Since The Asylum isn’t smart enough to know when to stop they’ve just released yet another shark film, Megalodon Rising. Since I’m not that smart either, I’m reviewing it. But you are smart enough not to go near one of their films without checking it out first, you’re reading it.
A Chinese warship with what appears to be a crew of three is conducting a test of a top secret espionage device just off the US coast. The test is deemed a success but moments later a giant shark rams and sinks the vessel. The only survivor is a scientist Dr. Lee (Freda Yifan Jing).
She’s picked up by the USS King, under the command of Captain Lynch (Wynter Eddins). A Chinese destroyer turns up demanding the immediate return of Dr. Lee and for the King to leave the area, saying failure to do so would be an act of war leading to an armed standoff. One three Megalodons decide to break by attacking the Chinese ship.
Megalodon Rising is a sequel to the 2018 film Megalodon. Captain Lynch is the sister of that film’s Commander Lynch. Tom Sizemore (7 Deadly Sins, Runners) takes over the guest star position from Michael Madsen (Conjuring: The Book of the Dead, Shark Season). And the Chinese, who replace the Russians as human villains, reference the events of the first film.
Writer Andrea Ruth (American Psychos) and director Brian Nowak (Meteor Moon) follow the first film’s formula a bit too closely for my liking. There’s way too much of the US/Chinese standoff and Lieutenant Commander Ahearn’s (O’Shay Neal), Lynch’s second in command, personal agenda slowing things down. It’s neither suspenseful or exciting, although maybe in the right hands it could be, and just brings what is already a slow film to a halt.
Like many Asylum films, Megalodon Rising has plot holes so large that there’s really no ignoring them, or the effect they have on the film’s credibility. The Chinese somehow get an armada of warships across the Pacific without anyone noticing. That right there should have sent the script into rewrites.
That’s far from Megalodon Rising’s only problem though. The sharks shrug off fire from the warships’ big guns but a couple of guys with machine guns try to hold them off when they reach San Diego. They destroy the naval base there, off screen of course, but nobody at the beach notices or leaves the water. Our two Rambo wannabes fire at them on full auto as the crowds of swimmers flee the water but apparently manage not to hit anyone. And, as a final example, there’s talk about the sharks’ swim bladders. And, as Jaws taught us, sharks don’t have swim bladders, which is why they need to keep moving or sink.
If you’re going to have this much stupid in your film you need to keep things moving fast enough that the audience doesn’t have time to notice. The Asylum seemed to have gotten that idea with Jungle Run and Robotapocalypse, but forgot it here. It also doesn’t hurt to have some solid effects to act as eye candy and keep the viewers distracted. The effects in Megalodon Rising never rise above passable and frequently fall short of even that low bar. Footage spliced in from what looks like a WWII naval film doesn’t help matters either.
While they have been putting out better films lately, Megalodon Rising is a throwback to The Asylum’s earlier days. Not just as a sequel to one of their older films but in look and overall lack of quality. Maybe once the current crop of inexperienced writers, directors and performers get some experience they’ll do a better job and the company’s output will get a bit more consistent. In the meantime, they need to take note of what they do on their better films and keep doing it.