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Great White (2021) - Movie Review

Great White (2021) - Movie Review
7 10

PLOT: A couple running a tourist charter plane takes a wealthy couple to a secluded island off the Australian coast. Things become complicated when their plane sinks in shark-infested waters.

LOWDOWN: Full disclosure, I love most shark flicks. They are dumb fun, and there is no greater pleasure than watching a shark movie in the dead of a hot summer afternoon. I always have a good time as long as the filmmakers follow my one rule, take yourself seriously no matter how dumb things may be. I don't want sand sharks or ones populating f*cking tornadoes. Nothing I hate more than ironic, meta stories where I'm in on the joke. Great White (WATCH IT HERE) follows my one rule and does its damndest to give us a thrilling time on a quaint budget even if it makes a lot of goofy mistakes. But in the end, how does it hold up? Make yourself a "Blood In The Water" cocktail and join me as we swim in the deep dark ocean for Great White.

Great White isn't here to be anything more than a beautiful-looking shark flick that makes little sense, and I'm okay with that. The cast is full of stock characters here to cause internal conflict, look hot and die. Charlie is the sweet-natured Australian with abs, while his pregnant girlfriend goes from the pragmatic one to the hero by the end. I'm also not ruining anything because you'll have the whole movie predicted by the twenty-minute mark, but Great White knows that we are here for the tension and fear of the unknown out in the deep blue sea and doesn't waste time getting to the fun. At a brief ninety-minute runtime, we have a cast of characters losing their cool while dealing with sharks hoping for a quick meal. Though nobody should be in this situation because calling the coast guard is the wisest decision one could make, we wouldn't have a bunch of stressed models trying to survive under the worst of circumstances.

Though everyone is basically a walking cliché, the actors do a solid job of selling the fear, and I found myself rooting for more than a couple of them even if I knew the result would mean less shark food. Katrina Bowden is solid as Kaz and brings a real presence to her simple character. I appreciate that she isn't sheltered or used as a crutch because she's pregnant. It's an easy out, and I'm glad director Martin Wilson went for a different angle and gave her more to do than being protected or coddled. Bowden has a real presence, and I'm glad she gets to shine. Te Kohe Tuhaka as Benny may have been the standout as the gruff, no sh*ts given Kiwi who seems more annoyed than afraid. Again, Tuhaka is just playing the generic tough guy, but he effortlessly brings the charm. Plus, He's fantastic in The Dead Lands and can play tough in his sleep. Everyone else does a fine job and does what I consider the essential part, selling the fear despite how ridiculous it may be.

I mentioned that the budget is small, and there are a few pretty rough CGI shots, but it is clear the budget went to the cinematography because this is one gorgeous-looking movie. Tony O'Loughlan does not waste a single frame of the lush green vegetation on the island or the epic blue of the vast ocean. Location-wise, Great White never feels cheap and, if this was filmed mainly in a giant tank on a set, I couldn't tell. Director Martin Wilson does what he can with a well-treaded story and gives us some exciting and tense shots that give this a bit of an identity in the shark film market.

I ain't going sugarcoat this and pretend that things don't get goofy as hell here. These sharks are like most of their movie counterparts and shark in name only. They hunt with the intelligence of a lion, using strategy and trickery that got more than a few chuckles out of me. Great White doesn't try and pretend to be grounded, and I can't say that's the wrong decision. Real sharks are boring. Please give me a movie monster and call it a fish. On two separate occasions, they (the sharks) roared in pain, and my childhood came flashing back to Michael Cain and Mario Van Peebles in Jaws: The Revenge. Are roaring sharks stupid? Absolutely. Did I love every minute of it? Damn right! Its exploitation played razor straight and it's precisely the kind of summer fun I'm into. Please know that if you want a dramatic tale of survival, this isn't for you, but if two sharks acting as intelligent sea creatures hunting in the south pacific and doing impossible things is your cup of tea, then you're you are in luck.

GORE: We get a suspiciously low amount of blood and gore here and it is a bit too tame for my liking.

BOTTOM LINE: A fun, tension-filled shark adventure, Great White is exactly what I hoped it would be, a big dumb, good time. An entertaining shark flick is about balance, and Great White has good actors selling the absurd while giving us some tense situations even if everything is implausible at best. Creep me out with dark water, then give me a cool and ludicrous sunken ship shark case, set around the great-looking south pacific, and I'm all in. I will always grade these on a curve as long as it's not trying to be ironic. Great White won't be for a lot of people, and I can see why; it's a very flawed movie that will bother some more than others. But I'm always down for a good time, and if you can turn your brain off, pop a "legal" edible and pour yourself a fine beverage, you'll enjoy this quick romp in the ocean because sharks make everything better: always.

 Great White Is Available In Theaters And On Demand July 16th, 2021.

 

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