THE LAST SHARK (1981)
aka Great White, L’ultimo squalo
Article 4332 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Enzo G. Castellari
Featuring James Franciscus, Vic Morrow, Micaela Pignatelli
What it is: Recycled JAWS
A coastal community is threatened by a shark. Several people try to kill it.
You know, it seems to me that if you’re going to try to tempt a 28 foot long great white shark with a big chunk of meat hanging from a helicopter, you’d better have it set up so you can detach it quickly if the shark proves too much for you. And that’s the main lesson I learned from this, one of the most notorious rip-offs of Spielberg’s original movie; this one steals so much from the original story that it lost a suit from Universal, forcing it to be yanked from theaters. James Franciscus plays Roy Scheider, and Vic Morrow plays Robert Shaw. In all honesty, it doesn’t completely lift everything from its model; the movie does come up with at least one subplot involving two movie men trying to cash in on the shark’s presence by shooting as much footage as they can. Personally, I think a movie that had made that aspect the center of the story could have made some interesting comments about sensationalism and the media. Beyond that and the fact that the movie provides a few campy moments, there’s little to recommend here.