May 14, 2014


Shitty Flicks is an ongoing column that celebrates the most hilariously incompetent, amusingly pedestrian, and mind-bogglingly stupid movies ever made by people with a bit of money, some prior porn-directing experience, and no clue whatsoever. It is here you will find unrestrained joy in movies meant to terrify and thrill, but instead poke at your funny bone with their weird, mutant, camp-girl penis. 

WARNING: I tend to give away major plot points and twist endings in my reviews because, whatever. Shut up.

I went to Venice once. It was beautiful. The canals smelled of rainwater. Bistros perfumed with the scent of fresh garlic and spicy meat-a-ball-as. 

"Hey-a, Giuseppe!" called the dude operating the gondola. "Ciao, bella!"

It was my favorite day.

And then a shark bit my fucking neck off. 

I was never the same after that.

Because I was neckless.

Of all the sub-genres previously featured on Shitty Flicks, killer shark seems to be leading the pack. Is that because I gravitate toward them, since I find sharks to be genuinely captivating creatures? Or is it because there are so many bad movies made about them?

You might could ask director Danny Lerner, because he's not only made three killer shark movies, he's also made three of the worst killer shark movies of all time.

America's got talent!

Sharks in Venice begins with brilliance; after showing some stock shots of Venice, we cut immediately to Bulgaria, where Bulgarian actors sport the absolute worst Italian accents since Lady and the Tramp. A crew of who-fucking-knows sit behind computer screens in the most archaic looking command center since North Korea's nuclear missile tests. Turns out these dudes are looking for artifacts from the expeditions of Marco Polo (Italian!) within the canals of Venice. They locate some kind of buried plaque, leaving one of the command-center guys to call out "Grazie!" (Italian!) for no reason. Then things go very poorly very quickly.

Before I can wonder if composer John Debney was paid for the use of his score from End of Days, a shark comes up quickly from nowhere and makes all these divers sleep with the fishes.

Cut to: Professor (of diving!) Stephen Baldwin giving a presentation on the S.S. Andrea Doria (Italian!), a real ship that sank in the mid-1900s. When he air-quotes the word "unsinkable," try not to notice how fat he's gotten.

"I miss you, chalupas..."

Because there's never been a scene in a movie before in which an esteemed professor is giving a presentation to his class when he is interrupted by a school official, and must leave the class to confer with this official, well, that happens. The official tells him that is father – one of the divers in the film's intro – has gone missing. Professor Baldwin almost looks like he might react to this news, but then doesn't. He might as well have looked directly into the camera and said, "Well, off to Venice, then."

And off he goes, with his girlfriend who works at the same university and apparently knew the bad news before he did.

In Venice, Professor Baldwin is forced to identify the bodies of the two divers.

"Is either of these men your father?" asks the Bulgtalian police detective, as a coroner insensitively whips off one of the sheets concealing the dead men, which they love to do in movies for some reason, and I have to tell you, if someone did that to me in real life, I would say, "What the fuck kind of horrid monster are you?" and I would probably stick that coroner's head directly into a pile of human man poop, which is probably somewhere in every coroner's office, no matter how well hidden.

Anyway, based on Professor Baldwin's non-reaction, it's hard to say whether or not his father lies upon the corpse bed.

"This was not a propeller accident," he says, stealing a line from a better film about sharks. Music sting. "It was a shark."

We meet some more "Italian" characters, one of whom is named Captain "Bonasera." I shit you not and fucking seriously: his name is Captain "Good Evening."

While speaking with Captain Good Evening, Professor Baldwin asks to help with the investigation. Captain Good Evening agrees, but forbids him from speaking to the press. He also tells him:

"Venice has no sharks. Capisci?"

My ancestry has never been prouder.

If animals were given royalty payments, this specific fucking shark
would be rich, given how many times the SciFi Channel have used him.

At his missing father's flat, Professor Baldwin finds a hidden briefcase that contains a notebook, which brings with it a chorus of soprano voices whenever one looks upon it with immense intrigue. The notebook provides a lot more back story on Italian conflicts than a killer shark movie has ever needed. All you need to know is, one group of Italians sacked another group of Italians, stole a bunch of treasures, and then fucking lost that same treasure instantly. 

Wait a minute – missing father? Venice? Historical conspiracies? Hidden treasure? A father's notebook of clues?

I guess it is time to rip off The Last Crusade.

Professor Baldwin and a couple other prepackaged shark dinners go locate the treasure, I guess? Or find his missing father? Both?

It doesn't matter, because a shark comes along and says hi to everyone with its teeth. Professor Baldwin survives the attack and finds himself in an underground tunnel, out of the water, and discovers a whole mess of treasures.

AND skeletons!

Professor Baldwin takes a step further into this tunnel and sets off a series of booby-traps that nearly kill him.

Seriously, people – you may have well just called your film Fat Indiana Baldwin and the Last Mysterious Mystery of Marco Polo OMG Sharks.

He finds some kind of handsome rhinestone, gets back in the water, and is instantly attacked by the shark again, and somehow miraculously survives, even though there's no way he could have. Honestly, the only thing that saved his life was the film cutting to the next scene of him waking up in a hospital bed, where even he looks irritated at how cheap this is.

"Someone's in my butt!"

Later, Professor Baldwin and his girlfriend have dinner with Vito Clemenza (yep; Puzo/Ford Coppola were truly honored), and the film is finally blessed with its sole actually-Italian actor playing an Italian. Clemenza offers Professor Baldwin a buttload of money to help him find the rest of the treasure, but he declines, because of pride or something.


Meanwhile, some Bulgarian teens are pretending to be both Italian and drunk...right next to the canal. If you guessed what happened next – an unsurprising shark attack married to the worst CGI you have ever seen – well, no one's proud of you.

Professor Baldwin and his girlfriend walk the streets of "Venice," as the poorest Dean Martin imitation the filmmakers could find croons on the soundtrack and soothes the savage soul. Watch as Girlfriend wears an orange scarf and looks at all the surroundings. Then, watch as Professor Baldwin buys that same orange scarf for her later in the scene. (?)

And then watch as Girlfriend gets kidnapped by Clemenza's henchmen.

Mi amore!

Oh, 49 minutes in and Girlfriend has a name. It's Laura.

Another shark attack occurs in the canal; a poor unfortunate gondola driver is mercilessly attacked by a bunch of Animal Planet footage, and his black-and-white striped pajamas are torn to shreds.

Back with Professor Baldwin, he looks nearly as bored as I feel. As he attempts to sleep, a bunch of dudes in ski masks attack him in his hotel room and try to kill him, but because Professor Baldwin is the hero in this film, he covers his head with his hands and flees down the hotel corridor, bellowing, "He's got a gun!" and a bunch of hotel security lose their lives.


The longest chase scene ever filmed in Bulgaria then unfolds, where Professor Baldwin manages to take out his pursuers one by one. He threatens the last man with a buzz saw into spilling the beans on where Laura has been taken. It works until he is attacked by a bunch of bikers, and even MORE security is killed in the process.

Yo, but P. Baldwin don't care, 'cuz he steals a boat and he's out of there, his man-boobs pressing against his tight shirt as he looks majestic under the Bulgarian moon.

His evasion of Clemenza's men is short-lived, as he's kidnapped a few minutes later.

I'm exhausted.

So, it turns out Clemenza has purposely been putting baby sharks into the canals to keep people from diving there. He wants the treasure THAT badly. 

With Laura still being held hostage, P. Bald has no choice but to dive into the shark-invested waters to recover the treasure he'd earlier discovered. 

It plays out pretty much the way you'd expect: the sharks eat everyone but P. Bald and one of Clemenza's henchmen, who have a slap/punch/gun fight in the treasure room, which is so beyond thrilling that Stephen Baldwin manages to look awake for most of it. Baldwin literally kills the henchman with laughter by telling him several behind-the-scene anecdotes about the filming of Bio-Dome.

P. Bald demands that Clemenza trade Laura for the treasure, which he doesn't go for, and then the police randomly show up, leading to the longest shoot-out ever filmed in Bulgaria. Clemenza falls into the water and gets eaten by sharks, and if you didn't see that coming, I've got a bridge I can sell you.

"I stole this from that fat Goonie."

In full view of everyone, P. Bald takes out a huge piece of stolen treasure and proposes to Laura with it.

"As long as we don't honeymoon in Venice!" she replies.

Might I recommend Bulgaria?


  1. LOL, I have not seen this, but your review is very entertaining! I doubt this one will ever be seen by my eyes, but if I'm ever in the right mood, or tired enough, I may eventually see this one.

    1. You should check it out only to see just how bored Stephen Baldwin can look in a movie.