Sharknado 2: The Second One (2014)

Ian Ziering as Fin, doing his chainsaw thing.

Ian Ziering as Fin, doing his chainsaw thing.

 

Directed by: Anthony C. Ferrante
Starring: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Vivica A. Fox, Mark McGrath, Kari Wuhrer, Courtney Baxter, Dante Palminteri

So here is Sharknado 2: The Second One, the inevitable sequel to 2013’s cult hit Sharknado. It would seem #2 is an instant hit as well, as the debut airing on SyFy reportedly smashed all kinds of records.

While the first film won me over by the sheer level of absurdity that set it apart from most other made-for-TV fare, this time we’re dealing with a very self-conscious follow-up that spends as much effort on in-jokes and celebrity cameos as it does on sharknado mayhem. So production company The Asylum deserves some credit for still managing to make this sequel entertaining. Trashy, cheap and devoid of cinematic value, but entertaining. Certainly more fun to watch than a host of other SyFy originals.

As for the plot, our hero Fin (Ziering) and his ex-wife April (Reed) are en route to New York, where April is going to promote her recent book, “How to Survive a Sharknado”, when their plane flies right into a shark storm. In a matter of moments the crew is dead and the side of the plane has been ripped open, and Fin tries to land the plane safely while April dangles outside the plane where a shark eats her hand.

Once on the ground, April is rushed to the hospital while Fin turns his attention to saving his sister (Wuhrer) and her family, along with the rest of NYC. Fin’s brother-in-law (McGrath) backs him up, but he also gets valuable help from his old flame Skye (Vivica A. Fox). Not one but two sharknados are converging over Manhattan, and when the strategy employed in the first film – throwing bombs into the tornado – fails, Fin, Skye and April rush to the top of the Empire State Building for the preposterous climax.

Seen as a comedy (which is probably the reasonable way to see it), Sharknado 2: The Second One kind of works. It is unrelentingly ridiculous, fully aware of it and goes out of its way to prove it. While The Second One comes with all kinds of expectations and has a hard time surprising us with its silliness, in the way that the original did, it is obvious that the filmmakers have made an effort to come up with even crazier ideas. Sharknado 2 does recycle some of the set-pieces from the first film – like Fin chainsawing his way through a giant shark, and a ludicrous coincidence for the finale – but stages these better than the original did.

As for new attractions, we get sharks in the sewers, sharks in the subway, sharks in a stairwell, a rain of burning sharks and the decapitation of the Statue of Liberty. Some of these are a bit meh: short sequences of bad CGI. The moment I really liked, though, was Fin’s airborne rodeo ride on a big shark – for me, it had that spark of insane brilliance.

Technically, Sharknado 2 is more or less on the same level as the first one. The visual effects are weak, not least when it comes to the CGI sharks, and the director shows the same (perhaps intentional?) disregard for continuity and logic as in the original. As for the actors, I like Ziering who’s doing his best Mr Intense, the very cool Vivica A. Fox, and the entertaining Judd Hirsch in a small part (or maybe it’s a large cameo). As for Tara Reid… well, she’s Tara Reid. I’m not much of a fan, I’m afraid.

Final judgment? Not quite as fun as the first film, but Sharknado 2: The Second One will no doubt make most fans of the original happy. As for those with a low tolerance for trash cinema – just stay well away.

I’m finding it a bit difficult to rate this one, so I’ll go with “Craptastic” for now. It’s not like it really matters, is it?

(Sharknado 3 has been announced for a 2015 release. You have been warned.)

Rating: ?!/5 (Craptastic!)

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