We’re throwing it back today to 1976 with Mako Jaws of Death. Mako stars Harold Sakata most known as Odd Job from the Bond movie Goldfinger. Harold was also a professional wrestler from 1950-1975 billed under the name of Tosh Togo. The native Hawaiian played a part in bringing professional wrestling to Japan after the second world war.
Mako Jaws of Death is quite the odd movie, it’s a shark attack movie in a different vein than most of the public is used to. It is about a loner named Sonny Stein who has a deep connection with sharks. Sonny loves sharks, he goes after everyone who mistreats sharks by attacking them and throwing them to the sharks. A strange medallion he wears around his neck was given to him by a priest of the shark god after he escapes through a Filipino inlet while doing salvage in the south seas. Mako moves slowly, sometimes even painfully slow but I enjoyed it. In the movie the sharks are sympathetic instead of being a menace terrorizing anyone who dares enter the water. Man is mistreating sharks and Sonny Stein armed with his medallion is here to avenge the wrong doings against shark kind.
Harold Sakata plays Pete in the movie, a drunken shark hunter. Pete along with his friend, Charlie torment Stein every chance they get. Harold does a fine job playing the physically imposing shark hunter and though his lines are hard to understand in the film, his body language and physicality are top notch in the film. There are a few other unsavory characters in the film including a scientist, a bar owner, and his wife. Stein seems to be just misunderstood at first but we see that he is deeply disturbed throughout the movie. The movie as a whole although not an action packed film is still satisfying. A man with a psychic connection to sharks is an interesting and original premise for a film and it didn’t disappoint me.
If you’re a fan of 70’s movies, shark movies, or oddities this is a film for you. If you don’t go in expecting something along the lines of more modern shark attack movies you may really enjoy it. The film is also unique in that it doesn’t employ animatronic sharks but instead uses real sharks who are actually in the water with actors at times. It’s worth a view for that alone. Check it out not only for the late Sakata’s performance of Pete but also the novelty of real sharks being showcased and filmed.