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Movies in the Parx - Cocaine Shark

Every movie reviewer or critic has that one friend.

You know who they are.

They’re your own personal Jerry Springer: bringing to light things that you didn’t know of and had secretly hoped didn’t exist.

They find ‘em.

They watch ‘em.

And then…they want to pass the pain onto you.

I have a friend like that. One that makes me watch some of the worst train wrecks ever put to streaming. It’s the friend that you wonder if somehow, someway, they might secretly hate you. Well, after the amount of pain that’s been doled out, it’s time she gets her own segment here at the Cat.

Welcome to Movies in the Parx.

And yes, alcohol is REQUIRED.


Cue that saxxy jazz.

I knew I was in trouble the minute I saw her in the doorway.

It was a case I’d completely forgotten about…and wanted it to stay that way. I wouldn’t be so lucky.

“Remember Cocaine Shark?” she asked.

I played dumb. “Yeah…but I lost track, is it even out yet?”

She was fast with the Google. A little too fast. “Yup. And it’s on Tubi.”

I said I’d look into it, hoping to file it back to the end of the line. But she was a film femme fatale…and she wasn’t going to let me off so easy. Two days later, I saw her again, only this time she was…changed. Her entire demeanor screamed “pain”. It didn’t take a detective, even a bad film noir imitation like me, to figure out she’d opted to take on the shark...and came away from it all the worse for wear. “The last two minutes,” was all she could say before becoming overwhelmed. Looks like there was no way around it. I was finally gonna have to fill up my dance card and tango with…Cocaine Shark.’ My files only offered this:

A mad kingpin’s crusade to control the drug trade on both coasts leads him to an unconventional way of getting the job done: mutated sharks. This has an unintentional side effect, a new stimulant where he’s able to take over not just by force, but by offering a superior product. Can a damaged goods undercover cop infiltrate this syndicate in time to not only figure out what’s going on, but to stop it as well? And is there more to this stimulant than anyone is willing to admit?

With only her warning and where it could be found to go on, I had no other choice than to head to Tubi and see if I could figure out what it was all about. Hell, I’d loved Cocaine Bear, so there was at least a small part of me that thought, “Who knows? This may not suck.”

That assumption didn’t last long, seeing that this was a Polonia Brothers joint. You see, I don’t like to advertise it, but I’ve got a thing for the Spice. I’m talkin’ Melange here. So back when Dune Part 1 was hitting theaters, sure enough, the shelves and streaming services were filled with imitators…and I’ve been known to dabble. In this instance, it was Dune World. You’re not gonna find it by that name though. The Herbert Estate gets wise quick…and having a Z-grade pic named after Frank’s first draft of the legendary novel was met with the ire it deserved. So the name was changed. It’s Sand World now…but we’re not here to talk about that. The main takeaway is that I knew what I was in for…and set my expectations somewhere between the basement and the magma found in the Earth’s mantle.

I muttered a small prayer for my sanity and jumped in. Yeah…it was bad alright. Not Llamageddon bad…but not too far removed either. As I started my investigation…imagine my surprise at the distinct lack of cocaine in the movie. No, we’re talking about HT-25 here: a nasty little recipe made from sharks and nanobots. You know what’s not in it? Acting. Also a basic knowledge of how NP-35 facemasks work. Little hint bubba, if it ain’t over your nose, it’s not doing shit.

Anyway, the story isn’t exactly like solving a mystery…hell, there’s no way really to elaborate beyond the synopsis I opened with. Sure, you’ve got your cliches: crappy film noir narration, the story told in flashback form, cop infiltrates bad guys, said cop woos the big boss’ girlfriend, there’s a bunch of ‘who’s side is she really on’ before she comes down on the side of the dirty angels. Random shit starts happening and, if you’re looking for a coherent story here, I hate to burst your bubble, but it’s best if you move on. And then there’s the dirty little secret to the plot that they spoil within the first 10 minutes of the film. But let me tell you this, those last two minutes? They’re not as bad as they should be, you just gotta follow the clues. I’ll give you a hot tip: Dan Ackroyd’s early career…Twilight Zone – The Movie and old-school SNL. If you know what I mean, you’ll make it out of this one alive…a little worse for the wear…and your liver is for damn sure gonna hate you…but you’ll survive. If you don’t though, this ending’s gonna hurt. A lot. Hell, I saw it take down a kid in his prime. When it comes to bad movies, you gotta train, cut your teeth and your liver…and if you don’t? You’ll never make it in this business.

I wanna say that it’s not all bad…but that’s just not true. Instead, lemme say it like this: there’s bad-bad in this one and lots of it, but there are moments of so-bad-it’s-good. Those bits are our sharks and shark-like creatures. Keep in mind, this is damning with faint praise…but after a few fingers of whiskey…or maybe the whole hand…you’ll be in the right frame of mind for these kind of effects. Maybe not the story. But nothing’s gonna get you in the headspace for that.

Well…maybe weed. Maybe.

The only other thing worth mentioning is the dame, Natalie Himmelberger. She couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag, but she’s easy on the eyes. She plays Persephone, the drug-lord’s top trainer and main squeeze. Sure, you’ll see better in an infinite number of movies, but in a flick like this, you gotta grab on to even the slightest hints of positives. This one’s got beasts and blood…but sadly Natalie doesn’t bring the groceries…zero breast count.

I’m gonna tell you straight, this is the kind of flick you watch on a dare. Or late at night, a gullet full of cheap booze and maybe a hint of the herb. Either way, you’re gonna need some chemistry. There simply aren’t enough ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ moments to get into the same ZIP code as this digitized monstrosity. If I had to belabor a marine metaphor, I’d tell you Cocaine Shark is about as welcome as a stiff breeze off of Lake Erie in the 1960s: sure it may feel cool, but if you breathe that shit in for more than a minute…it’ll kill ya. Make no mistake, you’re gonna want to stay out of these manshark infested waters.

Case closed.

Signed, one Dead Cat.

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