Twitter Plot Summary: A bunch of Australians and a random American are trapped in a flooded supermarket with a roaming shark.
Five Point Summary:
1. CGI sharks are always a bad thing.
2. Why have one shark when two will do a better job?
3. People seem to lack balance when perched on supermarket shelving.
4. Once a supermarket manager, always a supermarket manager.
5. Slow motion should always be used when attacking a shark.
There’s only one expectation to have when going into Bait – it’s going to be nothing but outrageously silly from start to finish. Its premise is simple – an array of personalities are trapped in a supermarket with a massive CGI shark after a tidal flood hits the place and throws the disparate bunch together. Just to add a bit of conflict, a bunch of robbers are holding the store up just before the freak wave hits, and of course they make up part of the surviving group that also includes a cop father and his daughter, a brace of couples who are experiencing the usual relationship woes that always crop up in these things.
After the first few attempts at avoiding being eaten, the remainder of the plot is equal parts people sitting around on top of shelving, or the scriptwriters trying to find inventive ways of throwing people into the water to act as shark bait. More entertaining than this is the array of Australian accents on display, ranging from classic soap opera to attempts at being the Aussie equivalent of Jason Statham. Of course there’s also the random appearance of Dr Doom himself, Julian McMahon as the apparent obligatory American – it actually plays no part in the plot and makes you wonder why he didn’t just play it as an Australian in the first place. He also happens to be one of the guys robbing the supermarket, so of course being the most recognisable face to an international audience, he’s going to have a little redemptive story arc all of his own.
Mixed in with the obligatory falling into water moments are attempts at drama and a number of arguments designed to illustrate how precarious the situation is, but end up just being slightly irritating. In yet another instance of classic creature feature fare, there are a huge number of thinly drawn characters designed to leave you guessing who will survive and who will snuff it. Amongst this, those who deserve to die – or apparently deserve to die – obviously will, and the majority of those who are morally clean or who decide to make amends (or whatever) will survive.
It would have helped if the drama was a little less cliche, but then to expect much more from a film about a shark swimming around a supermarket would perhaps be stretching credulity further than is absolutely necessary. Apart from a couple of half decent ideas there’s nothing new or noteworthy about either the script or the presentation. This is a real pity, because the notion of a shark swimming around a flooded supermarket actually sounds half decent. Of course, it would help if the supermarket itself was large enough to accommodate a great white shark in the first instance. By the time we see a couple of decent action shots (in slow motion, of course) and it starts looking like it might become the “so bad it’s good” type of movie, you realise it’s the final 10 minutes of the film and all of the mostly dull story beforehand has been leading up to this. Even worse, you realise it’s not going to have opportunity to redeem itself or live up to that initial premise, and that’s perhaps the biggest problem of them all.