The action-horror flick ‘Megalodon Rising’ marks the return of the greatest aquatic predator in cinematic history, and it is the sequel to the 2018 movie ‘Megalodon.’ Brian Nowak takes over the directing reigns from James Thomas, who helmed the previous chapter from a screenplay penned by Andrea Ruth. This flick, just like its predecessor, is from Asylum First Class Productions and stars Wynter Eddins, Freda Yifan Jing, O’Shay Neal, Tom Sizemore, and Zhan Wang. ‘Megalodon Rising’ was released on streaming and Video On Demand on August 27.
Asylum is, of course, known for producing low budget direct to video mock busters, including twists on classics such as ‘Snakes on a Train,’ ‘The Da Vinci Treasure,’ ‘Pirates of Treasure Island,’ ‘Battles of Los Angeles’ among others. However, they have also released a thread of their own original titles, including ‘Mega Python vs Gatoroid,’ ‘Two Headed Shark Attack,’ ‘Bermuda Tentacles,’ and ‘The Doctor Will Kill You Now.’ The studio has also expanded into making some family-friendly titles with the recent mentions being ‘Princess and the Pony,’ ‘CarGO,’ and ‘A Beauty & The Beast Christmas.’
In ‘Megalodon Rising’, a Chinese warship with three crew members aboard is on a mission conducting tests on some classified espionage device just off the United States coastline. The study is deemed a success when suddenly, a colossal shark rams into and sinks their ship. All the crew members perish with the vessel except for Dr. Lee, a role embodied by Freda Yifan Jing, who is then picked up by a United States destroyer under the command of Captain Lynch, a role played by Wynter Eddins. A Chinese destroyer then turns up, demanding the handover of Dr. Lee’s failure to cave into their request would lead to a brutal confrontation leading to an intense armed standoff.
The two opposing sides aside, the colossal killer shark assumed to be extinct has awakened, and all the modern machinery trying to exterminate the ferocious beast seems to be no match at all.
This second chapter follows the first film’s formula pretty closely. For example, Captain Lynch is the sister of the first film’s Captain with the same name, Tom Sizemore from ‘7 Deadly Sins’ takes over the guest star position from Michael Maden, best known for ‘Shark Season’ and the Chinese now replace the Russians as the villains from the first movie. The film is already a slow film for an action-horror thriller. There is too much of the Chinese-US standoff coupled with the XO’s personal agenda, which neither adds any aspects of suspense nor injects any excitement leading to a tedious drag.
‘Megalodon Rising’ isn’t anywhere near the best shark movies made in Hollywood, considering the likes of ‘Jaws’ from acclaimed director Steven Spielberg which set the bar extremely high. However, being a low budget, it is actually among some of the better titles Asylum has been chucking out recently. However, this doesn’t mean it is astounding as there are no wow factors whatsoever to be found in this flick. The quality is noticeably on the down-low, even for a movie of its caliber. It could have done better, but again it’s from Asylum. Interestingly, the sharks look quite decent with a realistic touch to them, even for an Asylum movie which is something to give the production company some props for. Actually, the movie’s poster had a normal-looking shark on it. Oddly enough, none of that was seen anywhere in the film.
There are indeed numerous plot holes in the narrative that are really hard to ignore as they erode the film’s credibility. For instance, the Chinese manage to somehow sneak an armada of warships across the Pacific without anyone noticing, which doesn’t make sense at all, even for a movie. Another loophole is the showdown between the soldiers and the man-eating sharks in San Diego, where despite the beasts hitting the warships numerous times and the men furiously firing at them with their huge machine guns, no one at the beach seems to notice or leave the water. There is also a conversation about sharks and their swim bladders, and from facts, sharks do not have these but rely on the lift generated by their large pectoral fins, much like the way an airplane’s wings provide lift in the air hence why they have to keep moving so they don’t sink.
The graphics on the ship were pretty great; however, if one paid close attention, they could notice that the ship was an old WWII cargo ship called SS Lane Victory, not a modern warship as depicted in the movie, there were the initials KECW on the bridge which prove this. Usage of words and terms was entirely out of context of what one would expect in a warship. There were terms like ‘Wire the Admiral.’ The captain kept calling the guy in charge of comms ‘Wilco,’ which simply means will comply an equivalent to copy that or roger that. Another interesting aspect of this feature is that the studio still used the old trick of recycling and reusing previously used material in the same movie several times.
The utterly unbelievable interchange between the obviously few members of both the American and Chinese navy is pretty amusing in its lack of wit despite shark action missing out. No airstrikes seem to land on the battleships, and no panic among senior government officials is established considering the capacity of the issue at hand. It is seemingly ridiculous that the crew members at all levels question orders.
The performances by the various actor weren’t breathtakingly outstanding, but it was just okay. The script, of course, could have had something to do with it as it wasn’t among the good ones. Both the actors and the actresses managed to stay afloat in this volatile storyline exceeding the expectations of many. One performer, though, who made an exemplary delivery has got to be Freda Yifan Jing as Dr. Lee.
If you are looking for an exhilarating shark movie that will get your adrenaline pumping, then ‘Megalodon Rising’ isn’t the title for you. However, it is fun to watch if you intend to pinpoint the many obvious flaws that could have been fixed with a couple of rewrites and some fact checking.