Old 09-20-2012, 07:16 AM
Bait 3D

‘Bait 3D’ (or ‘sharks in a supermarket’ as you imagine it would’ve been pitched) is Australia’s attempt at the shark attack creature feature given that the Americans haven’t managed to successfully back-up the original ‘Jaws’ from 1975. There’s been countless inferior sequels and ludicrous offerings like ‘Deep Blue Sea’ and the recent ‘Shark Night’, so no doubt director Kimble Rendall was hoping he could right the wrongs with a glorious slice of cheesy, blood-soaked, B-grade cinema complete with the now seemingly standard 3D conversion. With ‘Snakes On A Plane’ wearing it’s ridiculous premise proudly for all to see, and 2010’s ‘Piranha 3D’ basking in the gloriousness of its own lunacy, ‘Bait’ wasn’t exactly dead in the water with its outlandish premise – it just had to not take itself too seriously. And if anyone is able to laugh at themselves freely it’s the Aussies right?

Opening with a standard pre-credit sequence that hilariously offs a throw-away side player, the film settles in to round up all the stereotypes we expect from this genre; The tortured hero (Xavier Samuel), his tough but vulnerable ex-girlfriend (Sharni Vinson), the not-so-bad bad girl (Phoebe Tonkin), her cop father (Martin Sacks), the douchebag (Lincoln Lewis), the vain bitch (Cariba Heine), the nice guy (Alex Russell), and the villains (Julian McMahon and Dan Wyllie). They’re all here and for some reason or another they end up in the same supermarket making it pleasantly convenient for when a tsunami is unleashed on the Australian coast, trapping them inside with rising water levels and a 12-foot Great White shark. Just why a tsunami hits is never explained, and the most we get to an allude of something are birds all flying in packs in the one direction in the sky, but the disaster itself is relatively enjoyable to the eyes and there’s quite a neat, violent pay off.

Due to his background as a lifesaver hero-in-the-waiting Josh (Samuel) becomes the unofficial leader to the remaining survivors as they band together to source a way out. All the typical in-fights and disagreements occur but as to not waste too much time on character development the shark’s whereabouts is soon brought to their attention and its here that we hope as an audience we get at least a healthy smattering of blood and gore. Initially it appears as if ‘Bait’ will deliver as the early offings are somewhat satisfactory, particularly a sequence involving the store’s manager (Adrian Pang) and a nasty school of spiders, and you can see the potential in all the perilous situations the film sets up. Unfortunately it never fully follows through on its promise. There’s only so many times we can see a character fall into the water and splash and swim about before getting out in the nick of time before it becomes boring, and something like ‘Bait’ should be anything but. We don’t want attempts at humanising these characters, we just want to see them get eaten, and when your shark attack film can’t do that something’s not right.

One thing ‘Bait’ does have going for it is its cast. Sure the acting isn’t anything to write home about, particularly from Wyllie as a hot-headed gunman whose thick laid Aussie accent and scene-chewing delivery evoked bouts of unintentional laughter from the crowd (which also made me think he was perhaps the only one in on the joke), but the likes of Samuel, Vinson, Lewis and Russell are all aesthetically pleasing and they’re suited to their character outlines to a tee; Samuel even gets to grimace as he clocks a shotgun in wonderful slow-motion. On the effects side of things the 3D is once again unnecessary but it doesn’t hinder viewing either and though there are a few moments of questionable CGI (the pre-credit sequence once again), the shark is acceptable enough but it only continues to prove that it is one of the trickiest animals to successfully portray through computer generation.

It’s better than the aforementioned ‘Shark Night’, and miles ahead of trashy ‘Piranha’ offspring ‘Piranha 3DD’, but it never plants its tongue firm enough in its cheek to truly have fun with itself.
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