Sky Sharks

Sky Sharks (2020)

Sky Sharks first published by

Perhaps the best place to start with Marc Fehse’s Sky Sharks is at its end, with the post-credits coda (the second of two) in which we see a faux VHS trailer for the film-within-a-film – and associated 16-bit video game – Sky Frogs (also glimpsed as part of the in-flight entertainment in the main feature’s opening airborne sequence). “This film has it all,” states the coda’s voiceover, “See breasts, see monster frogs, see more breasts… see naked fighting!”

Sky Frogs is, rather obviously, a mise en abyme of the film in which it appears, reflecting, while also ironising, the Eighties-inspired DTV schlock aesthetics and lowest-common-denominator values of Sky Sharks itself. So while the latter might be decried (or indeed embraced) for its gratuitous nudity, its endless low-grade CGI, its unrestrained levels of in-your-face gore, the confusion of its hyperactive editing, its utterly trashy plotting, hammy performances and ridiculous dialogue, and of course its high-flying, well-armed monster sharks (with Nazi zombies on their backs), Sky Sharks – note those initials – can hardly be accused of not knowing exactly what it is. Make no mistake: this film wears its abject dumbness on its bloody sleeve – but the occasional insertion of propaganda ads into its multi-media texture suggests something akin to the satire of Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers (1997), another film which saw fascism belonging as much to the New World Order as to its relentless off-world enemy. 

Sky Sharks is an ungainly Frankenstein’s monster stitched together from the resurgent Nazism in Timo Vuorensola’s Iron Sky (2012), and the toothy absurdities of Sharknado (2013), Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark (2014) and indeed Sharkenstein (2016). When global warming thaws out an arctic SS super soldier programme, former Nazi scientist turned American philanthropist Dr Klaus Richter (Thomas Morris) leads the international effort to stop these shark-borne stormtroopers raining destruction from the skies. In his efforts to redeem himself from his compromised past, Richter resurrects an immoral experiment from the Vietnam War, and builds himself a bigger shark, but the names of Richter’s two daughters – Angelique (Barbara Nedeljakova) and Diabla (Eva Habermann) – capture his own dual nature, in a scenario where even the ‘good guys’ exhibit notable Nazi tendencies (abandoning democratic institutions, torturing prisoners, using soldiers and civilians as guinea pigs).

Sky Sharks is an over-bloated, prurient, unsubtle assault on the senses – but its sexed-up stupidity is not without sly political subtext, as it shows how readily the fascist madnesses of the twentieth century can be revived in our own times of reactionary idiocy.

Strap: Marc Fehse’s airborne SS-ploitation satire Sky Sharks is a big ol’ B movie – dumb-assed tits-n-ass with political teeth. 

© Anton Bitel