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  • Accidental Aesop: Like a lot of Attack of the Killer Whatever movies of its era, the film's stance seems to be that scientists are cold, aloof, unethical in their pursuit of progress, and shouldn't be tampering in God's domain. If not for the fact that McCallister takes all the blame and Franklin is absolved of all responsibility, it could easily have made a valid point about how profit-driven pharmaceutical companies drive research scientists to cut corners to get a product on the market faster under threat of having their funding cut off.
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  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Susan realizes her attempts to cure Alzheimer's were All for Nothing and she pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to ensure the death of the last shark.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: While Susan gets most of the blame for genetically modifying the sharks, Whitlock was also involved, and she never outright says that it was her idea. Whitlock's haughty attitude towards their work doesn't exactly rule out the idea that he may have been behind the enhancements.
  • Awesome Music: "Deepest! Bluest! My hat is like a shark's fin!"
  • Broken Base: Depending on who you ask, Susan stripping down to use her rubber wetsuit to avoid electrocution is either tasteless gratuitous Fanservice, enjoyable gratuitous Fanservice, or a way to show the character being resourceful and vulnerable.
  • Critical Research Failure: The film makes a big deal about how unusual it is that the mutant sharks would eat the Tiger shark. This ignores that cannibalism is very normal for sharks, and it wasn't even the same breed as the mutated ones.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
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    • LL Cool J's character Preacher spends most of the movie alone, separated from the main cast, who never even seem to remember he's there. This makes one wonder if he was even originally intended to be in the movie, but eventually he turns out to be a lot more intelligent and even more likable than the other characters. Apparently he was popular enough that the movie was rewritten to give him a bigger role in the climax.
    • Despite being The Chick and having less screen time than almost everyone else, Janice is fairly well-liked. Her sunny and skillful delivery of the film's exposition and her role as the only one of the three scientists who respects the laws against genetic engineering both make her endearing.
  • Fan-Preferred Cut Content:
    • Several deleted scenes further develop Jim and Janice's relationship and have Susan show a warmer side during her birthday party. Many fans wish they'd remained in the movie for the sake of better Character Development.
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    • Most fans prefer the theatrical ending (hell, it was reshot at the request of the test audiences), where Susan, the scientist who creates the sharks for Alzheimer's research, is dramatically killed while using herself as bait. There are a handful of fans, however, that would have preferred to at least 'see' the alternate ending where she survives.
  • Fanfic Fuel:
    • It's interesting to wonder what would have happened if Franklin hadn't been killed. Would he have been able to save more of the others? Would he have fought one of the sharks himself?
    • And what if the sharks had escaped? Given that they're essentially a Non-Malicious Monster simply trying to escape back to their natural habitat, what would a smart shark even do? Would their intelligence eventually allow them to become genuinely evil?
  • First Installment Wins: There are two Direct to Video sequels. The first film is the one that's most remembered.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Sorta. The special effects company involved with making the animatronic sharks would create the shark animatronics (some of them even look identical) in Shark Night nearly twelve years later.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Susan has watched Alzheimer's ravage her father, is forced to destroy the medical research she's devoted her life to, and has a couple of extremely terrifying run-ins with the sharks, the last of which she doesn't escape. However, her blatant disregard for basic safety protocols and ethical experimentation (directly leading to the rampage), lack of remorse, and generally unpleasant nature still leave her as a fairly difficult-to-like-character.
  • Memetic Badass: The shark killed Jules Winfield, Mace Windu, Nick Fury and a boatload of badass muthafuckas that Samuel L. Jackson have ever played. Clearly it has had it with these muthafuckin' humans on this muthafuckin' film.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Pick any Samuel L. Jackson memes out there. Good. Now, pretend that the shark does just those memes with Sam as the victim this time. One of the most common ones is...
    Shark: (as it eats Russel while interrupting his Rousing Speech) Oh, I'm sorry, did I break your concentration?
    • "Black history - in 1999, James Todd Smith aka LL Cool J, became the first black man in horror history to survive the whole movie..."note 
  • Narm Charm: "You ate my bird!" Simultaneously the most awesome and goofiest Pre-Mortem One-Liner ever.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The four teenagers Carter saves from an escaped shark do a good job showing fear during the attack and come across as a bit more endearing than the average horror movie Make-Out Kids.
  • Retroactive Recognition: The team includes The Punisher, Victoria Hand, Nick Fury and Dr. Selvig.
  • So Bad, It's Good: A cast of highly gifted actors giving totally ridiculous performances + every shark movie cliche ever + the incredibly ridiculous death scenes = pure B-movie cheese.
  • Signature Scene: Samuel L. Jackson getting munched by the shark mid-Rousing Speech.
  • Special Effects Failure: Renny Harlin challenged audiences to notice when the mechanical sharks ended and the CGI ones began. Form a line, folks...
    • Notably during the infamous scene of the shark grabbing Samuel L. Jackson, as the shark itself looks too rubbery and the way it grabs him seems to defy all known physics. Even the VFX team at Hammerhead Production admit to it having flaws.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Susan's death is very much this, seeing as it came about after test audiences shouted "die bitch!" during the original cut where she survived.
  • The Scrappy: Susan, while having a small number of defenders seeing her as a flawed but sympathetic heroine, is overwhelmingly despised for a variety of reasons: the fact that the entire mess is her fault, her continued justifications, generally unpleasant nature, and Saffron Burrows' Dull Surprise performance, infamously making the character come off like The Sociopath. Test audiences infamously hated her so much they were shouting "Die bitch!" during the screenings. The studio went back and reshot the ending just to kill her off.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: A review of the film said that it works because everyone isn't taking it seriously, making it quite fun. The exception is Saffron Burrows, who "behaves as it was an art film" (and unlike most of the examples of the trope, her performance is generally not well-regarded).
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: An interesting example. While originally intended to be a sympathetic character, poor fan reaction to Susan led to modified All for Nothing ending, clearly looking unfavorably on Susan for the rather reckless and illegal methods she chose in order to cure Alzheimer's Disease. While most viewers agree with the message (see: her Scrappy status), a small segment hold this view, noting just how devastating Alzheimer's is, how many people's lives it damages, and believing that the risks and ethically questionable decisions Susan made were absolutely worth the risk.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: That said, while the CGI is spotty at best, the animatronic sharks still look amazing even today.
  • Watch It for the Meme: Okay, so how many of you are watching this for the chance of seeing a super badass shark that could kill Samuel L. Jackson??
  • Win Back the Crowd: A lot of critics praised this for being a better film from Renny Harlin after the failures of Cutthroat Island and The Long Kiss Goodnight.

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