Check out some of these titles. Piranhaconda. Sharktopus. Arachnoquake. Stonados. All Syfy movies that aired with little if any fanfare. Then came Sharknado. Originally airing a little more than a year ago, it generated pretty standard ratings for a Syfy original. However, chatter about it dominated the summer, especially on Twitter. That led to additional showings on Syfy, a brief theatrical release, merchandising, and, of course, a sequel. It was a full-blown phenomenon. And in all fairness, in its ability to establish and maintain an entertaining lunacy for 90 minutes, it is a cut above typical Syfy fare.
The sequel, Sharknado 2: The Second One, is airing on July 30th on Syfy. It’s clear early on that the movie has fully embraced its status as a major pop culture curiosity. In other words, it has gone full corporate. It takes all of 30 seconds for a Coors Light can to be featured prominently, and it’s not the last time we’ll catch a glimpse of it. Citibank also gets a couple of shout outs. Nothing, however, compares to the airtime NBC’s The Today Show receives. Viewers practically catch an entire broadcast of the morning show by the time the movie is over.
As for the movie itself, well, for better or worse, depending on your perspective, it’s more of the same. It wastes no time getting to the lunacy, and it never really lets up. In the first 10 minutes, a sharknado destroys a plane carrying our heroes Fin (Ian Ziering) and April (Tara Reid) from Los Angeles to New York City. In those 10 minutes, Fin manages to land the place after April gets her hand bitten off by a shark while hanging from an open door in the cabin as she shoots at sharks. It is gloriously bonkers.
On the ground in the Big Apple, Fin and April seek out his sister (Kari Wuhrer) and her husband (Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath), who are meeting up with them to explore Manhattan. Meanwhile, the action constantly shifts to Al Roker and Matt Lauer, who provide updates on the freak weather heading towards Manhattan every 5-10 minutes. The freak weather is going to bring snow as well as an “EF5 Sharknado.” It’s mildly amusing to watch Roker and Lauer constantly utter the word “sharknado.”
As the sharknado hits, Fin attempts to get his family to safety while simultaneously conjuring up a plan to destroy the deadly twisters. As he and his family attempt to avoid the sharks falling from the sky, we get a tour of well-known locations including the Statue of Liberty, Citi Field, and the subway system (sharks on a train). Watching Richard Kind, playing an ex-Met superstar, hit a shark home run is definitely a highlight.
It all culminates at the top of a massive office tower as Fin and his ex (Vivica A. Fox) hatch an awesome MacGyver-esque plan to obliterate the sharknados. The grand finale is downright priceless. It involves shark riding, Tara Reid’s severed hand, a circular saw and chainsaw, a marriage proposal, and a daytime talk show host killing a shark. It has to be seen to be believed.
The dialogue is as amazingly wacky as the sharknado action. April, alluding to Jaws: The Revenge, claims that a shark looked at her “and knew who I was.” There’s plenty of quips like “I don’t think Fin is gonna bite.” There’s a news reporter noting that “people are panicking because sharks are raining down from the sky.” Plus, basically every speaking role aside from the leads is a cameo from a B- or C-list celebrity, which in a movie like this feels entirely appropriate.
Sharknado 2 is not going to win any converts. It seems to be aiming to please fans of the first far more than it’s trying to win new fans. If you hate the first one, chances are you’ll feel the same about the sequel. But fans of the original can rejoice. The second one is a hell of a lot of goofy fun.