Plot: Sheriff Watson (Robert Davi) is involved in some shady business, but when an animal smuggling operation takes an unexpected turn, he can only watch as a shark is unleashed into his local waters. He barely survives the shark’s escape from a tanker truck, but some others aren’t as lucky and as the beast feeds on local wildlife, it arouses suspicion. Rachel (Kristy Swanson) is excited for Gator Fest, but when the shark’s attacks begin to spoil the fun, she decides to take action. She is determined to hunt down the creature preying on the local ecosystem, but despite being well armed, even she isn’t prepared to battle this shark. As it turns out, this is no mere killer shark, but a rare shark with an exoskeleton that makes it nearly impossible to kill. Can the rednecks find a weakness or will the shark feast until no one is left alive?
Entertainment Value: If you’ve ever wanted to see baseball legend Wade Boggs battle a shark, this is what you’ve dreamed about. This made for television movie is a step up from the horde of shark attack pictures on cable, not a genre classic of course, but more than watchable. The narrative is predictable and borrows from the Jaws series, no surprise there, but it gets down to business and focuses on the shark attacks and colorful characters, which is good news. I also liked that while the shark isn’t ever present, there are a number of attack scenes and those include some bloodshed, a welcome touch since a lot of these movies have avoided the red stuff. Now that carnage isn’t graphic or at all realistic, but at least there’s some violence in the…violent shark attacks. The movie has a fun cast as well, not just Boggs either, but Robert Davi, Kristy Swanson, and a bleak D.B. Sweeney, a solid lineup for this kind of flick. Davi and Swanson are fun to watch, but Sweeney seems like he’s in hell and more or less phones it in, which happens a lot in these shark attack movies. I think genre fans will appreciate the good pace and lack of extended filler scenes, leaving us with a fairly fun, brisk sharksploitation ride that is worth strapping in for.
No nakedness. As with most of these made for cable shark adventures, we have some girls in bikinis, but that’s as far as things go here. As for the blood, there’s not a lot here, but I do think there’s a little more than usual for these television productions, so that is always a plus. The shark attacks are frequent and have some digital blood flowing, which at least adds a little horror vibe to those moments. The gore is low rent and not overly creative or graphic, but still, better than none at all in this case. The shark itself is along the same lines, about what you’d expect from the visual effects here, but the movie is able to hide the flaws better than anticipated. The visual effects provide some laughs in other scenes as well, including the ridiculous opening scene where Robert Davi flees from a tanker truck that looks like a video game cut scene. The dialogue isn’t that memorable, not bad per se, just not that wild or quotable. Some one liners come through, but I wish more colorful banter was present here. Although, some viewers might appreciate the Jaws references, I suppose. Not a lot of craziness either, though the tanker truck scene and some general b movie elements notch up the score a little.
Overall Insanity: 1/10
The Disc: Swamp Shark was released as part of the Shark Bait collection from Mill Creek Entertainment, with a total of seven movies included, six shark flicks and one alligator movie to balance things out. Swamp Shark is watchable in this presentation, but four movies on one disc does cause some issues. The underwater scenes show blocking and other digital issues, but for the most part, the movie looks passable. The colors are bright and natural, while contrast is solid, outside of the issues I mentioned before.