Over the years there has been a trend for B-flicks to gravitate towards blood thirsty sharks or revived Nazis. From the Sharknado and Sharktopus franchises to Dead Snow and Iron Sky, these formidable forces are fused together in the German Kickstarter film, SKY SHARKS.
Director/writer Marc Fehse (with cowriters A.D Morel and Carsten Fehse) envisions a new kind of beast- jet-propelled sharks of mass destruction designed by our favorite adversary- undead Nazis. Set 75 years after the fall of the Third Reich, a research team uncovers Himmelsfaust, a Nazi Warship buried in the Arctic trenches. But the ship is defrosting, and once the researchers step inside they find reanimated Nazis all juiced up and ready for world domination.
The world must now turn to its only hope: the architect of Himmelsfaust himself, Dr. Klaus Richter (Thomas Morris). 75 years ago, he helped develop K7B, a serum made to regenerate tissue in Nazis and make them invulnerable. After the war, Richter escaped to New York on the coattails of Operation Paperclip and has since lived a long life holding on to his dark secret: Himmelsfaust. Now, with the warship defrosted and the sharks at large, Richter must divulge his secret to his daughters Diabla (Eva Habermann) and Angelique (Barbara Nedeljakova) in order to figure out how to defuse his own creation. Through a series of flashbacks to World War II and Vietnam, the engineering of K7B and the aeronautical shark missiles are revealed making a path to victory possible.
I watched SKY SHARKS twice because the first time through it was incomprehensible nonsense but at a second glance the salaciously muddled blood fest started to become somewhat, well, comprehensible nonsense. It just required straining my ears to hear the dialogue above the needlessly loud music. To be fair, the industrial death metal and country hip hop that laced the film were essential to its intense mood and pace. It just needed a sound check. The visuals were striking despite its saturation and farcical CGI, but SKY SHARKS is trying to milk its budget to be over the top so it is arguably not right to knock off too many points. The film is bookended with Nazis riding their sky sharks down their own Fury Road, which might have been the only times I was fully engaged and grinning from ear to ear. Unfortunately, these titular monstrosities aren’t the meat of the movie as we are overwhelmed by a Modge Podge of shoddy camera footage and flashbacks.
Now, the first time I watched it I was completely distracted by the gratuitous sex scenes and female objectification. Weirdly, I found myself giving it a pass because the men left much to be desired so I took it for what it was- shock factor and nothing more. The second time through, however, I barely even noticed it and realized that a lot of the film was cemented in its flashbacks rather than just red and blue streaked pandemonium. The pacing of the film is all over the place and the poor character development risks making an audience disinterested, which is detrimental if the meat of the film is not reliant on action sequences. The acting was simply awful but to be fair the actors were not given a script that was particularly compelling. I think what would have made this film better was if it took some tips from Iron Sky. As a ridiculous film itself, it managed to focus on its character development and did not hide behind video game-styled cameras as the main source of human connection. There was ultimately a charm to Iron Sky, something SKY SHARKS was completely lacking. There was no draw to the Richter family as their interactions were wooden. It left me waiting in full anticipation for the next shark showdown without caring about who would come out the victor.
As a crowdsourced love song to sharks and Nazis, SKY SHARKS is a beautiful disaster. It walks a fine line between trying too hard and not taking itself too seriously. You will laugh, cringe, and scratch your head, most likely all at once. It’s not quite a “so bad it’s good” movie but it definitely can pass as a “so bad it’s okay”, that is, of course, assuming you can hear the dialogue… or maybe don’t bother. Ultimately, I recommend that you dampen your expectations and not watch this sober.
SKY SHARKS will arrive on Digital Platforms, Blu-ray & DVD February 2nd.