Sharks eating people: there’s a topic that guarantees my attendance. So when I heard that this little Mexican film that combines shark attacks with a softcore 70s vibe wherein hot Mexican guys wear nothing but Speedos, naturally it shot to the top of my rental list.
The scene is Cancun, where Esteban [Steve herafter] and the swarthy Miguel ply their trade killing sharks, and spend all leisure time picking up and bedding any of the “liberated” ladies who come to the resort town to engage in 70s style Mexican-movie free love. Two women arrive, and soon accept a ride from this middle-aged Mexican lech and his assistant. The girls rebuff the man’s advances, later climbing up onto the pile of oranges in the back of the truck, where they soon fall asleep. The men then climb up and attempt to rape them, which causes the girls to laugh and say “oh well, I guess we may as well give in.” Such is the world of this movie.
Meanwhile, Miguel, who truly wears nothing but a Speedo for 80% of the film, receives extensive coverage as he saunters across a pool and scales a wall to enter the room of another lusty lady. Later Steve shows up, and he and Miguel spend significant amounts of time together in states of undress, talking about sex, when not picking up women together and often having sex with them together. Steve favors tight white pants and shorts that allow his cock to flop visibly down his leg, while Miguel is always in a Speedo, and the camera takes long, loving, lingering shots of his body—which is worth all the attention. Aside from the vibe between the two leads, the whole movie comes off as homoerotic simply for the sheer amount of energy it puts into staring at these two guys and how very sexy they are. Well, how very sexy Miguel is. Steve, unfortunately, while being a hot-blooded, sleazy 70s TYPE I admire, is in reality quite the cold, unappetizing wet noodle. The movie inexplicably pretends that it is even slightly realistic that women are attracted to him.
Nevertheless, I would argue that this movie is not so much homoerotic as it simply shows how, to us, ANY movie that finds a man as worthy of lust as a woman comes off as homo because we’re so un-used to that in this country. In America we leer at women and admire men’s looks or abilities, but we rarely really sexually objectify men in the way that we do women. In fact, the only people who make a big deal out of being turned on by men are, for the most part, gay men. Which I think is why this film gets labeled ‘homoerotic’.
What this film really casts into strong relief is how in America a SEXY man is one who looks like a woman, has no bulge in his crotch to speak of, and looks hot and glowering while really wanting to bake muffins and RELATE about your last four boyfriends. Furthermore, the aesthetic in film that finds men sexy and worthy of leering at is completely discouraged in the US, which is probably why most American men feel that their penises will fall of should their glance inadvertently fall on another man. In this film, there is an overwhelming omnisexual vibe, finding pretty much everyone within sight attractive, and it strikes me that while there’s really not much homo about it, in the context of our society that comes off as COMPLETELY GAY. Of course, American men at large don’t seem to be phased at all by having their existences limited in this way, because as we all know, the very worst thing in the world would be to be thought of as a fucking fag.
Okay, so it's impossible for me to claim that this movie isn't completely gay when one considers the picture to right, but you get my point.
So anyway, nearly the whole of the movie is made up of softcore come-ons and situations [though always cutting away before there’s any actual sex—we have to have some decency, people!], with the guys talking about having sex in between. This movie, while awash in the exact kind of 70s music, imagery, grooming styles, and air of free-love sleaze that I so adore from the 70s, is also so similar throughout that you can seriously skip large portions of it and not miss a thing. That makes it a great camp movie to have on in the background at a party, as you do NOT need to follow any kind of story [because there IS no story!] in order to enjoy the film. In a related development, MORE THAN HALF of the film is in untranslated Spanish [at least I furiously pressed my ‘subtitles’ and ‘audio’ buttons and nothing happened]. The good part of that is that a) it’s all so simple you will be able to follow what’s going on, despite the fact that b) you won’t care what’s going on.
By now perhaps you’re thinking “Uh, isn’t there supposed to be a SHARK in here somewhere?” Why, you perceptive little scamp. Yes, there IS supposed to be a shark, a killer tiger shark [or Tinorera, as we in the know call them], and he does in fact munch two people in two short scenes that are spaced seriously far apart. But no one at the resort seems to worry about it, least of all our two leads, who DID in fact lose a girlfriend they were both sharing to the beast. What this movie substitutes in its place, however, are numerous scenes of sharks getting killed. Yes Virginia, Sharks WERE harmed during the making of this film. We are treated to NUMEROUS sequences of sharks getting shot in the head, then spinning slowly in spirals as blood trails out of their gills, until they finally settle dead on the sea floor. This is one of those movies in the horror category that try to up the horror and gore factor by including footage of actual animals getting tortured and/or killed. It didn’t bother me so much [though it does get dull], though I know others were bothered enough by the wholesale slaughter [you see what seems like 20 of them die] that they really turned against the film. Something to know about.
Anyway, after an hour and 15 minutes [of the 2 hour movie] the tiger shark finally shows up for reals, and at an hour and 20 minutes the actual PLOT of the movie kicks in. That is that the two guys are going to have a triple-marriage of sorts with the toothy and repulsive Gabriella, played by Susan George [of Mandingo fame!]. She’s a definite Monet [looks good from a distance, but is a mess up close], and there’s no way the steamy muscular Miguel would look twice at her, though she seems like a good match for the aesthetically-challenged Steve. Oh, and did I mention that her teeth are about fourteen sizes bigger than her face?
Much as I BURN to reveal to dark, twisting secret that has America snoring, I dare not, though suffice to say that you WILL catch a glimpse of the shark swimming off with one of the main character’s heads in its mouth. It all just kind of goes and goes and then comes to an end—as though the producers realized halfway through that you need a story if you’re going to have an ending. But that’s not the point. The point I to bask in the sex soaked atmosphere, to gaze at the ample beauty of the hunky men laying about [there is a great deal of female flesh on display too, for the hets], and absorb the general 70s free-love vibe.
Yeah! Especially if you like the whole sexy 70s vibe, and like leering at hot men in Speedos. If you're looking for a good shark attack movie... eh, not so much.