last-shark-posterUTI Productions
1981
PG

The Last Shark. AKA Great White. AKA L’ultimo squalo. AKA Italian Jaws. Okay, maybe I made up that last one, but it’s apt, considering Universal successfully sued to block its theatrical release here in the United States for plagiarism of Jaws.

While this movie was originally released under the title Great White, the version I watched was titled The Last Shark, so I’m going with that. Also, I should maybe point out that I haven’t seen Jaws yet. I’ll give you some time to process this shocking revelation. Point is, regardless of having never seen Jaws, I’m familiar enough with the story that, having watched The Last Shark, even I knew this was an almost beat-for-beat rip-off of Jaws. And in case you’re wondering why I watched this, well…I was in the midst of my free trial of Prime on Amazon, and this was available for streaming. And I was morbidly curious.

Anyway, we open on the ocean side community of Port Harbor, where everyone seems to be crazy about wind surfing. And after an opening credits scene featuring a young man making some rather mediocre moves (I’ve seen Frosted Flakes commercials with more exciting wind surfing than this), said young man is then eaten by the titular shark. This grabs the attention of a local horror fiction writer and a professional shark hunter, who both want to eradicate the threat, but then the mayor wants to pretend there is no shark threat, because that would mean canceling the upcoming wind surfing regatta, and that would mean possibly losing his bid for governor. So, the mayor has a massive steel net installed to keep the shark out of the area where the regatta will be held. Of course, this doesn’t stop the shark, which manages to bust through the net to take advantage of the all-you-can-eat buffet going on, resulting in the mayor’s aide getting eaten. So now, several attempts to make the shark go boom are made, but not only does the shark turn out to be way smarter than presumed, but can hilariously break the laws of basic physics. Can the author and shark hunter manage to kill the shark before any more of the community folk become shark food? Well…yes and no…respectively speaking…

As you may imagine, The Last Shark (or Great White, or whatever version you’re familiar with, if any) was entertaining for all the wrong reasons. The derivative script, the bad dubbing, the incredibly shoddy editing and flow, not to mention the amount of suspension of disbelief needed to believe that wind surfing is so important that people come from miles around to watch it once a year. Okay. I mean, there is a pretty popular Chicken Festival in one of the obscure small towns in my state, along with other localized festivals, but wind surfing? Also, the beach celebration leading up to said wind surfing festivities features a Hippie-In-A-Box. I can’t believe I just wrote that.

There’s a version of The Last Shark that exists as a Riff Trax edition. If, for some reason, this review has enticed you to watch this, then outside of some kind of intervention by family and friends, I can at least urge you to try and find that one, to take the edge off of the badness. Remember, I’ve had literal decades of experience with these kind of movies. Do not attempt to watch The Last Shark without the proper protection.