Join or Sign In

Sign in to customize your TV listings

Continue with Facebook Continue with email

By joining TV Guide, you agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

Night of the Sharks Reviews

When this forgettable JAWS rip-off commences, a shark bites off a diver's leg with all the pent-up fury of a guppy munching on its Hartz Mountain fish food. Unfortunately, this is as high as the film's energy quotient ever gets. Lacklusterly directed and pedestrianly photographed, NIGHT OF THE SHARKS is just one more international production in the action genre destined for oblivion on video store shelves. On the eve of a local festival (the "Night of the Sharks") on an island in scenic Mexico, Williams discovers that he cannot put aside his former life as a James Bond-type adventurer and just pal around with buddy Fargas. Hoping to retire as a millionaire, his irresponsible brother has gotten involved with a multinational corporation run by scoundrels just as bloodthirsty as the sea creatures of the title. Purloining an incriminating CD disk, Williams' brother mails the hot data to priest Connelly (friend to both siblings) and then proceeds to blackmail the corporation's depraved CEO. When he demands a fortune in diamonds to keep what he knows secret, the company acquiesces, but secretly tails him, catching up with him when he flees to Mexico to enlist Williams' aid. After the nefarious corporate henchmen blow up his brother, Williams finally gets his dander up and strikes back. Being a reasonable felon, the corporate tycoon decides that his company doesn't need more bloodshed and employs less overt methods to get the disk back. Playing on her sympathies, he persuades Williams' ex-wife to pay a visit to her former spouse's bedroom in order to appropriate the disk, but she gets eaten by an ever-hungry local shark during an attempt on Williams' life. Having lost two family members, Williams wants revenge. First he sinks the box of diamonds he had gotten from his brother down to the ocean floor; then he allows his nemesis, the shark, to swallow the blackmail disk for safekeeping. (This leaves the film's corporate man-eaters in the unenviable position of having to negotiate with a real shark.) Despite the company chief's desire to get his tape and to have Williams "brought back alive," a rather dim-witted hit man has his own ideas about handling the situation. Assorted corporate thugs are sent out to eliminate Williams, but while stalking their prey on the island, these company employees fail to reckon with the ingenuity of Williams and faithful sidekick Fargas, who've booby-trapped the entire area. Even though the bad guys kidnap Connelly and Williams' girl friend, Fargas and Williams prevail and, succumbing to one trap after another, the villains bite the dust. Ever-resourceful Williams puts a hole in the boat of the main hit man and places his own wounded arm in the water to attract Mr. Shark, who soon takes the bait and swallows the head honcho and most of his dinghy. Having rescued his girl friend and the padre, Williams digs up the diamonds and has his last fateful encounter with the finny fiend. Led to believe that Williams has died in this shark attack, the company CEO retrieves his disc, and decides to leave the local village in peace after Connelly informs him that everyone there knows the contents of the disk. To make the community's happiness complete, Williams resurfaces and plans to live out his days playing Crusoe to Fargas' Friday and to act as a father figure for the island's many orphans. Devoid of anything remotely resembling inventiveness, this derivative seaside adventure meanders on its weary way as if its creative personnel had fallen asleep under the tropical sun. The script seems to have been pieced together from various word processors plugged into different action hits. In fact, all that NIGHT OF THE SHARKS has going for it is the easy-going camaraderie of Williams and Fargas as they crack jokes while rigging death-traps. Even undiscriminating action fans will be dismayed by the low level of the thrills on tap. Contributing to the torpor is the haphazard presentation of key plot devices. (Are there two disks? Is the one mailed to Connelly the same that Williams feeds to the shark? Which one did Williams' wife put in the hotel safe? For that matter, how do we know the acid in the shark's stomach wouldn't destroy the evidence, and why is everyone so concerned about the diamonds? Maybe they could be used to pay for the installation of shark alerts!) Perhaps we're not meant to question all these poorly inserted plot devices. If that was the plan, then this water-logged adventure should have delivered more nonstop thrills, more flashy stuntwork, and more dynamic suspense. The plot is hard to keep track of; the supporting cast is riddled with hammy players; the editing is a beat off during all the gang assaults and shark attacks. In this sluggish yarn, even the poor shark looks asleep in the deep. It's a toothless fish story with little to recommend it. (Violence, profanity, sexual situations.)