Land Shark (2020) [REVIEW] | China Deep Blue Sealab

Not be confused with the Polonia Brothers movie of the same released in 2017.

Or the SNL sketch.

Nope, this time we’re branching out a bit and taking one of the many (more than i expected, anyway) creature features from mainland China that manage to be known westward thanks to dedicated users reviewing them, and the various chinese companies realizing it’s easier to market these outside of China if they just put the movies on their Youtube channel with english subs.

Like this one, originally titled Luxingsha (which translates to “Land Shark”, as you could guess by now) and directed by Cheng Siyu, and at the time of reading available for free on Youtube with optional english, indonesian and vietnamese subs.

The plot is constructed by mushing Deep Blue Sea, Bait and a bit of Jurassic Park in a blender, and after some scripting, you have a mutated giant shark escape from a pharmaceutical sealab situated deep in the jungle. As they experimented on a great white in order to create an anti-tumor medicine and they spliced earthworm DNA in, this means the shark can actually walk on land… and actually even a bit more than that, i’ll let you guess or find out by watching the movie yourself.

As you can expect, the company tries to stop it by using a truckload of armed mercenaries, but it doesn’t work, so it’s up to the sealab’s shark expert and the surviving facility employees to find a way to stop it.

You know the drill by now, you should, and the same goes for the characters, fairly token: the boozed up shark expert, a scientist working on the project to continue her father’s work, the overweight comic relief dude, the cowardly scientist that is ready to sacrifice everyone in order to save his own ass, the cruel boss that wants to get the monster alive for profit, etc.

None are particurarly bad, acting is decent, but don’t expect much characterization. Again, it’s pretty token stuff, like the obligatory romance “thing”; there is some backstory thrown at you halfway through, but it’s done via very quick exposition and it doesn’t even amount as a subplot, it just “male lead has to share some romantic chemistry with the female lead” to sell the movie better.

Unlike many of these modern sci-fi action creature features about sharks… this one actually tries to actually be worth a damn by playing it – mostly – serious , which makes for a nice change of pace, and while most of the movie taks place on the island, meaning the shark rampages through the city only in the final act, but the narrative moves along at a brisk pace, the movie as a whole is fairly short (75 minutes), and the island offers variety as it has both the underwater sealab (minus the robot brain talk) and a jungle. Still, it’s NOT that serious or dramatic.

The CG for the creature isn’t stunning, but as far as i’ve seen by perusing trailers and seeing some clips online, this on par with most of other chinese movies of this kind released in the last 3 years or so, so it’s a bit underwhelming to see in what is otherwise a professionally looking produced movie, but it can do.

Even so, the quality of the creature is inconsistent at times, in some instances it looks decent (some still shots are actually well composed and make the shark almost seamless), in some the animation is just awful and the shark skips frames like a spaz for 5 seconds, then it gets better.

Of course, compared to some of the stuff i highlighted here the CG here looks like a Platinum Dunes production, but it’s not a deal breaker, just a tiny bit disappointing.

Overall, Land Shark from 2020 is a fun b-movie romp from China, the plot is a shameless but admittely entertaining pick-n-mix of elements from other shark movies, and it’s a quick sit. Not bad, not bad at all!

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