Rene Cardona, Jr.
Susan George - Gabriella
Hugo Stiglitz - Esteban/Steven
Andres Garcia - Miguel
Fiona Lewis - Patricia
Roberto 'Flaco' Guzman - Colonado
Genre - Horror/Drama/Romance/Bad Animals/Sharks
Running Time - 126 Minutes
Last year during Shark Summer, I pretty much reviewed the best of the killer shark films out there. Of course, I'm talking about films like JAWS and THE REEF. While some films were pretty average, nothing I watched involving sharks [besides that crappy Halle Berry film, DARK TIDE] were particularly bad. So I pretty much knew coming into Shark Summer II that I would be reviewing some really crappy killer shark movies out there that I avoided last year. And while SHARKNADO was a bad film, yet an awesome one at the same time, I wish I could say the same for the film I'm reviewing today - 1977's TINTORERA.
There were a lot of imitators that capitalized after the massive success of 1975's JAWS. Films like SHARK KILL, MAKO: JAWS OF DEATH, and THE LAST SHARK/GREAT WHITE managed to at least take aspects of Steven Spielberg's classic movie, making somewhat watchable films regardless of their quality. But TINTORERA manages to be the exact opposite of what JAWS is. I was expecting a killer shark film. Instead, I get a softcore porn movie that just happens to have sharks in it.
I honestly want my two hours back.
Some rich Mexican businessman named Esteban (Hugo Stiglitz) leaves the hospital after a mental breakdown, traveling in his yacht to Cancun for some relaxation. He meets some tourist named Patricia (Fiona Lewis), who doesn't think twice sleeping with the guy. While both have feelings for each other, Esteban is reluctant to reveal his true feelings which push Patricia away. While Esteban wishes he had told her how he really felt about Patricia, he's stunned when he sees her with a local playboy named Miguel (Andres Garcia). Patricia sleeps with Miguel, but disappears. Esteban and Miguel have animosity over the Patricia situation, but soon become great friends as they party with girls and sleep with them. Right away, both men decide to play a game of who can bed the most women, enjoying watching each other getting some action. Soon after, the two men meet a British woman named Gabriella (Susan George), who beds both of them at the same time and starts a threesome romance with both Esteban and Miguel.
Oh, there is also a killer tiger shark hunting people down, by the way. Blink and you might miss him!
I have three words for TINTORERA:
WHAT THE FUCK!?
TINTORERA has to be one of the most boring "animals run amok" films I have ever seen. I was expecting some action involving a shark terrorizing people. Instead, I get a strange homoerotic romance angle involving two men, who happen to be shark hunters [and I'll get to that shortly], bedding women and walking around each other nude without much of an issue. I wanted a damn killer shark film. If I wanted to watch softcore porn, I'd watch Skinemax at night!
I honestly have no idea how to review this piece of crap. TINTOTERA plays out like a really terrible soap opera, just with nudity and bad disco music. The film just focuses on two men seducing female tourists, sleeping with them, drinking with them, dancing with them, etc. There's an obvious homoerotic aspect in the film. In fact, one scene pretty much gives it away without really going for the gold. Esteban explains to Miguel that he isn't bothered or jealous about their three-way with Gabriella. In fact, he's excited about it because he gets to share her with Miguel and enjoys watching them together. Then the editing has both men staring at each other, with smirks on their faces. Mr. Rene Cardona, Jr. wasn't subtle. But it's never explored onscreen, but it's implied that all three had sex with each other in every possible coupling within the relationship. Yes, this is the main plot in a film called TINTORERA, which is Spanish for "Tiger Shark". Really???
Does a shark even appear? Sure, but it's barely a plot point until the final act. In fact, this shark only kills four people within two hours, making this killer fish a true underachiever. The shark doesn't look all that threatening really, or give a thrilling chase for its victim. The shark just swims around randomly, attacking people for whatever reason. It's too bad because whenever the shark bites into a victim, we see blood and dismembered body parts sinking to the bottom of the ocean. While the gore isn't great or anything, at least it's not related to softcore fucking porn! So these moments were a highlight by default.
Speaking of sharks, this film has actual shark hunting portrayed here. Yes, sharks get harpooned by divers for whatever reason. They don't use the sharks for food. They don't pull the sharks out of the water to present them as some sort of trophy to show off. They just shoot the sharks and leave them in the ocean dead.
I don't understand why sharks had to be murdered for a film. I really don't. It actually reminded me of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST and that film's cruel animal scenes. These scenes are only around in order to shock the audience. I get that both Esteban and Miguel are shark hunters and this is their profession. But it doesn't really add to the plot in any way. If the main shark had to "die" in order for the film to have a happy ending, fine. But why actually kill sharks that have nothing to do with the main story? I was really saddened while watching these scenes. I'm not a member of PETA or anything. In fact, I consider myself a carnivore. But the murder of these sharks that didn't harm anyone was pretty pointless, making these scenes truly messed up to watch. There was no reason for why these scenes had to be shot. Say that they're shark hunters and have them use fake dead sharks or something after the fact. I guess since they're fish, it's not a big deal. But it wasn't a highlight of the film for me, I can tell you that.
And the worst part about TINTORERA - it's dull as fuck. NOTHING HAPPENS IN THIS MOVIE. For most of two hours, I watched two men wear speedoes while romancing countless women because of competition, and because they seemed to enjoy watching each other get some action in a sexual sense. Even the shark moments are pretty lame, as there's no "oomph" to them. At least these moments are advertised, which I could say for more than 90 percent of the movie. I seriously had to watch this film in three sittings because I was falling asleep. I honestly wanted to turn this film off and just bash it. But as a reviewer, I had to deal with TINTORERA until the very end. I'm not sure if the much shorter [by 40 minutes] U.S. version is any better, but I don't even care to find out.
Rene Cardona, Jr. is not a great director. Sure, some of the shots look nice and colorful. I did think the underwater shots were quite beautiful. But there's no tension here - especially since the score of the film is really bad disco music, and a shark theme that's really underwhelming. The pacing is completely off, since the film doesn't have an identity. The editing is unintentionally funny at times. Honestly, the visuals for TINTORERA are pretty consistent with the screenplay - boring. Nothing about this film will stimulate you visually, unless it's both male and female nudity [and you get more male nudity than anything].
The acting is what it is. It's not good in any sense, but I didn't find it terrible either. Nobody really stands out. Maybe Andres Garcia does, since he brings a level of charm to a one-dimensional role as Miguel. He's very popular in the Latin American entertainment industry and it's easy to see why - he's a great looking guy who has charisma. Hugo Stiglitz of NIGHTMARE CITY comes across as pretty bland as Steven/Esteban. He's really the main character of TINTORERA, but he doesn't really add much to make him exciting to watch. Both Susan George and Fiona Lewis are nice to look at in their smaller roles. But honestly, the acting here is nothing of note to really discuss in detail.
THE FINAL HOWL
Not since September 2012 have I reviewed a film for my WTF? Worst Films Extravaganza section of my blog. That is until now with this awful "killer shark" film that's anything but. Besides okay acting and some decent shots of underwater footage and the Mexican setting, there's nothing else I could really discuss positively. Plus, I don't appreciate watching real sharks getting harpooned for the sake of filming it.
If you're expecting JAWS, you'll be seriously disappointed. But if you're interested in seeing a 70s version of what Skinemax would have looked like, then be my guest. But when a film is called TINTORERA: KILLER SHARK, I'm expecting a film focused on a shark terrorizing people - not a romance drama about two men shagging a woman and possibly each other for two hours. Send TINTORERA back into the ocean and feed it to the real sharks as chum.