Oh dear God, here we go again. Sharknado became a bit of an odd sensation last year, not because anyone thought it was going to be a good film, but purely because of the title. Indeed as director Anthony C. Ferrante openly admits in the Featurette on the Sharknado 2 Blu-ray, the first film was only made after the Syfy Channel liked a joke about a sharknado in one of Ferrante’s earlier movies and decided they wanted to create an entire movie based around that word being the title.
After the success of the first one – it was admittedly success mired in utter derision, but it was success nevertheless – a sequel was inevitable. And to be honest it’s rather like the first one – unable to decide how much of a comedy it is and what sort it should be, as well as constantly flirting on the line between trying to ensure the audience has a good time and having so little respect for them that there are moments that feel like the cinematic equivalent of someone giving you the finger.
The film has absolutely no interest in doing anything exact presenting exactly the same film again but moving it from Los Angeles to New York and hoping that a few extra pennies on the special effects will get it through.
Los Angeles Sharknado survivors Fin (Ian Ziering) and April (Tara Reid) are headed to NYC but they haven’t even landed before a new shark storm in upon them. After almost miraculously getting to the ground, Fin must find his sister and her family and then once more try and stop a trio of sharknados that, if they converge, could wipe out the city completely.
It’s immensely dumb and it knows it, but it never seems entirely sure how far it should stick its tongue in its cheek. Indeed it blows its load early on this score with a fun spoof on the famed Twilight Zone episode ‘Nightmare At 20,000 Feet’ and having Airplane’s Robert Hays as the flight’s captain. It never quite manages to be that clever and witty again, and what ensues is a mix of fun moments and stupidity, most of which doesn’t come across as whimsical silliness but more like unutterable dumbness.
Most of the time, rather than offering anything new or different – I didn’t know it was possible to fit this many shots of flying sharks biting people’s heads off into one movie (which isn’t as cool as it sounds) – it merely tries to shove as many cameos in as possible. In fact it doesn’t really have a cast, just a series of ‘faces’ you may recognise, many of whom seem to have come on board on the promise they can be eaten by a fish as soon as possible.
Having so much of the film’s potential fun riding on the cameos is more of a problem for international than US audiences, as while us non-Yanks will probably know who Wil Wheaton and Kelly Osbourne are, many of the film’s others faces will mean little to most non-Americans. For example, Matt Lauer and Al Roker are massive names in America, and those who know who they are will undoubtedly smile at their serious attempts to report on the Sharknado story, but for everyone else their presence will seem a bit random.
I know it’s almost too easy to rip on something like Sharknado, but just because something is based on a silly idea it shouldn’t get a free pass on everything else. In its favour it’s better than the first one and there are a few moments where it really comes alive – normally when it realises that it’s daft premise should allow its imagination to run riot, rather than just doing the same thing over and over again. Most of the time though it’s happy to just fill the time with dumbness that fills out the requisite running time and throws in a shark death and a cameo every few minutes in order to get us to the end.
Overall Verdict: There are certainly a lot worse cheap, b-movie monster movies made every year, and Sharknado 2 certainly has its moments, but it’s still difficult not to wish and expect it to be more fun than it is.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac