The Excellent Eighties: Night of the Sharks (1988)

Editor’s Note: We jammed on this sharkster back in 2018 for our “Bastard Pups of Jaws” week. Well, when Mill Creek boxes ’em up, you watch it again, for another take. Hey, Treat Williams stars and makes everything watchable, twice.

How is it that Mill Creek hasn’t done an all-shark disc set of every Jaws ripoff out there? Well, no worries. We love our Jaws ripoffs at B&S About Movies and included this obscurity as part of our “Bastard Pups of Jaws Week” on December 19, 2018. And we love our shark flicks so much, we rolled out a “Bastard Sons of Jaws Week.” Like we said: we love our shark flicks. And to the Italian, Spaniard, and Mexican filmmakers that make them: we thank you. And while we’d rather Micheal Sopkiw as our “Brody,” we get the very cool and always game Treat Williams in the bargain.

And a great poster. And the better the poster, the badder the film. And when we say bad, we mean “bad,” as in awful, and not “so bad it’s good.”

Treat, Treat, Treat. I get it, work is work. But when you have a contract slide over to your chair on a conference table at your agent’s office and it clearly shows the project is a joint Italian-Spanish-Mexican production . . . maybe just eat Campbell’s Tomato Soup and Cheese Sandwiches for a just a bit longer until a network TV guest spot pops up (you were great as ex-football star Jake Stanton on “Spiraling Down” for Law and Order: SVU, by the way). But there’s mortgages to pay and taxes to cover. Plus . . . you get a really nice vacation on a producer’s dime in the Dominican Republic (that’s doubling for Miami, Florida, and Cancun, Mexico, here).

Sure, other actors have done a lot worse than Night of the Sharks for just those reasons: but political intrigue, diamond theft, and man-eating pet sharks?

So we meet David Ziegler (Treat Williams; we’ve reviewed several of his films; we love ’em ‘ere at B&S), a ne’er-do-well beach bum who makes his way as a shark hunter with his buddy and business partner, Paco (Holy Crap! Antonio “Huggy Bear” Fargas from Starsky and Hutch!). Oh, and they have a “Cyclops” — their pet man-eating shark.

Then we meet David’s film-flaming brother James (Italian actor Carlo Mucari as the Americanized Charles Mucary); he’s got a corrupt businessman (John Steiner, aka Overlord, from Yor, Hunter from the Future) — with connections to the President of the United States — on the hook, so he decided to extort $2 million in diamonds. And James runs to David for help and upsets his peaceful, beach bum existence. And along comes the assassins. And David’s ex-wife (Janet Agren from City of the Living Dead, Eaten Alive!, and Hands of Steel), of course, gets involved to screw David for the diamonds that he took from James’s dead hand.

Or something like that. Yawn. When does the action start? When do get to the “We need a bigger boat” part?

Anyway, David decides to kick ass like a gunless-MacGyver — using only his martial arts skills, an array of blades — and his shark buddy. And along the way, Christopher Connelly from Atlantis Interceptors shows up as a priest because, well, it’s an Italian film and all Neapolitan ripoffs must have a priest in them, regardless of genre.

The twist of this mess is that it’s not even a shark movie: it’s a political intrigue-cum-diamond heist-cum mobster movie that figured a nice big shark on the theatrical one-sheet would sucker people to see the movie. And it worked. And don’t let it work on you. But it’s the always likeable Treat Williams — who always reminds me of Kurt Russell and vise-verse and how they never played brothers in a movie is beyond me.

Sure, you can stream Night of the Sharks on Amazon Prime with a subscription, but why? We found a freebie stream on You Tube.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

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