Sharknado hasn’t done badly for a franchise where the joke should have worn off after the first five minutes. The first movie survived simply by its jaw-dropping but oddly good-natured ridiculousness, while the second was made vaguely watchable by being sometimes imaginative about the over-the-top ways it could find to kill people with flying sharks and to get people to kill the massive cartilaginous fish.
But now we come to part 3, where any imagination has run out and the whole thing comes across as so cynical that you can almost feel the makers smirking that anyone would be stupid enough to want to watch a third movie about tornados that throw sharks at people.
Events kick off in Washington DC, where Fin (Ian Ziering) is receiving an award from the President for saving New York. However, you won’t be shocked to hear that events are interrupted by another Sharknado which proceeds to completely destroy the US capital with its mix of wind and toothy fish. However, this piece of strange weather isn’t above to disperse, and instead works its way down the East Coast, obliterating everything in his path.
Fin teams up with Nova (Cassie Scerbo) and Lucas (Frankie Muniz) to try to track the fishy storm as he travels towards Orlando, where his wife and daughter are at Universal Studios, right in the path of the supercell of sharks.
Some of you might already have smelled something fishy (and not due to the sharks) at the mention of Universal Studios. It is not a coincidence that this movie was made for the Syfy Channel, a network which is owned by NBCUniversal. It would appear the parent company decided that another Sharknado movie was fine, as long as half of it was filmed like a glossy promo for the company’s theme parks. That includes long, loving, shots of the names of rides, and plenty of sequences that serve no purpose than to advertise the park.
It’s just one aspect of a movie that really doesn’t seem to care about its audience, only very occasionally showing the kind of witty silliness that made the earlier movies vaguely watchable. Luckily that silliness does come through towards the end, where the makers seem to suddenly wake up and realise that the opportunity to bring David Hasselhoff into the movie, then get him into space and have sharks attack him, is the sort of utter lunacy you can have a bit of fun with. The rest of the time Sharknado 3 is happy to insult the viewer, so that it constantly feels like it’s sticking its middle finger up, thinking another b-list cameo and lazily chucking yet another shark at someone is enough to keep an audience (that it seems to think are braindead) happy.
I’m also starting to wonder whether Ian Ziering and Tara Reid can’t stand one another, as like the second movie, the script seems to go out of its ways to have their supposedly happily married characters spend as little time on screen together as possible.
However, if you like cameos, this movie does have them in spades, from Lou Ferrigno and Bo Derek to Jackie Collins and Jerry Springer. Utterly randomly, Jedward show up too, but despite getting their names on the DVD cover, they are actually just extras who you barely see (to the point where, if you didn’t know they were somewhere in the movie, you’d probably be wondering if it really was them or if your mind was playing tricks on you). Impressively, in a movie where sharks are constantly being thrown out of tornados, the utterly purposeless inclusion of the Irish twins is the most bizarre thing about it.
Overall Verdict: Sharknado 3 very occasionally comes to life and shows the sort of silliness that could have made it fun, but most of the time it’s like someone giving you the fishy finger, mixed with advertising shots of Universal Studios.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac