SciFridays: “Red Water” (2003)


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Baddie – Daaaahdum. Daaaaahdum. Dahdumdahdumdahdumdahdum GREED.

Lesson – Redemption is best served in the bayou killin’ a beastie.

Gosh, it’s been forever since I’ve watched a movie about sharks. Honesty time – I grew up around the ocean and sharks scare the bejeezus out of me. So naturally, I enjoy shark movies the best. Also, I had no idea that this movie starred Lou Diamond Phillips and Coolio, but it DOES and it’s awesome. 

The premise is really the bad guy for this movie. There are about eight of them. On one hand, LDP is a struggling fisherman. On the other hand, there’s an oil tycoon drilling in a wildlife preserve. On the other other hand, Coolio is the cousin of a drug lord trying to recover his money. On the other other other hand, there’s a shark, an ex-wife and some shady side-dealings.

Also Coolio. Did I mention Coolio?

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Also Coolio. Did I mention Coolio?

LDP, of course, used to drill oil. That’s how he met Kelly. Then there was a blowout and two guys died, and LDP felt super guilty about it and left the business and his wife behind. So, yes, on one hand this is a story about LDP coming to terms with what happened and killing his metaphorical guilt in the literal form of a shark.

One of my main problems with this movie is I super don’t care about the technical aspects of drilling for oil. There’s about 20-30 minutes in the middle where I tuned out because it’s nothing but oil talk. I’m a stickler for accuracy, but I don’t require an ‘Oil 101’ class in the middle of my movie.

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Let’s talk about the shark. It’s established early on that it’s basically a big old bull shark, which is fine and great because oh by the way we’re in the bayou. Again. Don’t worry, no hillbillies. There is, however, some legitimate Cajun french stuff going on, and that was kind of refreshing. On a related note, this film had weirdly beautiful cinematographic moments.

This movie uses about 98% animatronic shark, so, mad props need to be given. The shark swims pretty well, and has jaw movement. It looks very natural in the water, particularly from the ‘fin’ attack scenes. There is good attribution to the tail movements. My issue with the shark is the head. This thing looks super dumb, and unfortunately that’s kind of the business end. It’s much too rounded for the side shots of attacking. The front-on, or coming up stuff is alright.

AGHOEFohhhhh wait.

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AGHOEFohhhhh wait.

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The acting was the thing I noticed least in this movie. It’s not bad, by any means, but it isn’t great. My favorite character ended up being Henry (Henri?), the cajun mechanic who can’t really swim despite growing up in the bayou. He’s cheeky and adorable. Even Coolio did a passable job.

Pictured above, a nature guide dying. It has no relevance to the review, it just…happened. She was on a low bridge.

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Really, the film does this weird thing where it lets the plot get in the way of the shark. There are some attacks at the beginning, and then a lull, then like two more, then a long lull and then obviously the climax of the film happens. There is just too much going on that the shark doesn’t really get to shine. Even when there is the big end to the film, the shark just feels like an inconvenience.

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Spoiler, but the way they kill the shark is kind of interesting. LDP takes the biggest risk I’ve ever seen a character do and DANGLES HIS BODY IN THE WATER to tempt the shark. The shark completely misses his body and darts up to the surface in the exact position needed to insert an oil drill firmly in its face. I’m sure there are some conflicted conservationists in the world now. On the plus side, if anyone was aware of this video, I’m slowly working my way through the references and now I know where the Coolio bit from the first minute is from! Yes, I can identify about 90% of them. No, I will not review Jersey Shore Shark Attack. Low hanging fruit, people.

Check out that bit of heroism above. How freaking epic is that image? Go LDP!

Conclusion? This is an enjoyable movie. Good kill scenes. There’s an underwater fight scene in a submerged car. That’s pretty sweet. There’s some fire, some explosions, some expendable characters, lots of bad guys, a touch of romance and a whole lot of shark.

It can sometimes be hard to write about horror when there’s so much real-life horror going on. Everyone stay strong.

One thought on “SciFridays: “Red Water” (2003)

  1. Pingback: SciFridays: “Raging Sharks” (2005) (Shark Week Special!) | Rooster Illusion

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