30 April 2011 | Chase_Witherspoon
Abominable special effects threaten to sink this Thai "Jaws" clone, until, mercifully the makers decided to give the croc a break and focus on some more convincing local themes that resurrect this film from total and utter decay. Owner/operator of a struggling Thai zoo (Tuinstra) finds himself up against more than just the local corrupt businessman (Junsook) and his crooked, petty criminal brother (Saetong) when a large salt water crocodile that has migrated from Australia threatens the tourist trade. Predictably, he elects to hunt the creature himself, with the aid of his long suffering sister (Healey) her son (Hazell) an animal welfare official (Phungprasert) and a peg-leg drunken fisherman whose motivations are noble (Madsen) in spite of the $50,000 reward offered for its destruction.
The first twenty minutes of this action-thriller are diabolically bad in almost every facet, and there is real cause for concern that the picture is going to descend to grade Z depths. Alas, somehow, the amateurish acting improves (relatively) and the narrative even shows glimpses of local content – Madsen's quest to avenge the deaths of "those who couldn't swim fast enough", reminded of their suspended souls through photographs he keeps in the cabin of his boat, is a nice touch. But despite his compassionate interior, what would a Michael Madsen character be without a prop or two, and typically, alcoholism is again his preference ("a shot of OJ in your vodka?").
The filmmakers spare little in their pursuit of shocks, whether it's children dragged into the depths in front of hysterical parents, randy teenagers snatched while they canoodle in the surf, or just a pair of no-good villains being dismembered in their own pool. Such is the variety of severed limbs, torsos, decapitated heads and decomposing corpses (check out the rigor mortis in the croc's "larder") that it's surprising that some enterprising local didn't open a spare parts shop. One scene in which a distraught gangster's girlfriend identifies butchered remains beggars belief; how she managed to identify him from the meat pate into which he was minced is one of the movie's unintended laughs (and there are others to enjoy). At least it's good to see local talent, locations and bystanders involved in the filmmaking process, exposure essential to growing a more commercial film industry in Thailand.