Night of the Sharks (1988)

Rating: D

Dir: “Anthony Richmond” [Tonino Ricci]
Star: Treat Williams, John Steiner, Antonio Fargas, Janet Agren

This lacklustre Italian film centers on a CD of incriminating phone chat between industrialist Rosentski (Steiner) and the US President, which ends up in the hands of Cancun beach-bum David Ziegler (Williams). For safe-keeping, he embeds the CD in a hunk of horsemeat, and feeds it to a shark which cruises just offshore. Re-read that sentence. Slowly. I can only trust the animal gave him a receipt, but it is clearly a special shark, growling like a tiger or trumpeting like an elephant during attacks. Rosentski tries subtle methods to retrieve the disk, including Ziegler’s ex-wife (Agren); when these fail, he resorts to good ol’-fashioned thuggery.

But Ziegler must be former Special Ops; he heads to the forest, and takes out the henchmen, one by one. Rosentski has to head to Cancum himself, where Ziegler – and his shark-shaped underwater CD storage cabinet – await. Director Ricci seems to have a thing for sharks, having previously made Cave of the Sharks and Encounter in the Deep. Certainly, there are times when this feels like a Discovery Channel TVM, but they probably wouldn’t like the harpooning of real sharks the film depicts.

That and the presence of ‘Huggy Bear’ (Fargas) as Ziegler’s sidekick, are about the only points of note, though there is a half-decent bar-brawl. Otherwise, this is utterly pedestrian in both plot and acting, and feels like an Andy Sidaris film, only without the breasts or tongue-in-cheek attitude. Still, I do feel it is a slight shame we never got to see Ricci’s planned sequels, Dawn of the Sharks and Day of the Sharks. The sharks probably demanded too much money.