TV Review: Sharknado 2 Puts The B in Bigger And Badder


I remember hitting Blockbuster with my friend on one of our many sleepovers. (Yes, I’m old.)

We’d head straight to the “Super Action” section, which must’ve been the only way the video chain could describe these B flicks filled with cheap special effects, topless women, and best acting a small budget could buy. I remember the Toxic Avenger, Re-Animator, and Black Shampoo among the standouts of late evening crammed with pizza, epic Risk sessions, and our movie education. We’d pop in the tape after the parents went to bed and try to outdo each other in mocking these movies.

I switched schools and found a likeminded crowd, but we discovered something called Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K). MST3K was an inventive show that recreated the experience of watching and laughing at movies, where you watched movies with three “people” who riffed on them. It was like building a community on top of a community and it was great.

Which brings me to Sharknado.

When the movie first premiered on the Syfy channel in 2013, I skipped it. Hearing the premise, where a storm creates a waterspout that lifts sharks from the ocean and wreaks havoc on land, Sharknado sounded just like those “Super Action” VHS rentals from days gone by, which raised a red flag. It sounded like writer Thunder Levin and director Anthony C Ferrante set out to create the experience of a B movie. I’ve always felt cult movies or B movies that are meta or self aware are missing a certain romantic element that the parties involved are making a great film. But I’m nothing if not a completist to a fault, so when the review copy of Sharknado 2 landed in my lap, I made sure to hit up Netflix and get the appropriate background. While I found Sharknado too heavy handed for me in this department, Levin and Ferrante have fixed those issues with the sequel, Sharknado 2: The Second One.

In the aftermath of the first sharknado over Los Angeles, Fin (Ian Zierling) has become something of a national hero, except for the citizens of LA for a reason that isn’t quite ever clear. Fin and April (Tara Reid) are still in a weird relationship phase, not quite together, but not exactly divorced anymore. The movie opens as the two are flying to NYC for April’s book signing, a guide to surviving…you guessed it, a sharknado. The flight experiences some turbulence, but of course, Fin knows it’s all happening again. This opening scene references everything from 1980 spoof Airplane! to the Twilight Zone episode, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” complete with rapid fire cameos that you might miss if you blink.

Sharknado 2 wastes no time getting things up and moving, a smart choice for a movie like this. Soon Fin is heading across the city to save his sister Ellen (Kari Wuhrer), his brother-in-law and old friend Martin (Mark McGrath), and niece from the terrifying storm. Along the way, Sharknado 2 leaves no pun or cameo behind, complete even with a “jumping the shark reference.” I won’t spoil them here, because they’re part of the fun in watching, and that’s what Sharknado 2 is: fun. Almost all the actors seem to be having a great time, save for Zierling and Ried who look far too serious, even with her cool Robert Rodriguez styled addition in the film’s climax. New York City, although an easy target for disaster movies, is a far better backdrop than LA. The effects are far better than the first time around, which means Syfy is banking on this as a definite ratings hit and maybe a franchise?

Sharknado and the sequel call back to those B movies on tape or the MST3K guys, who, incidentally, did a Sharknado event in the summer of 2014. It’s a new development in the B movie watching experience and community. The “badness,” plot holes, and cheesiness can be celebrated in real time on social media platforms like Twitter, where cult movie fans can connect and enjoy globally. Sharknado isn’t meant to be taken seriously, note to Ms. Reid, and that’s what makes it so fun.

One Response
  1. July 31, 2014

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