Sharknado 2: The Second One review

Posted on 18 August 2014
By George Anthony Heron
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Syfy has made a lot of B-Movie schlock horror films in the last few years, including Sharktopus, Frankenfish and Piranhaconda. Sharknado is the most popular of such supernatural disaster efforts. They aren’t the most well made kind of films, with daft dialogue and extremely low-budget special effects, but Sharknado 2 shines through the most with its humour, be it intentional or not.

The key to it all is protagonist, Fin Shepard, a surprisingly three-dimensional character encapsulated within the improbable chaos that the sharknados bring. Ian Ziering (formerly of the original Beverly Hills 90210) plays it very straight as the heroic everyman that overcomes all odds. One of the most fun things about the films is how Finn faces so many improbable and farcical near-death situations, overcoming every single one when others perish most gruesomely. But you need more than Finn to keep this type of film afloat.

Director Anthony C. Ferrante and writer Thunder Levin have clearly made a concerted effort to make this as distinct as possible from its illustrious predecessor. It’s now set in New York, with Finn and his ex-wife April (Tara Reid, more on her later) visiting his sister Ellen and ex-best friend now brother-in-law Martin.

The action is splintered as the different people are going about their business. This is one of the flaws of the film that it descends into a tourist video for New York. Like it needs one?! Syfy must have got a discount on the NY filming fee on the condition that they plug the city ad infinitum. It brings a sickly sweet undertone to the film, taking the fun away.

As well as the shameless promotion of NYC there is a smattering of cameos, the best being the deaths of several celebrities in satisfyingly gory ways. I shan’t spoil who it is. The cameos of news personalities that are used to progress the plot and describe the path of the sharknados ruin the pacing of the film. It starts to make the movie feel far too formulaic, with the predictable switching between plot and news reports, plot and news reports, and so on. The reports themselves often go on too long and it’s too obvious that they’re in on the joke. They must be famous people for New Yorkers but the gag is far too overused and the pay-off insubstantial.

Another problem with the film is when Finn isn’t on the screen, the rest of the cast can’t hold up the film. Tara Reid gets a lot of solo screentime in this film, a much more expanded role compared to the original, which mainly involved her shouting at Finn. Her lack of acting skills become increasingly apparent the more you see her, to the point that it starts draining the life out of the film and your own being. A lot like how Juliette Danielle (Lisa) makes you feel in The Room. Tara Reid in a perilous situation is painful.
It’s the same with the Brodys. I didn’t find them very interesting so I didn’t really care what happened to them. I was hoping Nova (Cassandra Scerbo) from the first one would turn up at some point to spice things up and not just because she’s hot.

It all boils down to the fact that this film did not entertain me anywhere near as much as the first one and shouldn’t have been made. Doing a SBIG (So Bad It’s Good) movie is an almost impossible thing to do intentionally. When it works like Sharknado did, they can turn out to be one of the funniest films you will ever see. If they don’t, it becomes a very painful experience.

Sharknado 2 has its moments and did make me laugh out loud on a few occasions but is dragged down by possibly being a little too self-aware of what it thinks made the last one work and the differences (new characters, location) doing more damage than good.

I’ll watch the third one but I think the only thing that would add something for me would if they gave more of a personality to the sharks. Make ‘em talk, give ‘em a backstory or something.

Sharknado 2 is on SyFy channel next on Thursday August 21st at 9:00pm if you want to give it a go yourself.