Weeeeooooooo weeeooooo weeeeoooooooo! Outta the water everyboooody! Shark alarm! It’s a bloody Megalodome… uh… Megalodone… um… it’s a big fucking shark! Weeeeooooooo weeeooooo! Who’s going to stop the giant shark?! I know! Let’s call TV’s Conan the Barbarian, Ralf Moeller! BUT DON’T STOP SOUNDING THAT FUCKING SHARK ALARM!
original title: Hai-Alarm auf Mallorca
aka: Shark Attack in the Mediterranean
Germany, 2004, Jorgo Papavassiliou
Shark Alarm opens with a distressing voice over from a high-pitched child telling some boring story about a shipwreck. It has nothing to do with the film, so let’s forget it ever happened, just like the filmmakers do (until the closing credits when the story is confusedly brought up again). The actual story centres on a scientific institute who, in a silly plot reminiscent of Deep Blue Sea, are using sharks to cure a disease. In this case, it’s cancer. These well meaning scientists are presented as creepy villains with a fetishy love for sharks, despite the fact that they legitimately want to cure cancer. Oooohhh, what cunts!
Anyway, these scientists have managed to clone a big fucking Megalodon. Now, let me just take the moment to draw attention to the fact that none of the voice cast dubbing the German actors appear to know how to pronounce ‘Megalodon’ — either that, or it was some kind of wonderful prank. ‘Megalodon’ goes through so many iterations. You can even hear the strain in the actors’ wavering voices before they say the word. It’s fucking amazing. Anyway, the Megalodon, or Megalodowne, has gotten loose and its escape is being hushed up. The only person who knows what’s up is — yes, you guessed it — TV’s Conan the Barbarian, Ralf Moeller, playing the role of Sven Hansen.
Sven is basically a shitty, muscled version of Chief Brody as he shouts and screams his way through the film attempting to convince the authorities a giant shark is eating people. His wife was eaten by a shark back in the day, so he’s pretty sensitive when it comes to that sort of thing. He also flies a helicopter, which makes him super cool, and his idiotic daughter is permanently putting herself into harm’s way. Sven is supposedly the film’s hero, but thanks to the fact that he literally puts a stop to a cure for cancer kind of strips away any heroic qualities. He’s a dick. A big, stinking dick. He’s also smug as fuck and loves to burst into rooms ranting all sorts of unfounded, unscientific anti-shark propaganda.
I fell asleep more times than I could count watching Shark Alarm. It took a whopping three sittings to get through. It’s not so much boring. The action is pretty consistent. It’s just hypnotic in its terrible execution. The droning dialogue, the weird editing that swings from frantic jump cuts to static nothingness — this is a jarring, exhausting watch. It does, however, provide some incredible laughs. Most of which come from its star, TV’s Conan the Barbarian, Ralf Moeller.
TV’s Conan the Barbarian, Ralf Moeller, is not a performer I’m really familiar with outside of TV’s Conan the Barbarian and some bit parts here and there. He seems to have a long history of playing thugs and tough guys and, of course, TV’s Conan the Barbarian. Here, he’s supposed to be a caring dad — as shown in a scene where he cooks his daughter and his love interest the most upsetting looking meal in cinema history — but he’s more like a big hunk of meat in a leather jacket than a human being. He storms through scenes flatly threatening people, whether its his best friend, his daughter’s boyfriend, or a shark. Despite his hostile person, the script really wants to convince us that he’s awesome. Everybody he comes across — other than the cancer curing creeps — love him. Even this fat barbecue-loving rich guy (Ottfried Fischer, who is in the film for like thirty seconds but is featured prominently on the poster above) whose barbecue-and-babes lunch is ruined by Sven…
Almost as enjoyable as TV’s Conan the Barbarian, Ralf Moeller, is the incredible leaps in logic and faith characters take. One such moment is when Sven’s scientist pal Julia (Julia Bennet) accepts a likely lengthy sentence of attempted manslaughter and several other crimes by blindly believing Sven’s insane Megalodon rants and breaking him out of prison. The jail break — where she drives a car through the prison’s entrance, nearly killing a guard — is followed by a ludicrous car chase where Sven and Julia crack inane jokes while causing absurd amounts of property damage. This scene is set to a score that closely resembles the soundtrack of an episode of Looney Tunes parodying a gangster movie.
The movie’s basic understanding of just about everything is very off. When the apparently evil, shark-loving, cancer-curing Dr. Brandauer (Katy Karrenbauer) is eaten by her creation, there’s no real sense of loss. This lady could have cured cancer, now she’s a fucking shark snack. Sven tells his buddy at the end of the film that he’ll do him a favour by checking his cancer-ridden wife into a really good hospital to help out with the whole cancer thing. His pal is wet-eyed and thankful, as if her cancer is gone already. That’s not how it works, pal. And if Sven was his ‘best friend’, as he dramatically claims in a highly emotional scene, and has access to a great cancer facility, why the fuck didn’t he offer this support earlier? Fuck you, TV’s Conan the Barbarian!
You may have noticed I’ve spent more time discussing TV’s Conan the Barbarian, Ralf Moeller, than the film’s big shark. There’s a reason for that. For a film called Shark Alarm, there’s an ALARMINGLY (HAHAHAHAHA!) small amount of shark action. The Megalodon is mostly shown tumbling through the water without much in the way of comparative visual context, making its size seem less impressive. It also changes size frequently — ballooning from the size of a pretty big great white to the ridiculous size of a bus within two consecutive scenes. That said, it is rather sad to note that the CGI in this ten year old stinker is better than the effects from the glut of shark nonsense coming out now. There are a few borderline impressive shark moments. Don’t worry, though, it’s mostly shit and silly.
It will be no surprise to anyone that this film is garbage. But it is at least mildly entertaining. Like the hysterical Raging Sharks (2005), it’s made funnier by the fact that it takes itself more seriously than the deliberately crap post-Megashark era shark films. Shark Alarm tries its damndest. There’s car chases, explosions, helicopters, and a speedboat race. It even throws in a cameo from German pop star Jeanette Biedermann who sings a sleazy song in tiny shorts. Shark Alarm‘s efforts are endearing. And if you can’t get any joy out of TV’s Conan the Barbarian, Ralf Moeller, blowing up a shark from a helicopter, than god help you.
I’m sure you now feel the need to have this in your collection, no? Well, bad news. Shark Alarm is out of print and costs way too much now. It’s not worth it, but grab it if you come across it in a bargain bin, okay?