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Under Paris

Looking for a fun summer shark thriller with a clever story, plenty of gore and some great "Jaws" tributes?

You can do a lot worse this hot June day than the new French thriller UNDER PARIS.

There are shark films like "The Meg" that play with their tongue firmly in cheek. This fin laden flick takes itself way more seriously, and thankfully it's got a great cast to pull that off.

Berenice Bejo (The Artist, A Knight's Tale) stars as Sophia, a brilliant scientist who has spent her life tracking sharks and learning how they adapt to their surroundings.

She loses her entire team as the film opens, baffled by Lilith, a shark they tagged at youth that seems to have tripled in size and then turned violent.

Three years later in Paris (beautifully shot in every scene by Nicolas Massart) Sophia is trying to hide from her past. She's pulled back into the mystery when a young group of activists out to save the sharks tell her that Lilith is very much alive in the waters of the Seine, which winds its way through scenic Paris.

Fortunately for us, the young leader of that activist group is very annoying, oozing that special Greta Thunberg self righteous attitude that makes us cheer for her to be shark food sooner rather than later.

As concerns over a possible shark mount, Sophia begins working with the French police guarding the rivers. Nassim Lyes is terrific as Adil, the sergeant of that squad. Sophia and Adil battle at first, but as shark attacks begin mounting in the City of Lights, the two bond. Bejo and Lyes have great chemistry and are both very good actors, far better than I expected in a Netflix Summer Shark extravaganza.

Of course, the Mayor of the town Angele , perfectly played as a perky, slimy dictator by Aurelia Petit is preparing for the Paris Triathalon, having spent over a billion on the event that will be broadcast world wide. Any references to Murray Hamilton's Mayor Vaughn not wanting to close the beaches for the fourth of July are, I assure you, purely intentional.

JAWS fans will have fun looking for enjoyable tributes to that 1975 classic, including a visual reference to the shark dragging those yellow barrels underwater.

The final 30 minutes is an absolutely batshit crazy (in a fun way) piling on of terrifying discoveries and escalating action that satisfied the pure popcorn fun cravings of this shark movie fan.

Director Xavier Gens swims an enjoyable path between gory horror flick and police thriller, especially during that crazy conclusion.

The entire movie looks great, delivers some jaw dropping moments in the catacombs and some sly references to Spielberg's classic and it's first sequel, Jaws 2.

Turn on the A/C, fire up the sound system and take a dive UNDER PARIS. It gets a brainless, chomping and well acted B.

(I watched in the original French with English subtitles, but Netflix also offers a dubbed version.)




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