Thursday, 19 March 2015

Night of the Sharks


Directed by: Tonino Ricci
Screenplay: Tito Capri & Tonino Ricci
Starring: Treat Williams, Janet Agren, Antonio Fargas, John Steiner, & Christopher Connelly

Now here’s a film that may even test the patience of the most avid and hardened fan of Italian action schlock from the 80s (that’ll be me then!). Despite the presence of the always ace Treat Williams, the awesome artwork featured above and below and  the promise of some crazy shark action, Night of the Sharks (great title!) is as bonkers as any mid 80s Italian flick featuring a couple of American stars (collecting pay cheques!) as there’s ever been but unfortunately, not always in a good way.

First off, and despite the title and artwork, Night of the Sharks is not a creature feature. There is a shark (called Cyclops!) that has some kind of personal vendetta against Treat’s character (and even taunts him by stealing his boat in one of the more absurd moments: of which there are many!) but the film is more about (or at least seems to be!) stolen discs containing top secret information, shifty rich people trying to get said CD back, a bit of action, some sunny locations and lots (and lots) of contrivance to make all these elements work and somehow get Treat and his buddy Paco (Fargas) involved in it all.  

Yeah that sounds like a recipe for awesomeness but, sadly, it ain’t. Well at least it isn’t to begin with as the first 45 minutes is a bit of a slog and coupled with the random nature of everything means nothing really makes sense. Treat and Fargas seem to be having a great time in the lovely Dominican Republic locations: being buddies, getting into bar fights, wearing Hawaiian shirts! However, the so called bad guys seem to be out of some misjudged comedy, it takes an age for the “top secret CD” to end up in Treat’s hands (who then inexplicably feeds it to the shark: to then only have to go and try and retrieve it come the finale!), Christopher Connelly (Cobra Mission, Bronx Warriors) shows up as a priest (who likes to drink and carry guns!) in charge of some orphan children (huh!), Treat’s ex-wife (Argen) is also shoe horned in (again for inexplicable reasons!) for him to bed and then for her to die (!) and finally come the last 20 minutes the action kicks in as Treat takes down the bad guys with some homemade Molotov cocktails and, err, pretending to be dead!

Hold on, I’m actually making this sound awesome and I guess, after all, maybe it wasn’t that bad: in a very low rent way. The groovy musical score is pretty good, the locations are often lovely to look at and the last 20 minutes or so is some action packed fun. Oh yeah, and there’s that shark which keeps popping up randomly to cause trouble: so there’s that also. So, despite all the naffness (and there is quite a bit of it!), Night of the Sharks is still oddly entertaining and is worth a view if it’s late at night and one has exhausted all the other cheap 80s naff Italian action films in one’s collection.

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