So…Ya’ Gonna Fish or Watch Bait 3D (2012)?
In 1975, Jaws filled theaters and began our love/terror relationship with sharks. Spielberg may not have realized exactly what he would be unleashing on movie theaters for decades to come, but for the past 35 years, the success of Jaws has inspired dozens of knock-offs. None of them rival Jaws, which has remained on my ten-best list since I was in preschool (okay, the truth is…I never went to preschool), however, when a new shark-eats-people movie comes out, it’s on my priority films list.
Being an authentic New Jersey native/Italian-American (unlike most of the wannabes associated with Jersey Shore) I looked forward to watching Bait, a film about “a monstrous freak tsunami” that hits a “sleazy beach community,” dumping great whites in submerged neighborhoods. After all, from Asbury Park to Atlantic City, Jerseyans have an affection for sleazy beach communities…what’s that? I misread the promo? It said “sleepy beach community”? Oh, well…there are sharks and they’re hungry; that’s inducement enough for me.
Bait, an Aussie import, is surprising. When a film is advertised as having a group of people “from all walks of life” (that’s an exaggeration) trapped in a supermarket with great white sharks “lurking in the water, starved for fresh meat,” it’s got to be bad—in a very good way. However, Bait is not “so bad it’s good,” but a decent little survival film filled with floating groceries and diluted blood. It’s now available in a “3D Blu-ray + Blu-ray + DVD combo pack.”
Like many films with a sizable cast that gets picked off one after another, Bait serves up a menu of characters, some of whom we hope will be the first to be eaten. As usual, when it comes to unappetizing characters, we’re rooting for the shark. The characters are two-dimensional (but appropriately acted), the film is bereft of humor, the characters’ accents change, and the special effects aren’t all that special, but there are three reasons to watch Bait: 1) a lovely, almost dreamlike shot of a shark swimming down a supermarket aisle; 2) its last five seconds; and 3) a cover of “Mack the Knife” over closing credits, performed by Rendall and The Slice (which reportedly features the director, Kimble Rendall). Oh…another good reason to see it is that, despite its flaws, Bait is entertaining—or, if you prefer, “entertainment lite.”Continued on the next page