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ENZO G. CASTELLARI'S 'THE SHARK HUNTER' W/ FRANCO NERO

This poster looks more Orca than Jaws YEAR: 1979
Actually more similar to Cornel Wilde's SHARKS' TREASURE from 1975, the same year as JAWS...

The latter literally mentioned in Enzo G. Castellari's THE SHARK HUNTER and that he'd ingloriously rip off in THE LAST SHARK two years later...

But this is really a pulpy and hard-driven, treasure-hunting picture: Within a cavern of "resting sharks" is the tail of a plane that fell deeper than the fuselage, holding a hundred-million dollars...

So while the caper's described by our "gringo" in Mexico, Franco Nero as Mike, with a long surfer blond wig resembling vanilla seaweed glued on within a tight, omnipresent headband or scuba mask, most of the film has an array of stealthily, espionage-genre assassins trying to jump in on the action (working for a crooked millionaire), which results in tons of just that...

Shark Hunter Score: ***1/2
One chase sequence involving an avenging Nero in a small, water-landing airplane chasing a baby-faced killer (played by the director himself), zipping his speedboat through jungle-tree isles of what looks straight out of the Florida Keys, is a standout, and the music sounds like a porno shot on Benzedrine, with just enough techno synth and 70's funk rhythm guitar to guide the energetic pace that never lets up...

And there are intriguing characters who matter to the plot whether they yearn to work for, learn from or are simply against our hero, who we initially see literally wrestling sharks (in one scene after spotting his victim from a parasailing perspective), using seemingly inhuman strength. Meanwhile, he's tethered to the only Yankee on board in the original STAR TREK Apollo, Michael Forest (who also transcribed the dialogue for all the non-Americans), and Spanish REVENGERS actor Jorge Luke plays a young, excited, comic relief sidekick. But despite the surrounding color, Nero's Mike is a rogue's rogue in this wonderfully sun-drenched Italian sharksploitation that, as of now, can only be FOUND HERE online. So grab that treasure while it's still around.
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