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Last Shark, The (1981)
Movie Review by The Mortician

Last Shark, The (1981) (aka GREAT WHITE, THE LAST JAWS , L'ultimo squalo) Summer is off to a start! There's a giant shark eating everyone off the beaches of a coastal town! The PIC (Politician In Charge) won't close the beaches---dammit, those sailboat races MUST GO ON so he's voted back into office! Just watched THE LAST SHARK! Great Stuff! Vic Morrow channel-hamming Quint, aka Robert Shaw! Chewing up the scenery like, well, a rubber shark! Politicians leaving the beaches open despite knowing a huge GREAT WHITE has invaded the local swimming hole! Metal cage surrounding the swimming hole doesn't keep the shark out! Sailboard attacks a'la JAWS 2! Gratuitous real shark stock footage mixed in with one phony cool big prop shark that never quite match! Italian disco score with a beat! Slo-mo '70's style CHIPS attack scenes! Man ripped in half by giant shark as he hangs onto a helicopter! Helicopter dragged into the drink by giant plastic shark---eons before the Sy Fy Channel learned this trick with their lousy CGI efforts! (And come on, who can even SUSPEND DISBELIEF enough for the sequences where sharks rip 747's out of the sky in some of these lousy Nu JAWS CGI ripoffs?!? A helicopter sequence cribbed from JAWS 2 I can at least buy for a dollar! What in the hell are indiscriminating viewers smoking these days?!?! The toy helicopter here is bad enough in a good way!) Explosive ending as the shark is...er...blown up Brody Style! Bad dubbing! All Equals Excellence All Around---loved THE LAST SHARK! Definitely worlds better than the pathetic JAWS THE REVENGE (Michael Caine slumming it with Lorraine Gary having Roy Scheider flashbacks?!?!) and nearly as good as JAWS 3-D for sure (at least when that stinker runs in 2-D)! Universal was infuriated about this one when it was released theatrically in the 80's and sued to get this out of theaters and off the market because it was taking a bite out of their franchise! Despite these legal efforts, by the looks from the extras on the Retrovision re-release of this splendidly clear pressed disc, the movie did BRISK BUSINESS in the INTERNATIONAL VIDEO MARKETS of the '80's with the newly christened title THE LAST JAWS---although the main distributor did eventually go out of business a few years later. THE LAST JAWS, er, SHARK really should've been called JAWS 2.5 in the real world! Awesomeness! But as a JAWS fan, I'm totally "into" the enjoyment of this one, despite it being kind of a ZOMBI II to Romero's ZOMBI situation, if you get my drift! Those Italians---back in the day, they'd rip off, errrr, HOMAGE about any and every successful American film they could to turn a buck! It's amazing that the shark attack scenes are such cheesy fun, must've been a bitch to coordinate and direct 'em without the aid of CGI and all, and like Spielberg's classic effort, everything appears to have been shot on location and in the real elements! (No Sea World or Studio Tanks here!) Plus there's a great bit with the MEDIA being portrayed as a bunch of sharks, trying to "get the shark attack money shots" at any cost---you'll applaud when one of their own gets eaten! Not since I watched Stallone's COBRA has there been such an asswipe character "punch to the face" ending... And remember, THE LAST SHARK did it first! Take that, Sly! Anyway, this one's a heckuva good time for JAWS obsessive types and connoisseurs of Italian rip-off, er, HOMAGE...cinema! Head on into the water, people, dangle your toes in, it's FINE... cuz...THOSE BEACHES WILL BE OPEN and YOU'RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER DOCK! And a better helicopter...and a stronger surfboard...oh, you get the drift, so let the undertow take you out to Shark City here and crack open some cool ones and ride with the tide, man! You'll dig it!

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