Mega Shark vs Mecha Shark (2014)


When the Mega Shark emerges to terrorize the seas once more, the U.S. government comes prepared with a giant mechanical shark to combat the threat, one last time.

REVIEW: Mega Shark vs Mecha Shark (an obvious play on the classic Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla) is easily one of my most anticipated B-Movie releases for 2014, so I'm really glad it's being released right at the front of the year so I don't have to wait even longer for it, hahaha. The first movie, Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus, a couple choice scenes aside, failed to live up to the full cheesy potential that the title implied; Ultimately it was 'ok', but nowhere near what I was expecting from it. The second movie, Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus may have had even lower caliber of CG effects than the previous movie had (which itself was pretty low as it was), but everything else about it was exactly what I had been hoping that the first movie was. Sure, it was beyond stupid but it was a fun kind of stupid and I loved every minute of it, and even now after several re-watches I still love every minute of it.

A year or so back, Asylum announced that if they got so many new Twitter followers by a certain date than they would push ahead on production of a third Mega Shark movie. That goal was unfortunately not met, however it seems they had a change of heart as a half year ago they officially announced Mega Shark vs Mecha Shark, the third and final movie in the series – one last brawl between two gigantic titans, one a mechanical monster and the other a giant man-eating shark with a bad attitude.

After all this anticipation, and after the near-perfect fun romp that the previous middle chapter turned out to be, how did Mega Shark vs Mecha Shark stack up? Let's just say that if Asylum continues down the road that this movie set for 2014 for them, than we're in for one hell of a good year for Asylum releases. Between this movie, Android Cop, and Jailbait (due out later this month), The Asylum is batting three for three in the New Year and it just makes me more excited to see what they have coming down the line.


After the previous two movies, I just love that the entire world is now pretty much always prepared for another Mega Shark rampage. Like in the later Godzilla movies where they now have contingency plans put in place in case Godzilla shows up, we see that here as well they temporarily ban all non-military boating and flight routes that go near or over the suspected feeding grounds areas of the Mega Shark, essentially putting the entire world in lockdown for the time being, evacuate any coastal cities that it may go near, in addition to the immediate deployment of the ultimate Mega Shark hunter – the Mecha Shark!

As for how the Mega Shark survived its battle plunge into the exploding volcano at the end of last movie...well...I think this is actually a different shark, which begs the question as to why, if they were just going to definitively kill it at the end anyway and mark this as the last movie in the series, would they even bother having a new shark for this movie and not another return of the shark from the first two movies? It could have formed quite the nice little trilogy for the big guy, capping it off with this swan song outing for him. And what makes it all the more weird is that the characters talk about it as if it is the same Megalodon, having such conversations that mention how this is now the third time the Mega Shark has appeared and seemingly escaped death, yet it very clearly isn't the same shark since we see this one get thawed out of the ice at the beginning, just like how the original Megalodon came to be in the very first movie, and last we left the previous one it was falling into a volcano – hardly the freezing chunk of ice this one starts off in. So really, I have no idea but the vibe I got from the beginning was that this was a brand new Megalodon, so I really kind of wish all of that was made more clear.

Likewise, there's not really any reason as to why they decided to build a Mecha Shark or why they thought such a thing would be a good idea; The movie just starts off with it having already been built and ready to go for if the Mega Shark ever returned, and that's pretty much that in terms of explanations. However, that's not to say it wasn't put to good use regardless, because it most certainly was, and it even ended up being an equal threat to that of the Mega Shark, seeing as how it's pilot, as played by Angel and Heroes regular Elisabeth Röhm (also was in the equally-awesome Lake Placid 4: The Final Chapter) kept making massive human errors with it that resulted in many deaths on more than one occasion, which also makes one wonder why anyone in this movie thought she was trained in piloting this thing since it was made quite clear that she's really rather terrible at it. Hell, even the loveable A.I program of the machine thought she was such a terrible and useless pilot that it ended up taking over, which of course eventually leads to something going wrong, as it always does in these things, and we get some very awesome solo-Mecha Shark carnage, such as a scene where it leaves the ocean on tank treads and moves throughout the Australian city of Sydney causing destruction and mayham in it's rampage. It's this stuff where the movie gets really good, as much of what we see up to that point is stuff we've seen in the series multiple times already – Mega Shark munches down on this ship over here, Mega Shark slaps around that ship over there, military suits standing around and arguing with the main characters over this and that, a debate about if nukes should be used, a few technobable conversations scattered around, and than a couple quick generic underwater battle scenes between the Mega Shark and second title 'creature' of note. But have we seen a terrible Mech pilot keep making inexcusable human errors time after time to the point where it was becoming far more comedic than it was probably meant to? Or how about a gigantic robot shark driving through a city, knocking buildings over and mowing down civilians while you have a character totally jumping over it on a crappy motorcycle while shouting "Come get me, big boy!" in slow-motion? This is the kind of new flavor of cheese you have to look forward to in this movie! And trust me – there is plenty of it.

This entry also boasts the best CGI in the trilogy thus far. Yeah, there's still some pretty questionable moments here and there, mostly with the sharks surfacing from under the water and submerging again, and sure, it's still massively guilty of annoying size-changing (one minute the Mega Shark is smaller than a ship but the next it can practically eat one in a single bite), but when it comes to the creature models themselves, this one far outdoes the first two movies; you can see individual scars and chunks missing from the Mega Shark, and the Mecha Shark is simply a thing of beauty in most scenes. One of the only major issues I had with the second movie was that the CG creature models were quite below that of the first movie (which itself didn't exactly have good CG to begin with), but luckily the series ends off on a high note here, as more often than not I was quite impressed with the effects work. In regards to the Mecha Shark though, it was pretty odd seeing that from the outside the robot was as large as the Mega Shark, yet when it cut to the interior, it was this tiny cramped place that can only fit a single person. I suppose it kind of like a reverse Tardis effect – Ha!


Anybody who was a fan of the first two movies (and honestly, if you weren’t than why are you even bothering with this one?) you'll find plenty of little easter egg homages scattered around, so keep your eyes open for those. We have a scene where a military aircraft carrier is attracting the Mega Shark to it via the high-frequency emitters which was a large aspect of the plot for the second movie, and even a scene of the Mega Shark essentially playing leap frog with a military vessel, just like in the second movie. However, it's the various throwbacks to the very first movie that got the most giddy schoolgirl-level excited out of me – The first movie had the Giant Octopus tearing down an oil platform while we have an almost identical scene in this movie but with the Mega Shark doing it, in addition to another scene similar to the first movie where the Mega Shark leaps out of the water to take down a passenger jet flying high up in the air...except this time the results are drastically different and one of the best sequences of the entire movie (I'm just disappointed that it was spoiled in the trailer, as that would have made an awesome surprise, not knowing it was coming). Other quick scenes that go back to the first movie include the smaller prototype of the Mecha Shark fighting a couple of large Octopuses (octopi?) and the highlight of the homages – Debbie Gibson returning from the first movie for a series of cameo scenes! 

Another of my very few issues with the second movie was that Debbie Gibson's character was nowhere to be found, not even as a consultant, which was weird considering that up to that point she was the only other person who had experience dealing with this creature. While her screentime here is simply as a recurring cameo only, it was still a very welcomed addition, having the characters here constantly relying on her experience and her knowledge to help them. Like I said, it was only a few short cameo scenes so don't get your hopes up too much, but they added a lot to my personal preference in what I want from these sequels and it makes up for her absence from the second movie.

The main characters this go-around are Christopher Judge from Stargate SG-1 as the designer of the Mecha Shark and it's hilarious A.I. program, and his wife and Mecha Shark pilot, the previously-mentioned Elisabeth Rohm. Both played very well off each other, with their highlight moments being any time they bickered back and forth, and the fact that they were a married couple added a whole new dynamic, in addition to an extra emotional level, that I'm not used to seeing in these movies. In both previous Mega Shark movies, as well as most Asylum monster movies in general, the main male and female leads end up getting together at the very end of the movie (whether doing so even makes sense within the context of the movie or not is another story), but for this one they're already together and married, so we don't need to worry about that whole 'will they/won't they' aspect that admittedly has gotten pretty tiresome in these movies by this point. What I did feel was missing though, was the fun wackiness of Gary Stretch's character from the previous movie, as he was a large part of the reason that the second movie was as much fun as it was. Debbie Gibson made a few short, albeit awesome cameos, so I kind of wish they had him do one or two cameo scenes as well, or at the very least include a new character in this movie that brought the same level of unfiltered wacky as he did to that movie. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the characters we got, especially their interplay between one another, but they were pretty much both the same kind of character, with the same kind of personality, and it was only really the A.I. of the Mecha Shark that brought a bit of variety to that aspect of the movie.

By this point, like with most modern Asylum productions, it goes without saying that the musical score was pretty amazing and catchy, and it always amps up the action scenes and adds another layer of character, if you will, to the slower and more emotional scenes. It's at the point now where each time I load up a new Asylum movie into my BluRay player, I'm almost just as excited to discover the musical score for the movie as I am to watch the movie itself. Usually Asylum scores are done by the very-talented Chris Ridenhour, who even puts a lot of his Asylum scores up on Itunes and Soundcloud, however I was surprised to see that this movie was actually done by an Isaac Sprintis, who has done mostly only Shorts and Documentaries before, and nothing at all for Asylum. Hopefully he sticks around though, because between him and Chris, The Asylum has themselves a couple of very talented low-budget B-Movie composers on their hands. Likewise, the movie was directed by first-timer Emile Edwin Smith and you would never think this was his first movie. I mean, it's obviously no Jurassic Park in the directing department, but as far as Direct-to-Video B-Movies go, it was good enough and certainly done far better than the first Mega Shark movie was. Doing the script for this was also Jose Prendes, who is no stranger to The Asylum as he's written a very large chunk of their movies and even directed Haunting of Whaley House – my personal favorite Asylum-made Haunted House horror movie.


With the level of talent behind Mega Shark vs Mecha Shark, both behind the scenes and on-screen, it's no wonder it turned out as fun as it did. A slight bit of confusion in regards to the Mega Shark itself aside, most of my issues are only minor, and more-so of the 'wish they had done this/would have been nice to see that' variety as opposed to actual outright complaints with the movie. In regards to where it falls within the Mega Shark trilogy, it is most definitely leaps and bounds better than the semi-disappointing first movie, and I would venture to say slightly better than second – while there were some things I felt the second movie did a bit better, mostly in regards to its characters, there were just as many other things that I felt this movie did better, plus it has some pretty unique new stuff, thanks mostly to the Mecha Shark aspect, in addition to some familiar easter eggs for longtime fans of the series, that the level of campiness on display here equals that of any other high point in the previous movies. Also, be sure to tune in to the very end of the credits for an admittedly pretty pointless, but still absolutely hilarious, short stinger scene.

Asylum has stated in the past that this will probably be the final Mega Shark movie, and if that's the case than I am perfectly fine with it as it's going out on a really high note, with a definitive ending this time for the title creature himself, regardless of if it was the same shark as the first two movies or a brand new one – either way, this shark is not coming back from what happens to it, thus bringing to an end what has been a great Trilogy of Mega Shark-Flavored Cheese.

R.I.P
Mega Shark
2009-2014
You were loved by many and hated by probably many more. Your fans stuck by you and you always kept them entertained. May the clouds of Heaven be large enough to contain you, and may the number of Angels be plentiful enough to satisfy your hunger.

10/10 rooms in the Psych Ward
 


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