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This movie is really worth the money! I went to a DVD store one day and found this movie amongst splatter movies. I read the cover describing it as a real success at the 80's and how mad Spielberg was when the movie got released. I can't believe this movie got that low rating! It may be cheap, it may be campy, but it's really truly entertaining! When I watched the movie I almost smiled the whole time. And that scene with the helicopter... the gore... his legs! Amazing! Laughed my tears out! Sure it isn't as great as Spielberg's Jaws, but it sure beats the guts out of the bad Jaws sequels! Those who thinks my comment is stupid are just the ones who don't understand how bad can be good. Worth watching!
I had an opportunity to view this film on Japanese laser disc. The film's
history is more interesting than the movie itself. Released in the U.S.
under the title, "Great White," in 1982, the movie went as quckly as it had
come into theatres at the time due to Steven Spielberg and Universal Studios
having the film barred from distribution due to the blaring similarities to
JAWS and JAWS 2. The company that distributed the film in the US went
bankrupt and the producer disappeared.
Getting to the film itself, it has always had a mystique being banned in the US and not seeing video release. Released in other countries as "The Last Shark" or "The Last Jaws" the film is not completely lost. Having wondered whatever happened to this movie and why there wasn't a video release ever, I was surprised that "Great White" was available abroad under different titles. Having seen the film, I have to say that it wasn't anything special at all. The film is Italian with some of the actors clearly dubbed and a shark that could be a giant pool toy. The stock footage of real sharks sometimes helps but there is one where the silhouette is of a nurse shark and not a great white.
The late James Franciscus and Vic Morrow do as much as they can with their roles and do bring something to a film with no shortage of bad lines and wooden acting co-stars. But there's no sense of humor or interesting characters which helped "Piranha" overcome its extremely low budget special effects. There are a lot of slow scenes and the film is clearly not realistic such as the Mayor fishing for the shark with a side of beef dangling from a helicopter or the Shark shooter using a small rifle from a pier. Also, when one of the victims disappears while windsurfing, his friends go on a boat to look for him rather than calling the coast guard or police. The film fails by going for a quick scare and not building up the suspense to a crescendo that Speilberg did.
This film continues to be a curiosity due it's lack of availability here otherwise it would have become forgotten if no one had said anything collecting dust in a video store somewhere.
Somewhat nicely done Italian derivative of 'Jaws' shares many of the same
themes and set-ups and compresses them into 90 minutes, but is still worth a
shot for advocates of Nature-Runs-Amok movies. As history states, this film
was notoriously crowbarred out of its cinema release by Universal for being
*too* like the Spielberg film (and also its sequel).
In its own right, 'L'Ultimo Squalo' is an entertaining - if not trashy - killer shark movie which throws in some of the typical Italian touches of humour and ambitious technical trials. The shark - when it appears - is only marginally less convincing than Spielberg's Bruce, but looks okay from high angles and while it's under the surface. Also, the stock footage of real fish is used to better effect here and shows the savagery of the shark attacking the many pieces of meat that varying characters attempt to lure the creature with.
Unfortunately, the evident budget used here hampers some moments: underwater and night shots are hard to make out and the toy helicopter that crashes into the water is pretty obvious. The shark chomps 7 people, drowns an 8th, and destructs a pier, a surf board, a couple of boats, and sub-aqua cave.
Final verdict, a nice distraction if you don't mind skipping some logic. 6/10.
Enzo G. Castellari, once again delivers quite a piece of cinema. The story is rather dull and uninspired (except by JAWS of course), but Castellari remedies that with very energetic direction, an excellent musical score by Guido and Maurizio De Angelis, and a lot of his mouth-watering wide angle use of slow motion. Lots of cult film actors (Including Vic Morrow, James Franciscus, and Giancarlo Prete) and a lot of goofy effects and stock footage, make this film completely silly and enjoyable rather than disturbing or shocking as most horror films set out to be. That's probably the opposite of what ZOMBIE producer Ugo Tucci wanted, but this film is quite fun to watch and worth repeat viewings.
I was fortunate enuff to see THE LAST SHARK on a double bill with BEYOND THE DOOR (an Italian ripoff of The Exorcist) ad as many have commented here - Last Shark was threatened with a lawsuit by Spielberg's studio and was yanked from theatres so it is not always easy to see it. For fans of bad movies that are soooo bad that they are enjoyably hilarious - this is a winner. There are many long, drawn out scenes where absolutely nothing happens and yet there are tons of scenes of really bad special effects, hammy acting, and some decent attempts at gore. I love the fact that they try and tie the whole plot around a WINDSURFING CONTEST! So lots of talk about windsurfing, who is the best windsurfer, how excited the whole town is, etc. Vic Morrow (god rest his soul) shows up as the obvious Robert Shaw Cap'n Quint character but Morrow (who appears good and soused) does one of the worst accents I've ever heard - sometimes it's Irish, other times it is a thick Scottish brogue, other times, who knows what it is - the mayor of the town - sorry the Governor in this version - is this fey, badly dressed guy who looks like more of a fashion designer than a powerful politico. The scenes of the actual attacks (especially when the Governor's snotty assistant gets it) is hysterically bad. So as long as you don't go in thinking you are going to see anything of true quality, you should have fun. It is a mess - a true frothy shark toothed mess!!!
The Last Shark would actually be pretty great if it had a better
editor: the heroes leave port to kill the shark and return
unsuccessfully so many times it will make you seasick. However, this is
still an enjoyable Italian rip-off of Jaws (and Jaws 2, for that
matter), featuring some decent attack sequences and gory moments, not
to mention Vic Morrow as a hilarious ersatz Captain Quint.
One great thing about the shark in this film is that it appears to be jet-propelled (at least that's what it sounds like when its conical head breaks the surface) and has the ability to blast watercrafts fifteen feet into the air. Hilarious! If you're looking for camp, The Last Shark certainly doesn't disappoint.
And, while the animatronic shark isn't on par with Bruce from Jaws, it's not bad for a knock-off.
I got a laser disc of this movie with very high quality and I instantly loved it. James Franciscus and Vic Morrow do great, and Franciscus does excellent in the end with his emotion. This movie is still a jaws rip-off but is still pretty original, and steals no footage from other movies. The only thing I didn't like about this movie were the terrible special effects. In some scenes, the shark looks horribly fake-but in others, it looks realistic. When people get eaten, some times they get pulled under the water. Although there will be occasional parts with disembodied limbs that are very, very fake looking. Other than that, the movie is great.
This movie is a pretty darned good flick! When it first came out, it
was a hit with audiences here in the US. It made almost 20 million
before Universal won a law suit and had it banned. Why did they do
When watching this film, I only saw maybe a few "Jaws" references. When one looks at the movie "Cruel Jaws" (another Italian pseudo-sequel), one can actually see the blatant "Jaws" rip-off and copyright infringements! My God! That one even stole scenes from "Jaws"!
However, this one bears NO SIMILARITY to the movie "Jaws". The plot may be similar but having a similar plot does not constitute copyright infringement. Just look at the movies "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and "The Puppet Masters" for goodness sake!
There are no similar characters except maybe the Quint character. However, Vic Morrow's character in "The Last Shark" and Robert Shaw's character in "Jaws" are actually direct opposites! I really see NO resemblance.
"The Last Shark" did not copy any lines (unlike "Cruel Jaws") nor did the mayor of Amity in "Jaws" go out in a darned helicopter to kill the blasted thing!
Universal sued to gain a monopoly! That's the bottom line! They saw that this movie was well received and began earning quite a bit of money! Oh, hell no! Universal can't allow another shark movie to match "Jaws" in revenue!
Watch both movies back-to-back and you will see that they bear NO resemblance in story or characters. They may share a "spiritual" connection but that is all they share. I wonder if the judge who sided with Universal was pressured??? Wouldn't doubt it! Many judges today would laugh at Universal and throw the case out immediately! Monopoly, monopoly, monopoly!
I've no idea why a guy like Enzo Castellari would stoop to such a
wholesale rip-off of the Jaws movies, but we're talking about the wacky
world of Italian cinema, so who knows? Castellari never ceases to amaze
me with his action-packed, stylistic films like Street Law and the Big
Racket, and although folks say that he lost it a bit during the
eighties, the Last Shark is the only film I've seen by him that's less
than great (c'mon - Bronx Warriors and The New Barbarians are still a
hoot, despite their limitations).
The plot is a bit of Jaws and a bit of Jaws two mixed together. We've got an Italian b-movie cast from heaven - James Franciscus (Cat o Nine Tails) is our hero, with Vic Morrow (Bronx Warriors) as the pseudo Scottish Robert Shaw facsimile, Joshua Sinclair as the troubled mayor torn between his polls and the safety of his folks, Romano Puppo as a shark hit-man (or something like that), with Giancarlo Prete and Massimo Vanni turning up as a ruthless film crew.
Basically: it's Jaws. A large Great White turns up in the sea outside of town and starts eating folks. The mayor doesn't really want to shut the beach due to an upcoming Regatta, and Vic Morrow offers his hand in wasting the troublesome fish. The plot is so nearly identical that Spielberg sued the film right out of the USA! It never come near the original's level of tension, and there's not much by way of shocks (the 'head popping out from under the boat bit' in Jaws is a classic), but I'd say that the Last Shark is mainly interesting for fans of Castellari himself, as well as his perpetually recurring actors. Every non-shark orientated shot is full of primary colours: blues, yellows and reds abound. There's a ton of style injected into these proceedings, plus plenty of Castellari slow motion, and the usual gore (though not so much as Jaws).
The Last Shark starts off well, slumps slightly in the middle, and picks up again towards the end when Joshua Sinclair tries his hand at fishing the shark out the water using a helicopter. Plus, any film that has Massimo Vanni being bitten in half earns extra points.
At the end of the day though, it's still a blatant rip-off of Jaws, and the low budget rears its head whenever shark footage appears, with some dodgy models and terrible stock footage. Some copies of this film are very dark too, which would hamper viewing (although the first version I watched, on Italian television, was as clear as anything).
For Enzo Castellari fans only - his mark is all over this film. Check out Vic Morrow's Scottish accent too! I've never heard a Scotman talk like that, and I live there!
"Jaws" is the indisputable king of the "sea creatures attack" horror subgenre, but "The Last Shark" (along with "Jaws 2") is probably better than all the other "Jaws" sequels and countless ripoffs (and I say this having seen "Tentacles", "Tintorera", "Piranha" AND Lamberto Bava's "Monster Shark"). James Franciscus is an OK lead, and the film has good camera work and surprisingly clear underwater photography. Even the shark model they have constructed is not too bad; there is a great scene of it chomping a guy (who's hanging from a helicopter!) in half. Unfortunately, Castellari too often cuts away to stock footage of real sharks. In its defense, the movie itself acknowledges this practice, by having a character examining a videotaped attack say "You can barely see the shark", to which another character suggests "We can always use some stock footage. Nobody will know the difference". And it might indeed have been difficult to notice the difference, IF the footage was not so grainy, and IF the letterboxed version I saw didn't switch to fullscreen every time this footage was shown. (**1/2)
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