Sharks in Venice (Review)

Sharks in Venice

aka Shark in Venice

Directed by Danny Lerner
Written by Danny Lerner and Les Weldon

Sharks in Venice (or Shark in Venice, as the film’s name changes versus the DVD box and the title screen) sounds like it should be one of the best shark films ever. The idea is so obvious and yet so not obvious that no one came up with it. It should be an instant win. But… Someone didn’t tell Nu Image films, who instead of making an awesome film decided to just add some sharks to a mediocre treasure hunt film. The sharks serve so little purpose in the film if they were removed entirely no one would notice. It is one of the greatest shames of the made for SciFi Channel genre. And that is a genre with a lot of shames.

We got the least talented Baldwin brother running around Venice with Scarlett Johansson’s sister while someone who is not related to famous people menaces them and there are sharks who may be related to Jaws, but only on their mother’s side. And Stephen Baldwin dives for a lost treasure.

David Franks (Stephen Baldwin) – David Franks is a diver who teaches a diving class in college. That doesn’t involve actual diving. After his father becomes shark food, David Franks gets involved in a hunt for an ancient treasure and mob bosses and sharks. Just a normal day in Italy.
Laura (Vanessa Johansson) – David’s girlfriend who comes to Venice with him and tries to keep him from doing dumb things. But she didn’t figure on the mob kidnapping her! Also an amazing sharpshooter who brutally guns down mob enforcers. Don’t make this chick mad at you!
Vito Clemenza (Giacomo Gonnella) – The crime boss who spends his family’s money looking for lost treasure. And on importing sharks to release in the water to guard the treasure. Because sharks are cheaper than some hired goons, I guess.
Lt. Sofia Totti (Hilda van der Meulen) – Italian police officer who is on the take. But has a change of heart because the script says so.
Sharks (CGI and Stock Footage) – They are sharks! And they are in Venice! And it should be cool, but it totally isn’t. WAAAAHHHH!!!!!!

We got divers diving in Venice when they totally get eaten by sharks one by one! And the people running the operation (including famous mafia gangster Vito Clemenza) refuse to tell the other divers after each one gets eaten.

In a non-water street city, Professor David Franks (professor of Diveology) learns his father died in a diving accident, we immediately know he is one of the shark food but David does not. David’s girlfriend Laura says she is going with him to Italy to collect the body.

Lt. Sofia Totti is there to meet them at the morgue. There are two bodies of assistants, and David realizes they were killed by sharks and not in a propeller accident as stated. Is the medical examiner one of the stars of Shark Attack 3: Megalodon? He is! It is Bashar Rahal, who also shows up in Basilisk: The Serpent King.

The police captain lets David dive for his father’s body, but only for 48 hours and with Lt. Tottie there. And the captain repeats “No sharks!” like he is Coily screeching “No Springs!” Dad’s apartment is ransacked, but dad hid stuff in a suitcase off a rope out the window. The natural hiding place.

Hey, a flashback history lesson about the 8th crusade. There is an orgy of violence in the flashback, but the point is there is King Solomon’s treasure that was plundered and Marco Polo’s fleet brought the treasure to Venice, then everyone was murdered and the treasure was lost.

David and a second diver we’ll call Deadmeat dive down to the spot where the bodies were recovered, to look for the missing body of dad. Stock footage of a shark is swimming around but we also got lots and lots of street views of Venice. It is a beautiful city, but I want blood, not a tourist advert. David finds his dad’s watch. Deadmeat gets sharked the frak up. David is bit and escapes up through a hole in the ceiling of the cavern he is in that leads to a cave basement.

The cavern has lots of old statues and skeletons and Indiana Jones spear traps triggered by rock triggers (and head slicer traps!) Will David pull out his whip now? Will Dr. Octopus want him to throw the Idol? And where is Short Round? David finds the treasure and takes an emerald. David then has to swim back out, but is attacked again…maybe…it turns out to be a blood-loss illusion.

David wakes up in the hospital. He is going to leave town, but on way out contacted by people who hired dad. He has a dinner meeting with Vito Clemenza, who wants to offer David $20 million to go back, and has a $2 million advance right there. Laura says no.

Meanwhile, a drunk couple out by a dock get shark-chomped! Take that, imbibers of alcohol!

We get a guided tour of Venice with David pointing out the sights to Laura. They are followed by rude mob members who kidnap Laura. That’s pretty rude. The police give David the cold shoulder because the Italian police wouldn’t really care about an international kidnapping incident.

The movie then remembers it is a shark movie and has a gondola ferried by a Ted Danson lookalike get chomped by a shark. People scream in response to many shots of shark stock footage.

David is put in a guarded hotel room, but some guys just break into it by sliding over from ropelines in the building across the street and try to drug David. He fights them off, but the ensuing gunbattle results in two dead police guards and one dead kidnapper. The other two chase David through the open cafes of Venice (at one point the two bad guys briefly become three bad guys, then they reduce in number back to two. I guess it was temporary mitosis!)

David fights one of the kidnappers in a basement, the battle involves 2x4s, a chainsaw, and many chairs. That’s a good wrestling match, but this isn’t a wrestling movie. The kidnapper spills the beans that Laura is on a boat when David threatens to buzzsaw his head. Then kidnappers on motorcycles shoot the cops who have been running to the disturbance for the last five minutes or so. David goes on the boat and he is kidnapped. Idiot.

Vito Clemenza reveals he is the one bringing in sharks to discourage other people diving. And Lt. Sofia Totti is one of his people! The kidnapped Laura will be killed if David doesn’t dive. There will be two other guys with him. They dive in, and one guy is chomped almost immediately, the guy with all the tracking equipment.

David shoots the shark with an exploding harpoon. Yes, and exploding harpoon. They kidnapped his wife but gave him a exploding harpoon.

David and other guy make it to the caves. They find the treasure, then the other guy is ordered to kill David. So they have a fight among the treasure. This involves guns, shields, swords, and fists. The bad guy is eventually killed by a falling gate trap.

Vito Clemenza sends two more divers to kill David. One of them gets eaten by sharks as well, the other makes it to cave with machine gun. David blows up a bunch of gunpowder that was lying around the cave, killing the diver and escaping at the same time. That’s great that they had damp gunpowder from the 13th century lying around that is still explosive! And it remained dry in the damp river caves for 1000 years.

David returns to where his wife is held by Vito Clemenza rather fast. Vito will shoot Laura unless he gives up treasure location. He does, then he’s gonna get shot until Lt. Sofia Totti switches sides and threatens Vito with a gun. Sofia is then shot by other guards and now David and Vito are fist-fighting while Laura picks up a pistol and starts blasting away the guards. It is a good thing Laura is pretty handy in a firefight! What does she teach at the college, Marksmanshipology?

The police storm the area (how were they contacted? It is a mystery!) as David and Vito’s fight has spilled into the water. We all know what that means… Yes, Vito gets eaten by one of his own sharks. He got all Frankensteined. Shark Frankensteined. Hey, that could be a cool movie, Shark Frankenstein…

Everyone is arrested or shot after a lengthy gun battle. David tells the police chief that Lt. Sofia Totti saved their lives. As he and Laura leave, he gives her a necklace he grabbed from the treasure. The end!

Hey, what about the sharks? You know, the murderous sharks? Isn’t anyone going to take care of the shark problem? You know, the Sharks in Venice problem? Hello? Anyone?

Rated 3/10 (Treasure!, Everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you explode!)

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