From the directors of The Asylum’s Dune knockoff and the writers/director of The Asylum’s Aladdin ripoff comes The Asylum’s Tubi Original Shark Side of the Moon. Just when you thought it was safe to colonize Earth’s crater-covered moon again, Glenn Campbell and Tammy Klein introduce Russian human-shark hybrids as cosmic predators. Or, more appropriately, lower-than-low-budget digital renderings of what The Asylum standards define as extraterrestrial Street Shark lookin’ freakshows. You’re going to read the review you’d expect for Shark Side of the Moon, a zero-star technical affair that’s barely fit for SYFY’s Sunday headliner slot — but with such an out-of-bounds concept, it’s hard to ignore and not marvel at the Frankensteining of genres on display.
The gist is simple. Russian scientists create humanoid-shark supersoldiers that can survive any situation, which escape their facility and are flown to the moon by scientist-slash-cosmonaut Sergey (Ego Mikitas). About forty years later, an American mission to the moon led by commander Nicole Tress (Maxi Witrak) crash lands on the far side and encounters a now advanced civilization of human-shark species. The Americans want to go home, Sergey and his half-shark, half-human “daughter” Akula (Tania Fox) — who looks wholly human — ask to hitchhike, and the sharks want to steal Nicole’s vessel for their own travels to Earth (followed by world domination). What else did you expect?
Storytelling favors sci-fi buzzword shenanigans that write its characters paper thin and plot advancement into corners that eventually are just ignored. There are ideas like “hybrid shark army,” “lava compound,” and “baby hybrid sharks” that exist for sharts and giggles — scenes feel like they’re edited haphazardly with entire exposition dumps erased. Writers Ryan Ebert and Anna Rasmussen know what Tubi viewers crave on a weekend night: hammerheads, great whites, and other shark classifications “swimming” underneath moonrock and devouring astronauts with nosebleeds. There’s so much asinine plot ignorance from Sergey’s fully-exposed spacesuit (a cloth with ear flaps and a plastic breathing tube in nostrils) to the film’s ridiculous finale where — well, no spoilers, but it’s mind-bogglingly inept.
Then again, that’s why you’re watching Shark Side of the Moon.
The Asylum spares every expense in recreating interstellar landscapes out of laughable green screen backgrounds and sound stages with their lights turned out, sans some indoor shuttle sets that at least appear techy and industrial. Otherwise, the visuals are as hopelessly rendered and beta-version as you’d expect, given how shark soldiers animate like 3D models processing on Windows 98. There’s a supreme queen leader of the shark civilization (lookin’ like a Witch from Left 4 Dead meets sardine skinnymalink) with metal chest armor, applied like PS1 graphics because animators can’t even be bothered to recreate janky figure motion beyond swinging arms and pumping legs. Special effects make recent lackluster fin flicks like The Requin or Shark Bait look like WETA warehouse models in comparison, funded by the amount you’d spend on the McDonald’s dollar menu. Whatever’s practical has humorous homestyle vibes like the “flare gun” that’s just cardboard wrapped around a regular prop pistol or the engineer wearing an iPod earbud as his communications device. The same can’t be said for prototype shark soldiers that look like they’ve had no coloring, shading, or anything past the clay-gray sculpture stage, and animate like a FaceTime transformation filter.
Performances aren’t saving any face because actors are thrown to the proverbial moon wolves. Maxi Witrak is the only explorer with any redeemable screen presence. Even more than the original crew engineer who suddenly gets pancreatitis minutes before liftoff so the “cool guy” engineer who’s cruising on his motorcycle (B-roll footage) can replace her and score his macho entrance. Actors present as incredibly silly, leaping to mimic the moon’s bouncy anti-gravity, and are given no chances to sell their hero moments, deaths, or anything in between. Battle sequences are essentially everyone testing their best Star Wars Kid impressions with props so post-production teams can insert space sharks with the blended smoothness of diamond-studded sandpaper. Characters struggle to engage with their pixelated foes, showing novice talents whenever animated co-stars appear — and that’s atop the already dreadful developmental elements.
Yet I ponder, once more, isn’t this all what the Shark Side of the Moon experience is about? It’s a pizza-and-beer movie, except trade the pizza for multiple shots and the beer for malt liquor forties taped to your hands. There’s no escaping the abysmal trademarks of The Asylum’s buffoonery on a budget method, which will still please its intended audience. Shark Side of the Moon gets the number rating it deserves based on the most generous film criticism standards. Still, there’s no denying it’ll delight countless maniacs who thrive on SYFY midnighters that smash natural disasters with animal names. Shark Side of the Moon exists to be laughed at and knows its place — at least it has the decency to deliver what’s promised, unlike con artists like Clownado or Ouijageiist.
Shark Side of the Moon is now streaming exclusively on Tubi.