Megalodon Rising (2021) poster

Megalodon Rising (2021)


USA. 2021.


Director – Brian Nowak, Screenplay – Koichi Pezetsky, Producer – David Michael Latt, Photography – Jeff Carolan, Music – Christopher Cano, Mikel Shane Prather & Chris Ridenhour, Visual Effects Supervisor – Glenn Campbell, Makeup – Monique Lucero, Production Design – Robert Kern III. Production Company – The Asylum.


Wynter Eddins (Captain Lynch), Tom Sizemore (Commander Moore), O’Shay O’Neal (Lieutenant Commander Ahearn), Freda Yifan Jing (Dr Lee), Isidoro Perez (Salles), Zhan Wang (Captain Ping), Lisa Lee (Tuan), Lukas Charles Stafford (Wilco), Chris Grant Wenchell (Samperio), Meg Cashel (Killian), Elisa Manetti (Dr Ray), Martin Chan (Captain Zhang)


The US navy vessel USS King under Captain Lynch is on patrol near the edge of American international waters when they rescue Dr Lee, a Chinese national, from a lifeboat. It is discovered that she was an officer aboard a Chinese vessel in the area that was attempting to sabotage US communications. However, the device being used to do so awoke a giant megalodon shark from the deep and it attacked and sank their ship. Another Chinese ship arrives just beyond the limit of the territorial waters. The Chinese captain demands that Lee be returned and prepares to fire on the USS King if she is not. Lynch’s second-in-command Ahearn wants to regard Lee as a spy and attempts to subvert Lynch’s command. However, megalodon sharks have risen and are attacking. Both sides are forced to set aside difference to combat the threat.

The low-budget US production company The Asylum, mostly known for their mockbusters, have cornered the market on the Killer Shark film, in particular of the deliberately ridiculous variety. They fairly much started the genre off with Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus (2009) and caused the genre to go stellar with the bad movie hit of Sharknado (2013). They have produced multiple sequels to either of these, along with 2-Headed Shark Attack (2012) and sequels that keep adding more heads and other efforts like Shark Week (2012), Ice Sharks (2016), Planet of the Sharks (2016), Empire of the Sharks (2017), Shark Season (2020) and Shark Side of the Moon (2022).

Megalodon (2018) was one of their more serious (ie. not deliberately ridiculous) killer shark films. Most of The Asylum’s killer shark films have produced sequels and so Megalodon Rising comes as a sequel to Megalodon. It features more prehistoric megalodon sharks, is shot aboard the SS Lane Victory, a decommissioned World War II era naval vessel that is now a museum in San Pedro (where the first film was also shot), while Wynter Eddins’ captain is said to be the sister of Caroline Harris’s character from the first film. The Asylum made a further sequel with Megalodon: The Frenzy (2023).

Lukas Charles Stafford falls into the mouth of the megalodon in Megalodon Rising (2021)
Lukas Charles Stafford falls into the maw of the megalodon

Megalodon felt like it had an antiquated Cold War era subtext about the might and right of the US Navy up against the Russians. With a screenplay again from Koichi Petetsky, this has been extended and the film now has a subtext about the might and right of the US Navy up against China. There is a quite interesting storyline about a Chinese Navy warship camped outside US territorial waters and a Chinese naval officer washed up on board, as well as much drama with O’Shay O’Neal as the second-in-command who regards her as a spy. (Amid all of this, it is never entirely clear why Lee escaped and absconded with a vital piece of equipment from the spy ship in the first place).

In fact, the political story is stronger and more interesting than the killer shark element. There are assorted killer shark attacks throughout. Most of these are routine – although there is one cool effect where a shark rears out of the water and Lukas Charles Stafford falls into its open maw. Eventually both US and Chinese sides come together to eliminate the shark menace. They are aided by a visibly aging Tom Sizemore who mostly pilots a drone from his computer screen – the film’s saddest moment is watching the aging and out of shape Sizemore get into uniform and pick up guns ready to take on the sharks. It all ends amid much flag-waving.

Directed Brian Nowak began working assorted positions in the industry from acting, script supervisor and graphic designer. He had previously directed Meteor Moon (2020) for The Asylum and went on to make Bullet Train Down (2022) and Jurassic Domination (2022) for The Asylum.

Trailer here

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