Cinemax Friday: The Hit List (1993, directed by William Webb)


Charlie Pike (Jeff Fahey) is an assassin with a conscience.  He learned how to kill while serving in the military and now, he uses his skills to help out the Committee, a shadowy organization of lawyers who are determined to take out the leaders of organized crime.  When Charlie announces that he has decided to retire from the killing game, the Committee’s Peter Mayhew (James Coburn!) asks him to take on one more job as a personal favor to him.

Mayhew puts Charlie in contact with the beautiful and alluring Jordan (Yancy Butler, making her film debut).  Jordan is the widow of a businessman who was murdered by the mob.  Jordan asks Charlie to kill the man who killed her husband.  Charlie agrees but, after he does the job, he discovers that the man he killed was actually a government informant who was scheduled to testify to Congress!  Someone double-crossed Charlie and now, Charlie’s got both the police and another group of assassins trying to track him down.  Jordan claims that Mayhew told her that the informant was responsible for her husband’s death.  Mayhew denies it and says that Jordan must have set Charlie up.  Charlie has to figure out who to trust before it’s too late.  Complicating matters is that Charlie and Jordan have become lovers.

The Hit List is essentially a 40s film noir reinterpreted for the direct-to-video age.  Jeff Fahey has the Alan Ladd role while Yancy Butler does her best imitation of Lana Turner.  Fahey was one of the best actors to routinely star in the neo-noirs that used to populate late night Cinemax and The Hit List features one of his best performances.  Fahey is a convincing killer but he still brings enough humanity to the role that you believe Charlie could find himself falling for Jordan.  Yancy Butler is a sultry and sexy femme fatale and James Coburn is James Coburn, supercool, slick, and always in control.  It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out which one of the two is betraying Fahey but all three commit to their roles and give enjoyable performances.  I especially liked the scene where Mayhew accuses Jordan of double-crossing Charlie and James Coburn grins like he’s having the time of his life.  James Coburn was one of those actors who could liven up and improve any scene in any movie and he proves that here.

The Hit List is a well-made B-noir that’s elevated by its cast and which will leave you nostalgic for Cinemax in the 90s.

When Justice Fails (1999, directed by Allan A. Goldstein)


In New York City, two men have been murdered in the same ritualistic way.  Both of the men were accused rapists who beat the system, getting their charges dismissed due to legal technicalities.  When detectives Tom Chaney (Jeff Fahey) and Rod Lambeau (Carl Marotte) discover that assistant D.A. Katy Wesson (Marlee Matlin) was the prosecutor on both of the dead men’s cases, she becomes their number one suspect.  However, Chaney has his doubt about her guilt, especially after he goes on a few dates and starts sleeping with her.  Katy is an enigma with a traumatic childhood and penchant for picking up men in nightclubs but is she a murderer?  Other suspects include a creepy artist named Josh (Charles Powell), who also works as the deaf Katy’s interpreter, and Katy’s overdramatic mother (Monique Mercure).

That a direct-to-video thriller from 1999 would be a rip-off of Basic Instinct is not a shock.  Almost every thriller released between 1992 and 2000 was at least partially cloned from Basic Instinct.  What sets When Justice Fails apart is that it’s probably the only Basic Instinct clone to actually feature it’s two main characters discussing the ending of Basic Instinct post-coitus.  (For the record, Chaney thinks that the final shot means that Sharon Stone was the murderer while Katy says that the ice pick showed that the director was playing a joke on the audience.)  I guess When Justice Fails deserves some credit for being willing to so directly acknowledge the film that inspired it but, when you’re a mediocre film, you probably don’t want to intentionally remind audiences that they could be watching something better.

When Justice Fails actually gets off to a good start, with Jeff Fahey playing another one of his driven loners and Marlee Matlin really committing to the role of the film’s femme fatale.  The movie even manages to avoid the usual awkwardness that comes from having a hearing character repeating everything that a deaf character either signs or writes down.  The early scenes have a Law & Order feel to them, with Chaney and Lambeau interviewing witnesses on the busy streets of New York and also talking to a world-weary coroner.  It would have been a surprise if Stephen Hill had suddenly shown up and said, “Your case is weak and this trial could drag on through election day.  Make him an offer.  Man 1.  Depraved indifference.”

Unfortunately, once Chaney sleeps with Katy, the movie becomes increasingly implausible and goes downhill.  There just aren’t enough suspects to generate any suspense over who the murderer is ultimately going to turn out to be.  The surprise at the end is only a surprise because it didn’t occur to Chaney to run a routine background check on one of his suspects, something that I would think most cops would do at the start of a murder investigation.  Marlee Matlin is a terrific actress who is always interesting to watch but When Justice Fails ultimately fails to be very memorable.

Cinemax Friday: Extramarital (1998, directed by Yael Russcol)


Traci Lords in Extramarital

Having quit her corporate job, Elizabeth (Traci Lords) has taken a position as an intern at We@r Magazine.  (Yes, that’s how it’s spelled.)  She’s not making much money and she and her husband, Eric (Jack Kerrigan), are really struggling to pay the bills.  However, Elizabeth is getting to work for her college mentor, Griffin (Jeff Fahey), and she’s pursuing her dream.  Unlike Eric, who surrendered his fantasies of being a professional photographer, Elizabeth is determined to make it as a writer.

The only problem is that she can’t seem to get anything published.  Griffin tells her that she’s too repressed and that she doesn’t put enough of herself into her stories.  He orders her to “confront your demons and nail your endings.”  Elizabeth gets a chance to do just that when she meets Ann (Maria Diaz).  Ann says that, like Elizabeth, she spent her youth at a Catholic boarding school and she married the first man that she ever had sex with.  However, Ann is now in an open marriage and she says that it’s the greatest thing that ever happened to her.  Intrigued, Elizabeth decides to write a story about Ann.  But, when Ann disappears, Elizabeth fears that she may have been murdered and she decides to track down Ann’s latest lover, Bob (Brian Bloom), herself.

Extramarital is the type of thriller that used to air on Cinemax, late at night, in the 90s.  In fact, it’s such a 90s film that the entire plot hinges on deciphering a garbled message that was left on a broken answering machine.  Like most of the Cinemax thrillers of the era, the plot borrows a lot from Basic Instinct and no one ever does anything intelligent.  (To cite just one example, after Elizabeth discovers the someone is planning to kill her, she calls everyone but the police.)  The film deserves some credit for actually having the guts to cast Traci Lords as someone who is sexually repressed.  Griffin calls her the “Virgin Adulteress,” which probably would have been a better title than Extramarital.

Because of her background in the adult film industry and the fact that even her non-porn roles usually required her to show a lot of skin, Traci Lords never got much respect as an actress but, as she shows here and in her other 90s direct-to-video films, she had more talent than she was given credit for.  Lords seems to really invest herself in the role of Elizabeth and her performance is often the only thing that holds this film together.  Her best moment is when she discovers that she’s been betrayed and she trashes a room while screaming, “Fucking liar!”  Traci could destroy a room with the best of them.

The film’s ending doesn’t make much sense and you’ll figure out who the main villain is just by process of elimination.  That’s one problem with low-budget whodunits.  There usually aren’t enough people in the cast to really keep you guessing.  But Traci Lords is both sexy and sympathetic as Elizabeth and Jeff Fahey gives another memorably weird performance.  As far as late night Cinemax features from the 1990s are concerned, Extramarital delivers exactly what it promises.

The TSL’s Horror Grindhouse: Unspeakable (dir by Thomas J. Wright)


So, here’s a few good things about the 2002 film, Unspeakable.

First off, Jeff Fahey plays the governor of New Mexico.  Any film that presents us with a world where Jeff Fahey can be elected governor of an actual state has to be worth something.  Seriously, I’ve long thought that the country would be more interesting if actors were elected to run each state.  Here in Texas, for instance, there was a movement to draft Tommy Lee Jones a few years ago.  (Personally, I’d rather live under Governor McConaughey.)  Steven Seagal (agck!) apparently wanted to run for governor of Arizona and, of course, Cynthia Nixon actually ran up in New York.  There’s always a chance of Alec Baldwin running for something and, of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger actually did govern California for two terms.  Val Kilmer, I should add, came close to running for governor of New Mexico, where this film is set!  Personally, I’d vote for Jeff Fahey over Val Kilmer,  It’s the eyes.

Another good thing about Unspeakable is that it features Dennis Hopper playing a crazed prison warden who rambles about how much he enjoys sending people to the electric chair.  “I am God!” Hopper says at one point and you have to enjoy any scene that features Dennis Hopper saying, “I am God!” in a southwestern accent.

Another fun thing about Unspeakable is that it features Dina Meyer and Lance Henriksen as scientists!  Meyer invents this weird little headband thing that allows her to look into your mind and see your thoughts.  Let me repeat this for those of you who might have missed the significance: DINA MEYER HAS INVENTED A MACHINE THAT ALLOW HER TO SEE EXACTLY WHAT IS HAPPENING IN SOMEONE’S MIND!  If that wasn’t amazing enough, there’s also the fact that no one seems to be that impressed.  In fact, no one really cares.  Everyone just kind of shrugs it off.

Meyer and Henriksen ask for permission to test their invention out on death row inmates.  Sure, why not?  It’s not like Warden Hopper cares what happens to the inmates, right?  Meyer discovers that one of the inmates is innocent!  Unfortunately, no one cares.  Gov. Fahey, who is also Meyer’s former lover, refuses to commute the sentence because he’s got an election coming up and voters love the death penalty.  And so, that innocent man goes off to the electric chair.

But wait!  There’s a new prisoner on death row.  His name is Jesse Mowatt and he’s played by Pavan Grover, the doctor who wrote this film.  It turns out that he is America’s most prolific serial killer!  He’s murdered hundreds of people, all because of some weird issue he has with religion.  Anyway, it’s pretty obvious that this killer has a date with the electric chair but first, Meyer gets to use her amazing-invention-that-nobody-cares-about on him.  What she discovers is that this serial killer might be a demon-possessed monster who can use his mind to drive other people to do things like rip their faces off.  Or maybe he’s just really clever.  He does definitely have super strength and beats up any guard that comes near him.  It never occurs to the guards to use handcuffs on him or anything.  That’s just the type of prison that it is.

Anyway, I appreciated the film’s anti-death penalty theme but the film still got a bit too heavy-handed for my tastes.  Pavan Grover wrote himself a pretty good part but he doesn’t really have the screen presence necessary to do the whole irresistible sociopath thing.  Still, I appreciate any movie that features Jeff Fahey as a governor.

FAHEY 2024!

 

The TSL’s Horror Grindhouse: Psycho III (dir by Anthony Perkins)


Norman Bates is back!

Released in 1986 and directed by Anthony Perkins himself, Psycho III picks up a few months after Psycho II ended.  Norman (Anthony Perkins, of course) is still free.  He’s still got his motel.  He’s still talking to his dead mother.  Of course, at the end of Psycho II, Norman was told that the woman who Norman thought was his mother actually wasn’t his mother.  Instead, Emma Spool told Norman that she was his mother, which led to Norman promptly hitting her with a shovel and then keeping her preserved body hidden away in the motel.  Got all that?  Great, let’s move on….

In Psycho III, business suddenly starts booming at the Bates Motel!  All sorts of people come by to visit.

For instance, there’s the obnoxious tourists who show up at the motel so they can watch a football game and get drunk.  Future director Katt Shea plays one of the unfortunate tourists, who ends up suffering perhaps the most undignified death in the history of the Psycho franchise.  Shea later ends up being stored in the motel’s ice chest.  At one point, the local sheriff grabs a piece of ice and tosses it in his mouth without noticing that it’s covered in blood.

And then there’s Duane Duke (a young Jeff Fahey!), who is superhot but also super sleazy.  For reasons that are never quite clear, Norman hires Duke to be the assistant manager at the motel.  Duke turns out to be thoroughly untrustworthy but he’s Jeff Fahey so he remains strangely appealing even when he shouldn’t be.

Red (Juliette Cummins) shows up at the motel so that she can have sex with Duke and then get stabbed to death while taking off her top in a phone booth.  That, I guess, is Psycho III‘s equivalent of the first film’s shower scene.  Later, Duke comes across Norman mopping up all the blood in the phone booth but he doesn’t say anything about it.  Duke knows better than to ask why there’s blood in the phone booth.

Tracy Venable (Roberta Maxwell) is a journalist whose sole purpose in life is to prove that Norman murdered Emma Spool.  Tracy’s main function in this film is to explain just why exactly so many different women have claimed to be Norman’s mother.  It’s a rather complicated story and you’ll get a migraine if you think about it for too long.

And finally, there’s Maureen (Diana Scarwid), the former nun who has lost her faith and her sanity.  She shows up at the motel and stays in Marion Crane’s old room.  She takes a bath instead of a shower and slits her wrists.  When Norman storms into the room to kill her, the barely lucid Maureen mistakes him for the Virgin Mary and sees his knife as being a crucifix.  Maureen survives and Norman is hailed as a hero for rescuing her.  Later, Norman and Maureen fall in love.  You can guess how that goes.

When compared to the first sequel, Psycho III is much more of a standard slasher film and there’s certainly never any doubt over who is doing the killing.  However, Perkins again does a great job in the role of Norman, making him both sympathetic and creepy.  Fahey, Scarwid, Maxwell, and Hugh Gillin (as the hilariously clueless sheriff) all provide good support.  There’s really not a single character in this film who doesn’t have at least one odd or memorable quirk.  Duane Duke, for instance, is one of the most amazingly sleazy characters in the history of American cinema.  Just when you think that the character can’t get any worse, he proves you wrong.

As mentioned above, Perkins directed this film.  It was one of two movies that Perkins would direct before his death.  As a director, Perkins had a good visual sense, even if he did allow the narrative to meander a bit.  There’s nothing particularly subtle about Perkins’s direction and several of the scenes — like the sex scene between Duke and Red — are so over the top that they become rather fascinating to watch.  That said, there was really no longer any need to be subtle when it came to Norman Bates and his story.

With the exception of the weird Gus Van Sant remake with Vince Vaughn, Psycho III would be the last Psycho film to be released into theaters.  It would also be Perkins’s second-to-last time to play Norman.  (The last time would be in a 1990 made-for-TV sequel, Psycho IV: The Beginning.  Despite it’s title, Psycho IV pretty much ignored everything that happened in the previous two sequels.)  Perkins passed away in 1992, at the age of 60 but the character of Norman Bates would live on, both in his own performances and in the later work of Freddie Highmore in Bates Motel.

A Movie A Day #217: Wyatt Earp (1994, directed by Lawrence Kasdan)


Once upon a time, there were two movies about the legendary Western lawman (or outlaw, depending on who is telling the story) Wyatt Earp.  One came out in 1993 and the other came out in 1994.

The 1993 movie was called Tombstone.  That is the one that starred Kurt Russell was Wyatt, with Sam Elliott and Bill Paxton in the roles of his brothers and Val Kilmer playing Doc Holliday.  Tombstone deals with the circumstances that led to the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.  “I’m your huckleberry,” Doc Holliday says right before his gunfight with Michael Biehn’s Johnny Ringo.  Tombstone is the movie that everyone remembers.

The 1994 movies was called Wyatt Earp.  This was a big budget extravaganza that was directed by Lawrence Kasdan and starred Kevin Costner as Wyatt.  Dennis Quaid played Doc Holliday and supporting roles were played by almost everyone who was an active SAG member in 1994.  If they were not in Tombstone, they were probably in Wyatt Earp.  Gene Hackman, Michael Madsen, Tom Sizemore, Jeff Fahey, Mark Harmon, Annabeth Gish, Gene Hackman, Bill Pullman, Isabella Rossellini, JoBeth Williams, Mare Winningham, and many others all appeared as supporting characters in the (very) long story of Wyatt Earp’s life.

Of course, Wyatt Earp features the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral but it also deals with every other chapter of Earp’s life, including his multiple marriages, his career as a buffalo hunter, and his time as a gold prospector.  With a three-hour running time, there is little about Wyatt Earp’s life that is not included.  Unfortunately, with the exception of his time in Tomstone, Wyatt Earp’s life was not that interesting.  Neither was Kevin Costner’s performance.  Costner tried to channel Gary Cooper in his performance but Cooper would have known better than to have starred in a slowly paced, three-hour movie.  The film is so centered around Costner and his all-American persona that, with the exception of Dennis Quaid, the impressive cast is wasted in glorified cameos.  Wyatt Earp the movie tries to be an elegy for the old west but neither Wyatt Earp as a character nor Kevin Costner’s performance was strong enough to carry such heavy symbolism.  A good western should never be boring and that is a rule that Wyatt Earp breaks from the minute that Costner delivers his first line.

Costner was originally cast in Tombstone, just to leave the project so he could produce his own Wyatt Earp film.  As a big, Oscar-winnng star, Costner went as far as to try to have production of Tombstone canceled.  Ironically, Tombstone turned out to be the film that everyone remember while Wyatt Earp is the film that most people want to forget.

A Movie A Day #194: Lethal Tender (1996, directed by John Bradshaw)


Detective David Chase (Jeff Fahey) should not be mistaken for the creator of The Sopranos.  Instead, he is an eccentric and tough Chicago policeman, the type of cop who appears to have seen Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon one too many times.  His superiors send Detective Chase and his partner to keep an eye on a strike occurring outside of a water purification plant.  Chase, however, is less interested in the strike and more interested in hitting on Melissa (Carrie-Ann Moss), who works at the plant.

Before you can say Die Hard All Over Again, a band of terrorists led by Montessi (Kim Coates) seizes control of the plant.  Montessi threatens to poison all of Chicago’s drinking water but, what the authorities don’t realize, is that the attack is really just a distraction, designed to keep everyone from noticing Mr. Turner (Gary Busey) and his men running off with a bunch of stolen government bonds.  Since Bruce Willis, Steven Seagal, and even Jean-Claude Van Damme were busy, it is up to Jeff Fahey to save the water, the money, and the day!

A Die Hard rip-off starring Gary Busey, Kim Coates, and Jeff Fahey does not actually have to be any good.  All the movie has to do is let those three actors do their thing and it will be watchable.  That is certainly the case with Lethal Tender, which is entertaining even if it is, ultimately, just another predictable Die Hard ripoff.  Jeff Fahey does okay as the hero but Lethal Tender belongs to the villains.  This was made in the days when Gary Busey playing crazy was still enjoyable instead of just sad.  Realizing that he was going to have to compete with Busey’s legendary ability to overact, Coates chews every piece of scenery that he can get his hands on.  Launching a major terrorist strike to cover up a simple robbery might seem like overkill but watching Busey and Coates compete to see who can steal the most scenes is so much fun that it really doesn’t matter that Chicago’s drinking water might get poisoned as a result of their shenanigans.

For fans of Busey and Coates, Lethal Tender is required viewing.  For everyone else, it’s the most successful attempt ever made to transport the plot of Die Hard to a water filtration plant.

A Movie A Day #164: Split Decisions (1988, directed by David Drury)


Craig Sheffer seeks symbolic revenge and Gene Hackman picks up a paycheck in Split Decisions!

Ray McGuinn (Jeff Fahey) is a contender.  Ever since he let his father’s gym and signed with a sleazy boxing promoter, Ray has been waiting for his title shot.  His father, an ex-boxer turned trainer named Dan (Gene Hackman), has never forgiven Ray for leaving him.  Meanwhile, his younger brother — an amateur boxer and Olympic aspirant named Eddie (Craig Sheffer) — worships Ray and is overjoyed when Ray returns to the old neighborhood to fight “The Snake” Pedroza (Eddie Velez).  But then Ray is told that if he doesn’t throw the fight, he’ll never get a shot at a title bout.  When Ray refuses, The Snake and a group of thugs are sent to change his mind and Ray gets tossed out of a window.

Eddie is determined to avenge his brother’s death.  Does he do it by turning vigilante and tracking down the men who murdered his brother?  No, he turns pro and takes his brother’s place in the boxing ring!  Dan reluctantly trains him and Eddie enters the ring, looking for symbolic justice.  Symbolic justice just doesn’t have the same impact as Charles Bronson-style justice.

The idea of a barely known amateur turning professional and getting a chance to fight a contender feels just as implausible here as it did in Creed.  The difference is that Creed was a great movie so it did not matter if it was implausible.  To put it gently, Split Decisions is no Creed.  The boxing scenes are uninspired and even the training montage feels tired.  Look at Craig Sheffer run down the street while generic 80s music plays in the background.  Watch him spar in the ring.  Listen to Gene Hackman shout, “You’re dragging your ass out there!”  In the late 80s, Gene Hackman could have played a role like Dan in his sleep and he proves it by doing so here.  Underweight pretty boy Craig Sheffer is actually less convincing as a boxer than Damon Wayans was in The Great White Hype.

Split Decisions is another boxing movie that should have taken Duke’s advice.

A Movie A Day #104: True Blood (1989, directed by Richard Kerr)


Ten years after being wrongly accused of murdering a cop, Raymond Trueblood (Jeff Fahey) returns to the old neighborhood.  Ray has just finished a stint with the Marines and he is no longer the irresponsible hoodlum that he once was.  He wants to rescue his younger brother, Donny (Chad Lowe), from making the same mistakes that he made.  But Donny now hates Ray and is running with Ray’s former friend, Spider Masters (Billy Drago).  Spider is also responsible for framing Ray for killing the cop.  When he is not trying to save his brother, Ray falls in love with Jennifer Scott (Sherilyn Fenn), a tough waitress who is soon being menaced by Spider.

Like Crime Zone, True Blood is typical of the type of B-movies that Sherilyn Fenn was stuck in before being cast as Audrey Horne in Twin Peaks.  It’s a nothing part but Fenn is authentic and sincere in the part and, as usual, Fenn’s performance is one of the best things about the movie.

Overall, True Blood is predictable but it is still better than the typical late 80s B-movie.  Chad Lowe is never believable as a member of a street gang but Jeff Fahey does a good Clint Eastwood impersonation as Ray and Billy Drago is, as always, a great villain.  Fans of Dawn of the Dead will want to keep an eye out for Ken Foree as one of the detectives investigating Ray.

Let’s Talk About Atomic Shark!


In case you missed it, it is currently Shark Week on the SyFy network.  (Or, as theSnarkalecs and I like to call it, Snark Week!)  Sharknado 4 will be premiering on Sunday and, in honor of that historic event, SyFy has devoted this week to broadcasting some of their trademark original movies.  Along with showing such classics as Jersey Shore Shark Attack and Zombie Shark SyFy is also premiering several new shark films.

The first of those films premiered last night.  And its name was ….

ATOMIC SHARK!!!!

Atomic

Seriously, that’s a great name!  In a few of my Lifetime reviews, I’ve pointed out that there is an art to picking the perfect title for a Lifetime film.  Well, the same is true for a SyFy film.  A title like Atomic Shark tells the audience everything that they need to know.  On the simplest level, it lets the viewers know that the film is about a shark and that the shark is, in some way, atomic.  But even beyond that, a title like Atomic Shark announces, “This is going to be a fun movie!  Sit back, relax, and don’t worry too much about the specifics.  Just enjoy yourself.”

As I watched the movie last night, I saw a few people on twitter worrying about things like whether or not a shark could actually become atomic or whether the characters were acting like logical human beings.  Those people were missing the entire point of the film.  Seriously, you have to be the world’s biggest douchebag to actually nitpick a film that has a title like Atomic Shark.

The film takes place on the San Diego shoreline.  At first, it seems like a normal (if rather overcast) day at the beach.  Men in speedos.  Women in bikinis.  Lifeguards on duty.  Jeff Fahey steering a motor boat and barely noticing when a water skier is suddenly devoured by a glowing shark.  A kid pretending to drown, just so he can get some mouth-to-mouth.

And then there’s the drones.  There are drones flying up and down this beach.  The majority of them are lifeguard drones, which are used to deliver life vests to people drowning out in the middle of the ocean.  However, there are also a few drones being controlled by pervy little Fletcher (David Faustino), who films unsuspecting swimmers and joggers and then uploads the video to his site.  Even when confronted by an indignant lifeguard, Fletcher responds, “The beach is public domain!”

Well, the beach may be public domain but it’s about the become … atomic domain!

That’s right, there’s a glowing shark out there and it’s hungry!  Not only is it eating people but, because it’s radioactive, it’s setting them on fire too!  In fact, this shark is so radioactive that it’s causing sea food to become explosive.  When the local restaurant blows up, the authorities blame it on a gas leak but we know it was because of the radioactive plankton.

(The film also lets us know that the restaurant had four stars on Yelp before the explosion and only three stars after.)

Unfortunately, only one person truly believes in the existence of atomic shark.  Gina (Rachele Brooke Smith) is the greatest lifeguard who ever lived but, unfortunately, her superior, Reese (Adam Ambruso), is a dumbass jerk who doesn’t understand that workplace sexual harassment is no longer acceptable.  Since Gina can’t get any support from the authorities, she gathers together her own group of shark hunters and, before you cay say, “We’re going to need a bigger boat,” they set out to destroy the atomic shark!

One of those shark hunters is the boat captain played by Jeff Fahey and I have to say that I was so happy when I realized that Fahey was in this movie.  Jeff Fahey is one of those immensely likable actors who can make almost any line of dialogue memorable.  Playing the Quint role here, Fahey is a lot of fun.  Also deserving a lot of credit is Rachele Brooke Smith, who kicks so much ass as the no-nonsense Gina that I found myself thinking that, in case Gal Gadot demands too much money to reprise her role, Smith could easily take over her role in any future Wonder Woman films.

As the film’s screenwriter, Griff Furst, pointed out on twitter, Atomic Shark is a comedy.  Taking it seriously is definitely the biggest mistake that a viewer could make.  This is a movie that was meant to be watched with a group of your loudest and snarkiest friends.  It’s a lot of fun.

(That said, just because it’s comedy, that doesn’t mean that anyone’s safe.  This is the rare shark film where you’re actually shocked when a few characters fail to escape the nuclear menace of atomic shark.)

Atomic Shark is a lot of fun and it was a great way to start Shark Snark Week on SyFy!