Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me a million times when I’m drunk with the allure of original titles like Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators, Chupacabra Vs. The Alamo and Piranhaconda, well, I’m not sure where the shame lies, but for the sake of my own battered ego, I’ll just blame it on the alcohol.
Unfortunately my Sharknado double feature experience had to be a completely sober one, because on the contrary, I’m a terrible writer when under the influence. Yes, I’m one of the virgin souls who avoided the original Sharknado like a typical Asylum produced plague, not because of my hatred of B-Movies, but my undying devotion to PROPER cult classics. Sharknado is nothing but a gory poser – a wannabe insta-classic focused only on one ridiculous gimmick and boatloads of viral marketing. Do you know why the original film was such a success? Because viewers didn’t have to pay for a ticket, plain and simple. The SyFy network is free on most cable providers, and you can watch this garbage while doing a whole assortment of vastly more entertaining time wasters, but SyFy reaps these ratings benefits, and enough of you knuckleheds tuned in to greenlight a second “movie.”
You can’t really call Sharknado 2: The Second One a “movie,” as it’s more an elongated commercial for Coors Light and Subway sandwich shops featuring a relentless barrage of C-List celebrities (being generous) who you’ll need to Google just to remember their relevance. I’ll admit, some cameos filled my heart with nostalgia, like Robert Hays (Ted Striker in Airplane!) playing a pilot flying a commercial craft, but what about Billy Ray Cyrus playing a doctor for no apparent reason? Or Andy Dick getting one sneaky line in as an onlooking cop? Or the coup de grâce of Sharknado: The Second One cameos – Jared from Subway eating Subway in a subway. Besides the whorish production placement that somehow manages to fit Subway’s bright yellow storefronts in every New York City scene, SyFy’s unnatural disaster piece relies too heavily on distracting viewers with “celebrities” like Perez Hilton, Daymond John, Kurt Angle, and Kelly Osbourne. Judah Friedlander gets a pass though, because you don’t mess with the World Champ – even when he’s playing a lowly Mets fan.
Once Sharknado 2: The Second One starts whipping the winds of chaos, Thunder Levin’s lazy script reveals itself to be nothing but reformed references from classic movies, built around a shark tornado concept. Major scenes are always punctuated by another movie’s idea, whether retelling Twilight Zone episodes by inserting flying sharks, turning Tara Reid into Ash from Evil Dead, stealing Chucky’s proposal from Bride Of Chucky – the rather obnoxious list of glaring “homages” (thefts) reeks of desperation around every turn, begging fanboys and fangirls to love Sharknado 2: The Second One based on nothing but pity and overwhelming cheekiness.
We’re talking about an Asylum production here, so of course quality comes into question. Filmed on a shoestring budget, I’m actually surprised to see what appear to be actual New York City settings, but of course, atrocious green screens and noticeable B-roll footage muddy up whatever integrity might be struggling to break through. An entire Mets game scene is shot at Citi Field, yet filming apparently couldn’t be permitted during an actual game because stock Mets footage and generic crowd shots are shown awkwardly while some generic pop rock plays out of sync. Practically crafted sharks barely get any screen time, gushing water looks more like pixelated grains and fearful pedestrians are actually recreated as SimCity avatars because hiring real people would be too wastefully expensive. Sharknado 2: The Second One barely passes itself off as honest cinema, spending all its production budget on names like Matt Lauer and Al Roker instead of violent, brutal visual artistry and Sharknado insanity.
Returning once again are Ian Ziering and Tara Reid as Fin Shepard and April Wexler, newly rekindled lovers promoting their How To Survive A Sharknado book in New York City. Instead of finding fame though, they find another man-eating force threatening one of America’s famous cities, and Fin once again has to save those he loves from sharp teeth and tractor beams of wind.
Marc McGrath, Vivica A. Fox, and Kari Wuher all help Ziering along the way, but Reid seems nowhere to be found most the movie. This is Ziering’s aquatic rodeo to wrangle, and while the 90201 star appears to be having the most fun, I can’t say his supporting castmates mirror their leader’s enthusiasm. Between Friedlander and Judd Hirsch (a taxi driver, of course), enough examples of proper schlock acting exist, but other talents like Fox and Cyrus embody the persona of soggy driftwood, unable to strive surrounded by goofiness and shoddy showmanship. Ziering has found a new calling as a heroic shark slayer, but he can’t shoulder the weight of Anthony C. Ferrante’s catastro-piece alone.
Then again, is there even a point to writing about Sharknado 2: The Second One? I had an absolute blast live-Tweeting my constant sarcastic ramblings, infinitely more fun than I had watching the bloody disaster, because that’s exactly how an Asylum movie should be watched – with a community of friends who equally love ripping apart the worst entertainment has to offer. Plus, as a proud New Jersey native, I needed an outlet after Levin threw unwarranted NJ cheap shots across the river – whatever, at least we’re not Staten Island.
During my Tweeting I developed a hashtag I consistently used, and that was #WhyAmIAskingQuestions. Yes, before throwing an illogical scenario up for dissection, I reminded myself the simple phrase – “Why Am I Asking Questions?” We’re talking about a TV movie featuring both water-bound sharks and flaming sharks, equally angry sewer crocodiles, Biz Markie as a pizza man, and most preposterously, happy Mets fans. Levin attempts to score patriot points by exploiting New York City propaganda for all it’s worth, Ferrante shoots a film that’s as marketable as possible, and every brainwashing moment is meant to distract from how dismissively bad a production Sharknado 2: The Second One really is. It’s almost frustratingly futile. Asylum might as well have just ended the movie with an eagle firing machine guns into the Sharknados until Michael Bay blows them both up with a cornucopia of detonated goodies – Hell, that might have made me forget I’m watching a movie maybe 3 people in the world would pay a $14 ticket for.
Then again, I’m part of the problem. I’ll admit it. Go ahead, count how many times I hashtaged #Sharknado2 on Twitter tonight, albeit in a fit of controlled anger. Then look at how many times each Tweet got Retweeted (wasn’t that many, but they spread like an internet virus). The Asylum ruled social media tonight, and they did so while making a piss poor movie without a single knowledgable breath of B-Movie creation, only furthering our obsession with animal infused weather.
Sharknado 2: The Second One is not a good movie by any definition of the phrase. Ferrante and Levin force cult cinema, which is the number one way to ensure your film will be so abysmally bad, that it’ll just stay bad. Cult classics attain their status over time, created with the best of intentions while finding the wackiest of results. Sharknado 2: The Second One is created with the worst of intentions, tricking inexperienced viewers into believing they’ve just witness fun horror exploitation, but the reality is we’re all just being taken advantage of – and we like it. How do I know this? Because I’ll be right back here next year reviewing Sharknado 3: Third Time’s The Charm and Tweeting along with the rest of you, most likely hating every God forsaken minute yet again.
“IT’S NOT GONNA END!” No Ian, no it’s not. Not for at least another sequel – and don’t think you’re the only one horrified by that idea.
I can sit here and tell you the million and one ways Sharknado 2: The Second One is a pitiful failure, but that doesn't really matter since we'll be in the same situation next year discussing yet another Sharknado.