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  Great White The Mark Of The Shark
Year: 2021
Director: Martin Wilson
Stars: Katrina Bowden, Aaron Jakubenko, Te Tohe Tuhaka, Tim Kano, Kimie Tsukakoshi, Jason Wilder, Tatjana Marjanovic
Genre: Horror, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: A couple are in the sea off the coast of Australia, their boat moored near the shore, and are enjoying each other's company as they swim and take selfies. But when the time comes to get back in the boat, they find a problem when a great big shark advances on them and eats the male half of the couple's legs. The female half is horrified, naturally, and tries to clamber back onboard, but one of the masts swings around and knocks her unconscious, right back into the ocean again, all the better for the killer fish to consume her. This will prove an issue for pilot Charlie (Aaron Jakubenko) and his girlfriend and medic Kaz (Katrina Bowden), because if there is one thing they do not need on their chartered holiday flights, it's a shark with a taste for human flesh...

The trouble with shark horror movies, on the other hand, is that they will always be compared to the daddy (possibly grandaddy, after all this time) of killer shark flicks, and that's the all-time classic, Steven Spielberg's Jaws. But more than that, his efforts spawned an official series quite apart from the rash of cash-ins, one of which was Italian rip-off Great White, which was not to be confused with this largely Australian production despite the same title and obvious debts to what had gone before. That meant you were not simply comparing it to the first blockbuster, but the three sequels, which had in effect covered all the elements of shark horrors with as much rigour as they could muster, not to mention coining a selection of cliches which were shamelessly raided ever since.

Now, as long as you accept that the notion humans have much to fear from sharks is mostly nonsense since people slaughter thousands more sharks every year than sharks ever slaughter people, as after all humanity has made many species of the carnivorous fish endangered either through catching them as a macho food or destroying their supplies of fish to eat, thus causing shark numbers to dwindle alarmingly, then you can have a bit of fun with this most derivative of genres. That's bearing in mind that if you have seen one of these items, it's debatable whether you really need to see any more: even something fairly respected like The Shallows is full of foolishness that echoes a whole lot of stuff you will have seen before in other places. Great White (2021) was in no way an innovator, unless you were a huge fan of drone shots.

Yes, those drones glide over the surface of the azure ocean and the bright, sandy beaches of the shorelines as if they were more important than the reason we were here, which was to see attractive actors pretend to be eaten by toothy fish. Indeed, once we had established that Charlie and Kaz were taking their friendly chef Benny (Te Kohe Tuhaka) and the borderline abusive husband Joji (Tim Kano) and cowed wife Michelle (Kimie Tsukakoshi) to a remote island for a break (though actually to scatter some ashes of a relative), we had to get them in the water somehow. Therefore they stumble across the remains of the bloke we saw munched at the prologue, and go looking to see if they can find his girlfriend, which is where the allusions (or copies) to the Jaws franchise crop up: the shark downing an aircraft so the cast can end up in a precarious raft (Jaws 2), the way there's two of them (Jaws 3D) and the way the sharks roar (Jaws: The Revenge, we couldn't leave you out). Given the only way people can die is to deliberately push them in the water, that's precisely what happens, which should give you an idea of how grimfaced and daft this was. So, no award-winner, but if you needed more shark action, it filled a hole. Music by Tim Count.

[Great White is out on:

DVD 17th May 2021
Download 17th May 2021.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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