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Sharks in Venice
Sharks in Venice
Actors: Stephen Baldwin, Vanessa Johansson
Director: Danny Lerner
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
R     2009     1hr 28min

Traveling to Venice to investigate the mysterious death of his father, David (Stephen Baldwin), a famous archaeologist and diver, unearths a killer secret that lies beneath the Venetian waters. When a ruthless mob boss dis...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Stephen Baldwin, Vanessa Johansson
Director: Danny Lerner
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: First Look Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 01/27/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2008
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 28min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

The first truly epic film of the decade
J. Ryan | Buffalo, NY | 02/17/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The 40s had Casablanca.
The 50s had On the Waterfront.
The 60s had Bonnie and Clyde.
The 70s had The Godfather I and II.
The 80s had Raging Bull.
The 90s had The Shawhshank Redemption.

As we now edge deeper into this decade, we have been presented with many great films. "The Departed," "No Country for Old Men," "Gangs of New York," and "Crash" are a few that come to mind. What has been missing, however, is that one epic film. The film that people will remember when they look back 20-30 years from now. The film that defines its generation. The film that defines its times. Our wait is over. That film has arrived. And it comes to us from Venice. And it has been delivered to us by sharks. Ladies and gentleman, I present to you, "Sharks in Venice."

Just as Mickey Rourke did in "The Wrestler," Stephen Baldwin seems to have revived his career with his Oscar worthy role as David Franks. After starring along side Pauly Shore in the critically acclaimed film, "Bio-Dome," critics everywhere were wondering; Is there any limit to his potential as an actor? Are we on the verge of a new James Stewart or Robert DeNiro?... Sadly, that potential was not realized as many had hoped an expected. With this role however, we see that flash of greatness that could have been.

Baldwin stars as David Franks, a college professor who heads to Venice, Italy after hearing word of his fathers death in what appears to be a tragic diving accident in the waters of Venice. As he quickly realizes however, this "accident" is no accident at all--at least not from the shark's perspective.

With a film as deeply layered as this, with heavy usage of symbolism, metaphors (the sharks clearly being a metaphor for the current economic recession that is `biting' away at U.S. citizens), dramatic character development, and an extremely intricate plot, it is no wonder that the film went straight to DVD (along with other classics such as "Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch" and "Cinderella III: A Twist in Time") as the material would be way over the head of the casual filmgoer. Lucky enough for me, I was able to obtain this hidden gem of a movie off of Amazon, and have been struck with awe at what I have viewed.

In a film that combines mystery, treasure, romance and sharks, while being painted out along the surreal backdrop of the Venetian Lagoon, this film is something to be cherished for years to come.

I cannot give any more of the film away, as it would be an injustice to have someone not witness this epic masterpiece unfold onscreen for themselves. Therefore, I will leave you with a quote from the movie, which will undoubtedly be tagged alongside lines the likes of "You can't handle the truth," and "I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse." Near the beginning of the film, David Franks is questioning the true nature of his father's death, and claiming that it was a shark attack that really killed him. Captain Bonasera responds to this claim by saying, "We don't have sharks in Venice." Oh Captain wrong you are.

Grade: 5 out of 5 shark-bites"
Shark Attack 4: The Stock Footage Strikes Back!
trashcanman | Hanford, CA United States | 01/30/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)

"Ah, Venice. The gem of Europe with it's swimming pool colored water, incompetent police force, and English-speaking citizenry who occasionally string together a many as two or even three simple Italian words together just so you know you're in Italy. And how could one forget the roaring man-eating great white sharks patrolling the surface in broad daylight that nobody ever sees and ignores even when they tear through a gondola or two and then spend two minutes chomping at minuscule floating bits of bait while one wonders where the rest of the person they are supposedly eating is. Either way, the populace simply report these people as missing and the police do their best to assure everybody that it was just a boating accident even when there is no evidence of a boating accident aside from the occasional gnawed torso floating around. Because they wouldn't want tourism to go down, see? Personally, I'd go to Venice right the hell now if there was a chance I'd see a great white shark eat a dude. Now what's REALLY scary is all of those boating accidents. Good God, what was I thinking when I rented this? Oh, right: "best DVD cover EVER!"

Friends I have a weakness. My favorite film of all time is Jaws. Sharks have been my favorite of God's creatures for as long as I can remember and I long to see movies made about them. Especially movies where they are eating the holy hell out of people. Stupid humans think they're so smart... I even liked Deep Blue Sea. A lot. Yes, seriously. So I have an illness, you see. I rented this film knowing full well that these are the folks who make those unwatchable "horror" "films" for the Sci-Fi Channel with one-word names that tell you every single thing you need to know about said film like "Octopus", "Crocodile", and "Spiders". Add the infamous "Shark Attack" trilogy to that list. And there lies the problem. Sure the first two were possibly the single worst films I have ever sat through from beginning to end, but Shark Attack 3: Megalodon was AWESOME! Not because it was in any way, shape, or form "good" as they say, but because it was so unbelievably retarded and batsh!+ insane that anyone subjected too it would be blinded by tears of laughter for most of it. I took one look at the cover for "Sharks in Venice" and I got that same feeling. Never again.

Okay it's like this: evil dude seeks Marco Polo's hidden treasure, unleashes great white sharks in Venice to protect treasure that he does not know the location of (how he came by or transported these sharks is a mystery), sends divers to find treasure, and then gets angry that his divers keep getting eaten by sharks. And this man is still smarter than anybody who was associated with making this film. Yes, you too, Stephen Baldwin. 90 minutes of a cheap R-rated exploitation flick with Scarlett Johansson's hot sister as your wife and you couldn't even get her shirt off for us? You are truly the lamest Baldwin. But I digress. The shark attacks consist of documentary stock footage of random sharks roaming the ocean with roaring sound effects cut together with screaming divers and red stuff in the water. If there is a worse way to film a shark attack I have yet to witness it.

But surely there is suspense during the dives, right? If suspense means that every ten seconds of the ten minute dive the film cuts to random stock footage of a shark swimming at the ocean's surface even when the divers are in a cave for ten minutes at a time before anything happens, then yes, it is quite suspenseful. And it's not all about the sharks either. It's about sending ninjas to kill the star in his hotel room -even though the boss still wants him to find the treasure for them- and the riveting syringe-versus-flowervase fight that follows. Turns out the hero needed to ditch the vase and get him a floor lamp to take that dude out. Then he runs down the hall and waits until the security guy gets gunned down by another SMG-wielding ninja dude in full view of all before yelling "he's got a gun!" as he sprints past the other security guy in the movie's funniest moment. So the ninja chases him to the basement of the hotel, takes off his mask and blindly sprays the room with automatic fire in spite of the fact that there is nothing to shoot at. When he runs out of bullets, the chainsaw versus table fight is on! This time the hero needs to grab himself a chair to get the upper hand. Why there was a chainsaw there to begin with is not disclosed.

If I ever see stock footage in a horror film that is not named "Jaws" again, I'm just turning the sucker off. But it's not all "Shark Week" footage; there are, like, two awful CG shots which are the highlights of the movie. My favorite is the one where a shark snags a guy off of the dock in spite of the fact that the shark-cam clearly shows that the shark could not see anything but the bottom of the dock. The best part is the CG water that splashes up and apparently cost too much to animate coming back down so they just removed the CG shark and rewound the footage to totally simulate gravity. Didn't look ridiculous at all, nosiree.

Sorry, I'm rambling. Anybody who give this film more than 1 star is a filthy liar. I'm not going to point to any obvious planted reviews that may or may not be sharing this page with me or anything because that would be rude, but I can most assuredly assure you that I am one of the 3-10 people that are the target audience for this sort of film and it is getting filed under "epic fail". Less gore than the PG "Jaws", no sex or nudity, and only a few instances of the unintentional zaniness that made "Megalodon" such a sinfully incompetent delight. Avoid at all costs unless you are a glutton for shark-related punishment like myself.

NEVER AGAIN! I mean it this time.
Stinks in Venice
H. Piantini | Portland, Oregon | 02/18/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)

"This was hilariously awful. It was so bad that at one point you clearly see Stephen Baldwin's leg floating in the water after being bitten off by (I assume) the shark, and in the next scene, he walks out of the hospital without a mark on him. Not only that but his expression never changed through the entire movie -- not once. Not when he got bitten, not when his wife was kidnapped, not when his father died -- throughout the entire thing he looked like a guy trying to wake up from an Ambien hangover who is also slightly constipated.
I laughed through the whole thing. Definitely worth renting but next time every time something completely implausible happens, I'm taking a shot of Maker's Mark. I'll be good and trashed in the first half hour."
Mafia Sharks Hit Italy Big Time
Zekeriyah | Chicago, IL | 05/30/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"My girlfriend bought this DVD as a present for me, knowing that I have a thing for b-movie monsters, especially of the 'giant squid/shark/man-eating alligator run amok' variety. This movie, another one of those made-for-TV-movies that debuted on SciFi channel much like the (equally enjoyable) Man-Eaters series, certainly delivered it in spades.

The basic plot - as far as I could follow anyway - centers around Stephen Baldwin as an maritime archaeologist who flies to Venice after his father is killed in a 'boating accident' while looking for treasure. In a truly bizarre sequence of events, he uncovers a conspiracy involving the Crusades and Marco Polo's lost gold, and a mafia crime boss who is looking for it. Not satisfied with being the wealthiest mobster in Venice, he has filled the canals with man-eating great white sharks to protect the treasure. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure how that would even work exactly.

The movie is certainly fun. There is surprisingly little death in it, despite the occaisonal shark attacks (including the money shot when the one shark actually attacks a gondola! it has nothing to do with the plot but it was an awesome scene anyway). Oh, and in keeping with the great tradition of animal attack movies, the Italian police are covering up the shark attacks. Again, I'm not quite sure of the logic in this, but what the heck. It makes for a good story... well, maybe not a good story, but an entertaining one at least.

It's not going to be a classic or anything, but then with a title like 'Sharks in Venice' I'm not sure anyone ever expected that it would either. It's great for those late nights when you want to have a movie marathon, with 'Jaws,' 'Lake Placid' and the like."