good in their roles. Coolio (Ice) was good as well, even though he was basically relegated into the role of the stereotypical gangster thug. The story was pretty decent but definitely not original. Once again, we have the good guys going to do a job, while the bad guys are out to get money, and the bad guys kidnap the good guys to help them get the money and the good guys have to fight back. As far as the shark aspects of the story goes, they did a pretty good job with that but there were times where some parts of the story seemed pretty gratuitous, such as when the shark attacks an environmentalist as she is crossing a bridge. The shark itself looked cheap at times, and even though that can sometimes make a movie great, it didn’t work for this one. All in all, it’s a decent shark movie but it could have been a lot better.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5