Shark Academy 5: Police Frenzy

I watched a couple of movies last night while Laura was at her church council meeting. It was a long meeting. She didn’t get home until 11:00.

First up, the SciFi original, Hammerhead: Shark Frenzy, starring Jeffrey (Re-Animator) Combs, William (Career Opportunities) Forsythe and Hunter (The Bold and the Beautiful) Tylo. It was no Alien Apocalypse (for which I am thankful), but that’s about the nicest thing I can say about it.

William Forsythe has been in a lot of movies — heck, he was in the epic gangster flick, Once Upon a Time in America — but he’s not exactly leading man material. He doesn’t have the physique for action, nor the personality for romance. He’s a pretty good tough guy, gruff goon type, but I certainly don’t buy him as the head of I.T. for a major pharmaceutical company. Sorry. (Side note: Mister Forsythe’s headshot on IMDb is very flattering. Makes him look like a young, badass Robert Duvall.)

The real star of Hammerhead (apart from the shark-human hybrid, I suppose) is Jeffrey Combs, anyway. He plays a mad scientist. He always plays a mad scientist. Combs’ Dr. King has found a way to cure cancer using shark stem cells (controversial!), but with horrific results: the patient becomes more shark than human. The bad doctor is searching for a way to bring back the patient’s humanity, as well as create viable offspring that will be the next step in human evolution. This involves stripping fairly attractive women down to their underthings and tossing them in a greenhouse with the manshark. Oh, did I mention that Dr. King’s hybrid is amphibious? That’s right, manshark is also a landshark, at home in the water but able to run through the jungle to kill pretty girls and machine gun-wielding goons.

The death toll is pretty high, as the manshark has quite the appetite. He even eats a couple of swimmers during Dr. King’s luau on the beach. Where these swimmers came from and why no one seems to notice that they’re missing is anyone’s guess. Numerous blood-soaked chunky bits and a couple of exploding helicopters later, Dr. King unsuccessfully attempts to get the manshark to mate with Hunter Tylo, gets his arm bitten off by his own abominable creation, and is shot in the back by William Forsythe. This is pretty standard for Jeffrey Combs.

Hammerhead is typical fare for the SciFi Channel. If it crawls, swims, slithers or flies and is remotely creepy, SciFi has mutated it and sicced it on the populace. Giant snakes and lizards, swarms of bees and other insects, spiders, and even the chupacabra have been featured in recent SciFi productions. Just tune in on any Saturday afternoon and you’ll see what I mean. If it weren’t for the Stargate series (coming soon: Stargate Miami) and Battlestar Galactica, there wouldn’t actually be any science-fiction on the SciFi Channel.

Ah, but I’m high atop my soapbox again. Best climb down and get back on track. Hammerhead: Shark Frenzy is certainly not a good movie, but it was at least mildly entertaining. The manshark looked nifty in his tank (where he was computer-generated), but not very nifty in the choppy, frenetic glimpses of him roaming about on land. Even worse were the ridiculous close-ups of his eye as he watched his hapless prey stumble through the jungle. The victims characters ranged from generic (the millionaire’s pretty, vapid girlfriend and the mad scientist’s hunched over, servile assistant) to unbelieveable (I’m telling you, there’s no way Forsythe’s character is in I.T.) and the story was predictable, with just the right number of inconsistencies to keep it amusing.

Later, while cooking a bit of a late dinner, I happened across Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach. I… don’t know why I watched it. I plead temporary insanity.

In terms of number of sequels, Police Academy franchise sits somewhere between Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (5 sequels) and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (8 sequels).

The most recent, Mission to Moscow, was released in 1994. According to IMDb, we haven’t seen the last of Bubba Smith and Michael Winslow. There’s a new Police Academy movie in the works, slated for release next year. This as-yet untitled movie will be the seventh sequel in the series, and is apparently being directed by Hugh Wilson, who directed the original Police Academy but none of its sequels. No word as to whether Commandant Lassard (George Gaynes), who has been in every installment to date, will be returning. As Mister Gaynes is currently 88 years old, I’d say the chances are fairly slim. (A very, very interesting side note for every Suomi poika and tyttö who might be reading this: George Gaynes was born in Helsinki, Finland.)

More than anything about the Police Academy series, I remember Leslie Easterbrook’s enormous breasts the theme song. In high school band, I eschewed scales as my warmup, opting instead to bring my trombone to temperature with the Police Academy theme. I couldn’t quote lines from the movies or remember much of the “plots,” but I could certainly play the opening bars of that theme song on the trombone.

So, maybe it was the theme song that snared me. Yeah, that’s it.