Hey gang, Valkor here. And I can't have a film review run without, at least, hitting up a Dolph Lundgren flick. And his latest, Shark Lake, sounds like something that’s right up my alley; I was excited by the idea of it, however the end results… left me wanting more. Major spoilers ahead.
Shark Lake kicks off with a guy named Clint Gray (Lundgren - Battle of the Damned), who is on the run from local officials for harboring and peddling endangered species of animals. His van is run off the road and whatever payload he had has been offloaded, and in the water you can see the shadowy silhouette of a shark as it swims off. Ultimately Clint is captured and sadly he leaves behind his daughter with no other relative.
Fast-forward five years later and Clint is released from prison, while his daughter Carly (Lily Brooks O’Briant) was raised by a woman named Meredith (Sara Lane) who was also the cop that brought him in. And now that Clint is out of prison, he wants to see his daughter, however Meredith adamantly objects. I know there's no sharks action yet, but we'll get there.
Moving on, so an elderly couple are off to the lake to do some gold peddling and the husband is suddenly killed. We as the viewer know it was the shark, but for the film’s inhabitants they believe he was done in by a bear. But when oceanologist Peter (Michael Aaron Milligan) enters the picture, we find out it was a shark that did the old man in. To one up that, it was the shark that Clint dropped into the lake before he was captured - and it was pregnant. To make the situation even worse, the shark was to be delivered to a nefarious dude name Don Barnes (James Chalke). And even though Clint served five years behind bars, Don still wants Clint to pay up – either he delivers his fish or the money or else he'll go after his daughter.
Now the sharks are on a feeding frenzy, taking a bite out of anyone who enters the lake, there’s a reality TV crew who look to film everything leading up to and including the capture of the shark, we have Carly sneaking out to go see Clint, Meredith and Peter hit the lake as well to look for the sharks and of course Clint is also out hunting the sharks to save his daughter. It all comes together when the crew is eliminated, Carly is discovered by Clint on his boat, and Meredith and Peter have something of a “Titanic/Open Water” moment as they’re left stranded in the lake with the sharks lurking nearby. How does it all end?
It doesn’t end well for the sharks and a few others that’s for sure. While Shark Lake won’t rank high on my list of Dolph Lundgren favorites, it’s still entertaining to a degree. I mean I didn't hate the film, but I also don't expect a repeat performance. The plot is play by the book, straightforward with no crazy twists - very predictable, but not complicated. The film tries to pull a “Jaws” by keeping the shark in the shadows for much of the film, having it come out when it strikes and a few times when its lurking; and when it does make an appearance its all in cheesy CGI. Dolph, much like the shark, gets limited screen time this round. But DL does what he does best and that’s play… well Dolph; he’s pretty mellow, all kinds of cool, a little somber and yet a bad ass. So how can anything really go wrong?
Ultimately however Shark Lake is, sadly, disappointing. Fans of DL will probably check it out anyway, but others might want to give this one a pass. First things first, there’s too much going on – there’s the issue with the daughter, the shark attacks, there’s an uneventful beach party, there’s the reality TV guy – just so much, when all anyone really wants is to watch DL hunt sharks! And if you can make it to the end of this film, you’ll be treated to DL facing a huge, fake one and that’s it. I know the budget was small, but even Swamp Shark did way more with what little budget it had. Next, there’s no sense of urgency, no suspense save for the “Open Water”-esque scene with Peter and Meredith. Other than that, there doesn’t seem to be a real push to hunt down the sharks; and I guess that’s mainly due to the fact that there’s so much “other stuff” happening that doesn’t directly concern getting these creatures out of the water. Finally, to sum it up, the acting isn’t that great, the CGI is poor and lack of Dolph sends what should have been an easy slam dunk back to the bleachers.
Poor Peter gets ravaged!
Shark Lake is available now on DVD and Digital video on demand; and while Dolph Lundgren’s name is attached, you don’t get much else, except for a few action scenes. But that isn’t enough to save Shark Lake from getting a 1.5 out of TOV 5 stars.