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Bait 3-D

Although Bait 3-D, a cheapy shark-attack flick, has many flaws, the foremost among these is the inability to indicate whether we're supposed to consider the savage behavior brought on by its crises as ambiguous or unassailably good. Directed by Kimble Rendall (one of the second assistant directors on the Matrix sequels), and co-scripted by a committee of six, Bait pits a group of personality liberated Australian tsunami survivors against a great white shark. Cooped up in a flooded supermarket, the group must figure out a way to escape before getting chomped by the equally undistinguished CG monster, prone as it is to leaping up and out of the water to maximize the film's use of 3-D technology. But again, beyond its bland plot, milquetoast characters, and unremarkable action scenes, Bait is at its worst when it fails to remember how to be a good B-movie. Although the finny menace does serve to put both pro- and antagonists alike on edge, and even manages to get one black-hat-wearing villain to switch to a white hat, a key act of violence—where a good guy kills a bad one without a thought—is left entirely unexamined. This is Grand Guignol 101: To craft serviceably dopey entertainment, Bait's writers would have had to remember that when a character defined as a good guy does something worthy of the bad guys, it warrants some comment. Without even that ostensible suggestion of moral introspection, there's no point in making sharksploitation. Simon Abrams


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