Shark attack movies are an appealing worldwide phenomen, so it’s not surprising even mainland China would eventually invest more and more in these, as they can serve a fairly new domestic cinema industry and are easy to export since the genre is pretty popular everywhere. Shark never get old for audiences, after all.
Obviously this isn’t the first chinese shark movie ever, or even the first one we featured here, but it’s China very first 3D big budget shark attack film. It has received a fairly easy to find DVD release on online marketplaces, but i watched it on Youtube, as it was uploaded in full on YOUKU’s Youtube Channel, with english subs available.
The plot of Horror Shark 3D (also known as Blood Shark 3D) concerns “a swimmer and a marine paradise trainer (trainer for what?) who accidentally fall into a huge conspiracy about blood sharks.”
At least this is the plot synopsis you’ll find around the web, but i’d say it’s badly translated and partially incorrect.
The actual one is that a leading scientist, Dr. Jones (played by non-chinese actress Tara Clance), know for her work and her marine life genetic bank is invited/asked to help a company into perfecting their dna tooling with the genes of a great white shark, the idea here is editing their dna to make them more fertile and in doing so increasing the attractivity of this underwater sea life acquarium cum sealab. Gotta have the sealab.
Things do not go as planned, the shark mutates even more than expected and tries to exit the enclosue, so it’s up to Dr. Jones, his fellow scientist the irked and nervous Dr. Qing (which had an accident with sharks, and has a romantic like connection with a girl that happens to work there), a regular trainer/care taker of the sealife and even the douchy company boss to stop the creature.
Basically it’s about “blood sharks”, aka mutant sharks. Not new, but this reconfirms this apparent penchant for the “mutant” choice of shark these chinese killer shark movies opt for, alongside the ripping off (intentionally or not) of Deep Blue Sea.
Yeah, i guess it’s a trend among these chinese shark movies, and it’s not just surface level reprisal of the very same basic plot outline, a lot of details are also so similar, like how the fences do not pose an obstacle for the sharks since it’s high tide at that occasion, and there’s even the element of the shark mutating into a more intelligent creature that knows how to outsmart the delicious humans.
Problem is, the script is worse, not just because the end goal was just making the complex more attractive to tourists, instead of cancer research, but because the reasons and explanations given for how the sharks get mutated make little to no sense, some subplots aren’t well explained and even when they explain the big one…. still don’t make any logical sense, not that they dwell on the implications or anything. At all, and this in a movie that mostly explains stuff.
Why “blood sharks”? Because they get a crimson like skin pigmention around their faces, their eyes and body, due to them injecting red trout dna into the sharks’. So they kind look like “Red Skull sharks”, but ironically there’s little blood in this movie, pretty cheap too, and pretty much zero gore, i guess because of Chinese regulations on films or something like that.
One criticism that seems to be common among these chinese “killer monsters” features and i have to trot out again here is the CGI for the sharks not being up to snuff compared to other american produced big budget movies like The Meg or The Shallows, but in this case it’s not just the sharks CG being the only thing that looks cheap, there’s inconsistent quality of the CG for the creatures and the special effects overall being cheap to look at for a supposed “big budget production”.
All of this is compounded by how most of the underwater sequences with the humans are both obviously screengreened on the cheap, but sometimes they’re edited inside scenes where the actors are actually in a pool of water. So it’s kinda confusing and the effects not being up to snuff do take you out of the experience a bit, a bit sad since the acting is decent and the characters okay.
Also, i completely forgot this was supposed to be a movie shot in 3D, at all, so that doesn’t help, and yes, i feel you could usually tell what were the part made for the 3D effect, but here nothing standed out much, like, nothing that would have been made differently if this was conceived for “2D” view.
At least it has an actual cage dive scene, unlike Open Water 3: Cage Dive.
Overall, Blood Shark 3D/Horror Shark 3D is a surprisingly mediocre effort, not bad and it’s just barely over 70 minutes long, so it’s a short sit. Land Shark was better and more enjoyable, as far as movie that keep on copying (accidentally or not, it’s hard to say at this point) a lot from Deep Blue Sea.
Since it’s officially, legally free on Youtube with english hardcoded subs (and additional ones), sharks fans might want to check it out for curiosity sake, it’s ok but nothing decent or special. Bummer, but still it’s fine.