Mega Shark Vs. Mecha Shark
Three Stars (out of five). 2013. Released by The Asylum. Running time 90 minutes. Unrated. Has some violence and mild gore. This was reviewed on Netflix Instant on April 22, 2014.

Let's just get this straight: my name isn't Michael, and this isn't a Firebird, ok? Mega Shark Vs. Mecha Shark is the third installment in the thrilling (???) series that’s produced by the amazing filmmaking geniuses at The Asylum (???). Actually, all snark aside, I have to say that I quite enjoyed MSVMS for many reasons. For one thing, the boys and girls at The Asylum are making better movies these days--at least, on a technical level. MSVMS looks very professional, with a production design (and plenty of military stock footage) that makes the most out of its slender budget. The actors are very good, and try very hard to sell the goofy storyline, which has the world’s oceans threatened by another prehistoric Mega Shark who escapes from an iceberg that’s being towed into Egypt.

Where does Mecha Shark park when it's on land? Where ever the @#%$ it wants! But the United States Navy is on the job, having constructed a massive robotic shark (complete with the scary dorsal fin that cuts through the water) that’s designed specifically to combat another Mega Shark. You might wonder why they don’t just build a better sub, or more powerful torpedoes--but no, that would make too much sense. You see, MSVMS follows the proud tradition of such movies as Godzilla Vs. Mecha Godzilla, where the Japanese build a robotic beastie--complete with a tail and dorsal fins--to fight the Big G. Pacific Rim carried on this big monster movie tradition, and now MSVMS takes up the torch (only underwater…which might make the torch go out…but never mind).

Wait, Microsoft is no longer supporting our operating system?! Now you tell me this?! Elisabeth Röhm (the cool Serena Southerlyn from Law & Order) teams up with Christopher Judge (the unflappable Teal’c from Stargate: SG1) as the husband and wife team who mans the mecha shark. Both actors are sturdy professionals are who very convincing in their roles, even while they’re dealing with the kitschy Knight Rider-like computer voice of the Mecha Shark, known as Nero (Paul Anderson). And aside from the cheesiness of having something like a HAL wannabe in the film, why name the computer operating system of your submersible after a crazed Roman emperor when a name like Nemo (for Captain Nemo, from Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea) would have been more fitting?

Bitch, please...I'm Debbie Gibson, I know the score! But this is a minor problem. MAVMA really stumbles with its overall story. After enjoying a breezy B-movie flow from the very first frame, it becomes beached--literally--and the film’s pacing slows down to a crawl. While The Asylum might have gotten the technical part of its films down pat, they still have problems with their screenplays, which run out of gas after the first hour. And the way they dig themselves out of this problem is to simply add even more goofiness (the Mecha Shark grows tank tracks and fights on land!) that makes the film all the more silly, but the pacing is still as slow as a snail. Still, despite its flaws, MSVMS is a fun B-move ride. --SF

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