01:37 – Digging the Jaws 2-esque set up – unsuspecting teens on a catamaran.
03:30 – I actually love this whole opening sequence – director Renny Harlin sets up all the classic “opening kill scene” tropes, but then turns it on its head by having the teens escape death when they’re saved by…
03:45 – THOMAS JANE: SHARK WRANGLER (and his trusty restraining harpoon)
05:19 – Cut to a quick set-up with Shark Scientist Saffron Burrows and Pharmaceutical Big-Shot Samuel L. Jackson. Short story shorter: Dr. Saffy has 2 days to prove to Sam Jack that her shark brain research holds the secret to curing Alzheimer’s, or else his company will pull the funding on her whole project.
06:00 – Road Trip! But actually, it’s by helicopter…over the Pacific, so…Air Trip? Sea n’ Sky Trip? Whatever, they’ve reached the research center.
06:50 – Welcome to…Jurassic Water Park! No, um…Welcome to Waterworld? No, wait – AQUATICA! Welcome to Aquatica, y’all!
07:45 – The first thing you see on the docks of Aquatica are the “Limited Access” and “Authorized Personnel Only” signs. If I just took a chopper ride dozens of miles off the coast of Baja to arrive at what looks like a floating concentration camp, then I damn well better have automatic authorization and full Aquatica access, or else Yelp is gonna hear about it.
09:02 – Thomas Jane is apparently also a shark rodeo clown as well as a wrangler.
11:25 – Ooh, the test sharks have Spidey-Sense Shark Vision ™
11:45 – Jacqueline McKenzie’s job title is apparently Exposition Expert and Info Dump Coordinator, so Sam Jack (and us) get a quick run-down of Aquatica and its weekend skeleton crew. Besides Dr. Saffy and TJ the Sharkboy, we’ve got Useless Control Tower Person Aida Turturro, Operations/Maintenance Dude Michael Rapaport and the “most brilliant” Sharks-pert Scientist, Stellan Skarsgard.
13:22 – “Eight feet – give or take a centimetre”…um, nice try Mike Rap, but those units of measurement do NOT go together.
14:35 – Dr. Saffy, getting her floppy disks in order and booting up her shark screen-saver program, uh, I mean “research data”.
15:53 – “Do you like…wreck diving?” Sam Jack delivers this line to TJ just dripping with innuendo.
15: 59 – “I bet you’re really good at it.” SEE?!!
16:51 – Oh, and here is the forgotten member of Aquatica’s skeleton crew – the bible-quoting, cake-baking LL Cool J as the crew cook, Preacher. And his parrot…Bird. Wow, looks like someone ran out of creative energy when it came time to name all the characters in his screenplay.
18:20 – Uh-oh…Shark-on-Shark Attack! ChompChompChomp. All done!
19:45 – Turns out LL Cool Cakes was baking stuff for the…surprise birthday party for Dr. Saffy! Wheeee!
19:50 – Aida tries to get the party started by firing off a few flare guns – because really, why would people on a remote aquatic research station need to save them for an actual emergency?
20:20 – Tiki torches! Now we’re talking PAR-TAY! But not really, since there’s only 7 people (plus LL Cool Cakes, now demoted to bartender) and they’re listening to a lame cover of “La Isla Bonita”.
21:00 – “When the world was just flesh and teeth”, I think someone better check Dr. Stellan’s academic background, because that’s some shaky science right there.
21:24 – Exposition Expert Jacqui arrives for some more Info Dumping. Nutshell: Sharks are awesome and always stay healthy so harvesting protein from their brain might be able to cure human ailments (somehow). So, Aquatica’s main function is to do “brain-building” experiments and tests on three sharks so they can increase the production of their super brain protein. Sounds okay to me!
23:18 – Aida catches a weather report announcing a plot device, uh, “heavy storm” headed for Aquatica.
26:00 – Uh-oh…the sharks synchronized their attack on TJ’s shark cage AND recognized TJ’s harpoon gun AND swam backwards (which sharks can’t do). “But that’s impossible!” says Jacqui, even though we just literally heard her say how they jacked up the sharks brain power to 5 times above normal. That means they’re all supa-smart now, duh.
27:15 – And apparently smart enough to turn off the main power switch for Aquatica, too.
28:53 – Bringing a tranq’d up supa-shark INTO the main research lab and only tether it down with two flimsy straps I wouldn’t even trust to hold down an IKEA flat box to the back of my truck just has “bad idea” written all over it.
32:55 – How bad? Like lose-your-arm bad as Dr. Stellan discovers when he gets a little too close to the no longer sleepy sharky. CHOMP!
36:00 – Get to tha choppa!! Although evac-ing Dr. Stellan via rescue chopper while The Perfect Storm rages on seems like ANOTHER bad idea, y’all.
38:20 – And it totally IS. SPLOOSH! Strapped into a gurney Dr. Stellan does his best human anchor impression.
39:10 – Jaws 2 Homage Showdown: Shark vs. Rescue Chopper! Place yer bets!
39:30 – Final Results: Shark: 2 (R.I.P. helicopter pilots) Chopper: 1 (chopper + control tower = Aida go boom!)
41:12 – But wait! Dr. Stellan is still alive…ish. But gets used a projectile.
41:50 – CRACK! SPLOOSH!
42:00 – While everyone scrambles to swim out of the soon-to-be-flooded research lab, LL Cool Cakes is back in kitchen, apparently starring in his own buddy comedy about a preachy cook and his wise-ass parrot.
44:20 – LL decides to channel his Halloween: H20 role and wander around by himself, talking out loud, and being completely unaware that everyone else in the movie is currently being attacked and/or brutally killed.
45:05 – As he reaches the stairwell, LL’s Spidey-Sense starts to tingle…
45:10 – STAIRWELL FLOOD!
46.05 – The rest of the cast gets full-on POSEIDON’d.
47:00 – Hmm, the flooded research lab now has a nice big supa-shark-sized hole in it. How convenient.
47:28 – If I was LL Cool Cake’s parrot and he kept referring to me as just “Bird”, then I’d probably call him a dickhead too.
49:10 – Dr. Saffy admits to everyone that her and Dr. Stellan may have done some unethical genetic tampering to make the shark’s brains physically bigger in order to handle their excess super protein (or whatever), so that may account for why the sharks are like, SUPER DUPER smart and being totes aggressive.
49:20 – Jacqui: “You stupid bitch!” No further exposition needed.
50:40 – “What does an 8,000 lbs. Mako shark with a brain the size of a V8 engine and no natural predator want the most?” REALLY not the time for a pop quiz, Sam Jack.
51:30 – A Playboy magazine floats down the semi-flooded kitchen hallway, right up to LL Cool Cakes. Huh, I guess its true – Ladies really do Love Cool James.
51:50 – Shark in the hall! (And without a hall pass, I bet). Good thing LL is armed with his trusty frying pan!
52:50 – Meanwhile, back in Deep Blue Sea, the team has made it to the submarine bay…and it hasn’t been flooded – yay! But the escape pod submarine has been smashed – boo!
53:42 – Hallway Shark is stealthily stalking LL, who is back in his buddy comedy mode and trying to coax his parrot to him.
54:30 – Too late! SPLOOSH! SQUAWK! CHOMP! Bye-bye “Bird”
54:45 – LL avoids becoming the next item on the menu by (literally) diving into an industrial-sized oven.
55:40 – While trying to bash through the oven, the shark suddenly realizes that Broiled LL sounds kinda tasty, so he pauses to turn the oven on.
57:00 – LL escapes through the upper oven (?) somehow and dives over the shark, who is now wedged in the lower oven like an overweight shar pei stuck in a doggie door.
57:05 – And just as it gets free, LL tosses his lighter back into the now gas-filled kitchen and ka-boom! Shark Flambé! Final Results: LL Cool Cakes: 1(hallway shark) Hallway Shark: 0.5 (Bird)
57:33 – Everyone else feels the force of LL’s explosion, briefly appear to think “eh, it’s probably just LL” and then go back to trying to figure out a way out of Aquatica.
59:05 – Sam Jack suggests they all wetsuit up cuz they might have to swim to the surface. Mike Rap definitely ain’t down with that and everyone starts fighting about the best way to escape Aquatica (which all seem to involve straight-up abandoning LL’s ass, since no one has even mentioned him, let alone that he might still be alive and down for some escapin’).
59:30 – Sam Jack takes charge and tells everyone to shut up and man up, cuz he’s survived a deadly environmental disaster before, and goddamn it, he’ll do it again!
59:45 – Except he won’t. Because supa-sharks don’t like loudmouths, especially ones who stand too close to the submarine docking bay, and…CHOMP! WHAM! CHOMPCHOMP*RIP*CHOMPCHOMP!
1:01:49 – “What is the precise structural failure limit for Aquatica?” “What happens when we get more than 3200 lbs. of water in this rig?” Dammit, TJ – REALLY not the time for pop quizzes.
1:04:45 – The crew starts their revised escape plan and immediately get trapped in the Vertical Shaft of Double Deadly Threats! Seriously, there are flaming chunks falling from above and a frenzied shark in the rising waters below.
1:06:35 – Jacqui chooses option (b): frenzied shark.
1:07:00 – Ouchy…crotch chomp.
1:08:00 – Stuck in the shaft on a broken ladder, our surviving crew members have no hope of escape…until LL Cool Cakes, apparently just passing by, opens an escape hatch and strolls on it. The others smile gratefully and do their best to pretend that they hadn’t entirely forgotten he even existed.
1:11:26 – LL explains Einstein’s Theory of Relativity to Mike Rap…what is up with everyone getting all educational on everyone else’s ass? Supa-sharks wanna eat ya – you can prep for the SATs later!
1:12:30 – Mike Rap: “We got one – there’s two left”. Oh, so NOW that LL has killed a shark, he suddenly gets included in the group? Hmph – they just wanna boost their stats.
1:17:00 – Mike Rap goes off with TJ to help him do some heavy underwater lifting to free up another escape route, and since no good deed goes unpunished…CHOMP!
1:18:20 – Meanwhile, Dr. Saffy thinks that with two sharks left roaming the flooded facility, it’s the perfect time for a field trip to her half-submerged office to get her “research data”.
1:22:20 – And one of the sharks thinks that’s a great idea and joins her for some chomp time, but the resourceful Dr. Saffy jumps out of the water onto a desk and somehow hulk-busts a huge power cable out of the wall and deep-fries that sharky sucka. ZAP!
CURRENT SHARK KILLS TALLY
The Cook: 1
The Scientist: 1
The Shark Wrangler: 0
1:25:00 – TJ explains his revised revised escape plan – use fire extinguishers as decoys and then swim to surface – but not too fast, or else your lungs will pop!
1:25:27 – LL Cool Preacher leads a group prayer after TJ opens the floodgates.
125:52 – “Two sharks down lord, one demon fish to go – can I get an amen?!” AMEN.
1:27:45 – They make it to the surface just in time for the last supa-shark to grab LL and take him on a whirlwind tour around the remains of Aquatica.
1:28:19 – BUT! LL decides to show TJ how shark-wrangling is really done and grabs his big ol’ crucifix necklace and jabs it in supa-sharks supa-squishy eye! SPLOOTCH!
1:30:00 – LL takes a breather, so it’s crunch time for TJ and Dr. Saffy as they realize they have to kill the Mako before it manages to escape from Aquatica’s pens (but really, why bother? Seriously, it’s a big ocean – let it be someone else’s problem, y’all).
1:31:00 – TJ manages to MacGyver some dynamite out of some flares (the ones that Aida didn’t manage to waste at the surprise party) and also has some plan to rig up his harpoon cable to a boat battery or something.
1:32:12 – TJ can’t get a good shot at supa-Mako, so Dr. Saffy decides to use herself as bait by slicing her hand and jumping in the water so her blood will lure the Mako back into range for TJ’s harpoon.
1:33:00 – TJ, the world’s worst shark wrangler, doesn’t even take the shot and instead jumps in the water to save Dr. Saffy.
1:33:40 – But only manages to see her get chomped instead. Awesome shark-wrangling there TJ, way to make her sacrifice totally pointless.
1:34:32 – TJ decides to take up shark surfing, so now it’s up to LL Cool Cakes to drag himself and his bloody leg over to the harpoon, shoot the shark, then connect the cable to the boat battery. Which he does.
1:35:35 – KA-BOOM! The Mako blows up in a fiery, bloody cloud of bad special effects copy-pasted from Jaws 3-D.
1:36:17 – But the bad fx didn’t get TJ, and he joins fellow survivor (and now two-time shark killa), LL Cool Cakes just in time for the fade-out and cue to LL’s title theme, “Deepest Bluest (Shark’s Fin)”, which somehow did not get an Oscar nom for Best Original Song.
“To survive an attack/there’s only one way/Battle to death/that’s the shark’s way”
Preach on, Preacher!