The surf's up in some little Florida coastal town, but unfortunately soon a
surfer disappears & his board turns up, totally ripped apart. Local writer
Peter Benton (James Franciscus) & local sharkhunter Ron (Vic Morrow)
investigate this & soon come to the conclusion this must be the workings of
a shark (hence the title), a big one, & they strongly suggest to mayor
Wells (Joshua Sinclair) to cancel the regatta he plans to hold in a few days
time, but since the man is campaigning for his re-election & the regatta is
a central part of his campaign, he refuses, but has a shark-fence built to seal
off the bay from the sea, just in case.
Of course, the shark is unimpressed
by the fence & breaks clear through, & (naturally) during the regatta,
he makes himself known to the public, eating up whoever didn't manage to get
out of the water quickly enough ...
Now it's up to Captain Ron, Peter &
his wife Gloria (Stefania Girolami) to catch the shark, but he proves to be a
valiant opponent, & at one time, when Ron & Peter go diving in order to
place some explosives on the beast, he instead shuts them into an underwater
cave (clever beast, that shark) - Ron & Peter do get free though.
at the same time a quartet of kids, Peter's daughter Jenny (Micaela Pignatelli)
among them, have soem crazy ideas about going shark-hunting themselves, which
only ends in tragedy when the shark gnaws off one of Jenny's legs.
Wells now takes it personal, & he goes sharkhunting himself, by helicopter,
but not only does he fall out of the helicopter & end up as sharksnack, but
the shark even brings down the helicopter.
When Peter & Ron make yet
another attempt to take out the shark, Ron goes overboard witht he only
explosives belt they have got ...
Meanwhile media-man Bob (Giancarlo Prete)
has hired sharkhunter Briley (Romano Puppo) to get rid off the beast - right in
front of his cameras (boy, what a scoop), but while Briley is still discussing
some details of his expedition, the shark takes a good pull on the platrorm he
& a few others are standing on & drags them out inot hte oppen see,
then trying to off them one by one ... but by now, Peter comes back into the
game, saves everybody on the platform, finds the corpse of Ron (?) just in
time, throws it into the shark's mouth & blows up his explosives belt just
in time to blow the shark sky high.
When given a reasonable amount
of freedom, director Enzo G.Castellari could prove himself to be a quite
capable director of action pictures who would put quite some personality into
his movies. Unfortunately here, Castellari did not have any amount of freedom,
the film is little more than a blatant rip-off of Steven Spielberg's lame
animal horror trash Jaws (allegedly, L'Ultimo Squalo was legally
prevented from getting wider release in the USA because it was too similar to Jaws).
So this film, much like its source material, is just animal horror by the
numbers, with nothing to really recommend it.