Sharknado 1, in its own bizarre and funny way, was a film worth watching, even if it’s a bit of the crap side of filmmaking. It was silly, stupid and over-the-top. Sharknado 2, however, takes “Jumping the Shark” (pun intended) and turned it into “Jumping the Ocean”. The volume is turned up to 11, and it features not only 10 of the funniest and most ridiculous opening minutes I have ever seen in any film, possibly ever. But also a pile of other scenes that just made this film great craic and laugh-out-loud hilarious.
Our film starts with the hero in the last film, Fin Shepard (played once again by Ian Ziering), on a flight to New York with his ex-wife April (once again played by Tara Reid). April has just written a book on how to survive a Sharknado, and was going to New York for a book-signing and Breakfast TV appearance. Fin was going primarily to see his Sister, Ellen Moody (played by Karl Wuhrer) and her family, including Martin (Mark McGrath, who was Fin’s best friend in their younger days), their daughter Mora and their son Vaughn. From the get-go, the product-placement reveals itself, as a Coors Lite is being poured by an air hostess, who also happens to be Kelly Osbourne, as 1 of numerous celebrity appearances. She’s looking much better than her time on The Osbournes, but her acting is what you would expect if she’s not playing herself. The plane is eventually attacked by a Sharknado, and the film pays homage (parody) to the famous Twilight Zone episode “Nightmare At 20,000 Feet” (That episode starring William Shatner, 3 years before he became world famous), the acting from the other passengers was great (wink wink), especially that Police Officer on board who hastily makes threats to Fin without much investigation. Soon, the Sharknado rips a hole in the side of the plane and a shark flies through the windscreen to eat the pilots. Why Kelly Osbourne isn’t being sucked out of the plane, we might never know (as she is standing around telling everyone to be calm while there’s a massive hole that should be hoovering her towards the centre of the earth) Seriously, did any of them learn anything from Fight Club? So anyway, there’s a massive hole in the side, both pilots are dead, Tara Reid is about to be sucked out the emergency door, but she’s holding onto the door handle while shooting at flying sharks with a pistol. Eventually, Fin, a new hero and new celebrity in this movie’s universe, lands the plane in such a way that it could rival Arnold Schwarzeneggar being exposed to the atmosphere on Mars. Fantastic.
Eventually we’re treated to New York, which is presented in such a way that it screams “Tourist Attraction”, and along the way we’re presented with more product placement. Particularly from the sandwich franchise Subway, to the point of featuring Jared Fogle (the guy who lost a pile of weight on the Subway Diet). He is seen eating a sandwich in the underground subway station (get it?). We’re also treated to the placement of the baseball team The New York Mets (with a possible inside joke that the New York Yankees were too expensive or thought this movie would garish their image). Our heroes are then split into 2 groups (possibly 3 if you count April’s hospital visit with Dr. Billy Ray Cyrus…I’m not kidding). Ellen Brody, her daughter Mora, their friend Chrissy (played by Scream Queen Tiffany Shepis) and Polly (played by Pepa from Salt-n-Pepa) go sightseeing, while Fin meets up with Martin, Vaughn, his ex-girlfriend Skye (played by Vivian A. Fox) and some guy named Brian (Almost unrecognisably played by Judah Friedlander, best known as Frank Rossitano from 30 Rock), at a New York Mets game. It was also here that we are briefly given the cameo of Richard Kind (Paul from Spin City) as a legendary baseball player that Brian enthusiastically provides a pile of exposition for. With the help of Ben the Taxi Driver (played, believe it or not, by Judd Hirsch, who was Alex Rieger in the tv comedy Taxi…almost like it’s a continuation…a bit ingenious if you ask me) they manage to get around New York with a little more ease than those who are simply going on foot. We’re also treated, oddly enough to real-life weather reporters and Breakfast TV show hosts, creating a surprising amount of authenticity to this problem known as a tornado with sharks. Good stuff. Oh, and watch out for 1 of the best Indiana Jones references out there…and a Despicable Me 2 reference…and why is Olympic Gold Medalist and Pro Wrestling legend, Kurt Angle a Chief Fireman? Nobody knows…
The music is primarily a rehash from the 1st movie, including the use of the Punk Rock song from it’s ending credits, so not much here. The acting is as bad, if not worse than the original…which adds to it somehow. I like that they have expanded Fin’s character a lot more, and you can tell that everybody was having fun making it. The CGI was a bit better, but is more or less still as crap as before. Only this time they chose to be more creative and amusing with their highlights. The story is pretty crap, like before…but we’re not exactly here to watch Pride and Prejudice, are we?
Would I recommend this film? Only if you have seen the first 1, and like it enough to see this 1, because you need to know the characters and the events of the 1st film to really enjoy it (somehow). To be fair, this is 1 of the best stupid movies I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying something. On paper, and with a better budget/CGI team, this could have been 1 of the best disaster comedies of all time. To the point that the product placement, sight-seeing cinematography and dialogue oozing of New York Patriotism, made it work…also, if you’re from New York, this might be the funniest movie you’ll ever see (on Syfy, of course). Tarantino and Rodriguez tried to recreate this kind of fun with their movie Grindhouse, but here it’s done so much better. I say bring on the 3rd 1 and set it in Outer Space.
Overall Rating: **3/4 out of 5 for the film itself. ***** for the stupid fun factor.