It all began with Jaws, really. Oh sure there were a few "underwater horrors" before 1975 (Black Lagoon, anyone, with a side of Harryhausen?), but if you're rating films based only on how many ripoffs it inspired, then Spielberg's Jaws is probably the most influential movie ever made. (Or maybe Halloween, but we're not talking about slasher flicks right now.) Jaws begat numerous sequels, of course, but also knock-offs like Orca, Great White, Piranha, and about 200 others. Decades later we were dealing with Shark Attack 3 and Boa this and Python that, which made it no big surprise when Boa vs. Python showed up, and that (in a nutshell) is sort of how we've arrived at this: Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. Yes, that's actually the title of a real film -- although it sounds a lot like something Homer Simpson would find on the late-late show.
The creators of this insane little concoction run an outfit called The Asylum, a company well-known (by video distributors and movie nerds) as a 'churn-'em-out' schlock house responsible for such amusingly titled films as Transmorphers, The Da Vinci Treasure, and Snakes on a Train. But the Asylum guys aren't copying any cats this time around. Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus isn't riding on the coattails of a big-budget release called 'Mega-Predators' (although that'd be great if it was), which means it's (for lack of a better word) an "original" concept! That alone makes MSvsGO (what an acronym) a bit more compelling than most of The Asylum's output ... but only a bit.
Aside from the novelty of seeing a giant shark chomp down on the Golden Gate Bridge (yup) or the silliness of seeing a huge octopus bat a fighter jet out of the sky, there's also the two leads, B-movie lunatics are well-versed in the leading man skills of one Lorenzo Lamas (and the guy's pretty hilariously nasty here), but it's doubly kooky to see '80s popster Debbie (sorry, Deborah) Gibson co-anchoring a low-budget flick about stadium-sized water monsters. Granted, the leads aren't asked to do much more than spew scientific gobbledygook from inside of several (very) unconvincing "control rooms," and their dialog is either random babble or basic chit-chat, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't laugh a lot.
The monster attacks (most of which are covered in the flick's trailer) are both quaintly inept and goofily epic, and they're peppered amidst the too-frequent "chatty bits" with a solid sense of timing. The respite from the dialog is much appreciated, and the sketchy CG used to bring Mega Shark and Giant Octopus falls halfway between "nearly convincing" and "outrageously bad." But really, one does not rent a film called Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus unless they already have an affinity for C-grade monster schlock. By those standards, the flick delivers just enough entertainment (both intentional and otherwise) to please the monster maniacs. But make no mistake; This is a resoundingly chintzy flick. Fun in quick little bursts, but also a bit tiresome by the time it winds down.