19th Feb2018

‘Empire of the Sharks’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: John Savage, Jack Amstrong, Thandi Sebe, Ashley de Lange, Leandie du Randt, Tauriq Jenkins, Tapiwa Musvosvi, Camilla Waldman, Jonathan Pienaar, Joe Vaz, Sandi Schultz, Melodie Abad, Royston Stoffels, Philip Tan, Neels van Jaarsveld | Written and Directed by Mark Atkins


In the future, 98% of the Earth is covered by water and the only land is controlled by a warlord and his army of sharks. Humans are kept as food for the sharks until two friends risk their lives – one of whom is a “shark caller” with a supernatural ability to talk to sharks FYI(!) – to rise against their captor and his legion of sharks.

Hold on, hold on… So we have a world covered in water. What water there is happens to be over run by sharks. And people live on floating islands, a la Waterworld, to survive. Errr, haven’t we seen this before? I think so! In fact, it looks like writer/director Mark Atkins has just recycled (or butchered depending on your point of view) his own concept to create a film that – for a couple of extra plot points – is just a rehash of Planet of the Sharks. It’s one way to do a prequel I guess… “remake” the first film but add human villains (oh, and a “psychic” hero) to the tale.

OK, I might be being a bit harsh but, to be fair, I really enjoyed Planet of the Sharks – it was one of the more serious movies from The Asylum, with an attempt to actually bring real science into the plot rather than just be another over the top camp film like the Sharknado franchise. So I was very interested in seeing another film set in this universe but… and it’s a big BUT… despite Empire of the Sharks being billed as a stand-alone prequel, complete with new cast, just set in the same “universe” as the first film, in all honesty it feels very little like its predecessor.

This time round we’re subjected to a cheesy parody of Waterworld, but with villains that look and act like they’ve stepped out of an Italian Mad Max rip-off. A bad Italian rip-ff, not even a “so bad its good one”. The most ridiculous thing? That would be the sharks being controlled by what is essentially a pair of post-apocalyptic Nintendo power gloves! Sorry, but it’s stupid, it’s dumb – even for a Asylum movie! Its hard to believe that Empire of the Sharks even comes from the same writer/director.

This is the kind of ridiculous movie mainstream audiences think made for Syfy Channel shark movies are – when not all of them fall into the same camp category;  it’s also, in my opinion, the antithesis of Planet of the Sharks. Perhaps that films co-writer Marc Gottlieb reigned in the excesses of Atkins? Who knows? All I do know is that by the time the credits rolled I was more disappointed in this film for NOT living up to the first film in the series rather than disappointed that this was a sub-par shark movie…

Empire of the Sharks is now available on DVD in the UK from Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment. Also, check out our interview with star Jack Armstrong, from the films screening at this years Horror-On-Sea Festival on Sunday 28th January, right here

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