For some reason, a lot of the shark themed movies that came out at the beginning of the century seemed to focus on Megalodons. I don’t know what the reasoning is, though I can’t exactly fault them as the idea of a 60+ foot shark attacking boats and killing people does sound like a great idea for a movie. Personally, I like to think that Steve Alten’s “Meg” series has a little something to do with this (On a side note, I can’t wait for the movie version to finally be out in theaters next year). Anyways, today’s movie is one of those type of movies that I first rented at Blockbuster many years ago and then decided to purchase during one of my shark movie binges. So let’s see how today’s movie stacks up as I watch Shark Hunter.
The plot: Years ago, Spencer Northcut and his parents are vacationing on their boat when something large bumps it while they are having dinner on the deck. As they look around, they don’t see anything due to the foggy night and dark waters so his parents finish putting away dinner and cleaning up but Spencer stays out on the deck and continues looking around. He sees a large fin approaching the boat and warns his parents just as the boat is struck by a megalodon, which capsizes the boat and kills his parents, leaving Spencer floating alone in the sea. In the present day, Spencer, now a professor, is teaching a class when he is interrupted by his friend Dr. William Atkins, who tells Spencer that his research grant request has been turned down. Spencer ends his class early and then argues with William about the decision, stating he built the sub they are using but William tells him to resubmit his request in 6 months. Meanwhile, a three man team is stationed at an underwater research facility and as two of the members are outside making repairs to some of the research terminals, the sonar operator informs them that something is approaching. The two men don’t see anything and continue with their work but they are both killed by a megalodon, with the second attack breaching the station and causing it to implode. Some time later, William tells Spencer about the incident and when Spencer asks about what caused the breach, William tells him he doesn’t know before inviting Spencer to join him for lunch along with a woman named Cheryl. During lunch, William tells a story which Spencer takes as mocking his account as to what happened to his parents and Spencer gets up to leave but William catches up to him and tells him that the Navy want answers as to what happened to the station and Spencer is one of the men going on the investigation. On board the Argus, Spencer is excited to see the sub he designed in real life as William introduces him to some of the crew. When he introduces him to Rob Harrington, the mini-sub’s pilot, Rob takes a dislike to Spencer, calling him unqualified for the mission and mocking Spencer’s account of what happened to his parents. When they reach the site of the station, Spencer dives down to examine the wreckage and finds a megalodon’s tooth embedded in some of the debris. Spencer takes the tooth back to the sub’s lab and examines it but ends up arguing with William about the authenticity of the tooth. William asks Cheryl to help convince Spencer he is crazy but Cheryl gives some credit to Spencer’s theory. Later, William says that there may be some proof to Spencer’s theory, citing a migratory path that whales follow as being within the area they are searching. Spencer wants to use the Argus to hunt down and kill the megalodon but William tells him he can’t authorize that. Spencer goes and checks out the torpedoes the Argus is carrying but Rob finds him there and after a brief discussion, tells him to stay out, then goes to William and voices his concerns about Spencer staying on board. When a report comes in about a school of killer whales being attacked by the megalodon, the Argus prepares to go after it, and Cheryl works on explaining what they will be facing, though Rob is still skeptical about the whole thing. When they get a sonar reading on the megalodon, Rob takes the mini sub out to try and locate it and eventually does, as it passes next to the Argus. As the megalodon circles the sub, Rob lures it in front of the Argus and Will Tchenko, the pilot and head engineer, fires a harpoon into the megalodon. With the sup tethered to the megalodon, they fire some tranquilizers into it but they have no effect and the megalodon proceeds to attack the sub, at one point coming up through the mini-sub’s loading pool to kill one of the crew. When the megalodon starts to dive and drag the Argus with it, Rob severs the cable while Tchenko fires two more tranquilizers into the megalodon. The Argus takes another hit from the megalodon, which also damages the mini-sub and both vehicles are crippled. Spencer takes over for Tchenko and fires a harpoon into the mini-sub in order to bring Rob back to the Argus but the movement attracts the megalodon’s attention. Stepehen has Tchenko load some more tranquilizers and he fires them at the megalodon, distracting it enough to give Rob time to safely dock the mini-sub back on the Argus. As they assess the damage, they realize that they only have 6 hours worth of air left and Stephen says they have to do what they can to repair the sub and get back to safety. When he says they need to kill the megalodon if it attacks again, Cheryl gets upset and argues with him, as she wants to keep the megalodon alive and study it, and says Spencer is just going after the revenge he always wanted but she is overruled. As Spencer, William, and Rob enter the torpedo room, Spencer comes up with a plan to place a tracking beacon on the harpoons in the mini-sub and he will pilot the mini-sub to attack the megalodon, tagging it and allowing the Argus to. As the others track the megalodon, Spencer heads out and tags the megalodon after it strikes the Argus again. Spencer then leads the megalodon a safe distance from the Argus so that they can fire the torpedo but the torpedo misses and strikes an underwater mountain. The mini-sub is damaged in the blast but Spencer tries to bring it in front of the sub for another chance to fire. As the megalodon passes by, Cheryl tracks it’s progress and notices the torpedo tube is jammed. She tries to warn Rob and the others not to fire but the radio has too much static. Cheryl tries to make her way to the torpedo room but is too late as William gives the order to fire and the torpedo hits the debris and detonates, destroying the Argus. Spencer is contacted by the rescue ship and informs them of the Argus’s destruction, then shuts off communication as he sees the megalodon approaching him. Choosing to sacrifice himself to kill the megalodon, Spencer pilots the mini-sub forward, overloading the battery in the process and as the megalodon grabs the mini-sub in it’s mouth, the mini-sub explodes, killing the megalodon and sending it’s carcass floating to the ocean floor.
This was a pretty slow movie to be honest but not too bad. The acting was decent, with Antonio Sabato Jr. (Stephen), Christian Toulali (William), and Grand L. Bush (Rob) doing good jobs in their roles. The story was interesting but didn’t really do a good job explaining how the megalodon came to be still alive. Another problem was that they really pushed the boundaries in the whole suspension of believability aspect when it came to the divers, as they would have been crushed by the pressure at those depths and not able to walk around in suits, let alone regular scuba gear that Stephen used to explore the wreckage. The special effects were admittedly on the low end side but they worked well enough for the movie. While I did like that they worked in how dark the ocean would be at those depths, it did make it a little hard to see what was going on at times. A decent entry into the B-movie shark category and worth a watch at least once.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5