Sharknado 2: The Second One (Review)
Sharknado 2: The Second One
How can the same shark happen to the same guy twice?
The Sharknadoes are back and this time they’re taking on the Big Apple! But New Yorkers aren’t going to just stand by and let their city get destroyed by a bunch of shark-laced tornadoes. Thus the people fight back, and more importantly, returning Sharknado hero Fin leads the fight against the sharknadoes. With Sharknado 2: The Second One, Asylum and SyFy step back into the world of viral creature feature movies, and score a monster hit. Not only was this the highest SyFy original movie ever (with 3.9 million viewers), but it’s also entertaining and fun. The action is bigger and more consistent throughout the whole film, leading to less of the pacing problem that the original Sharknado faced.
Sharknado 2 edges its predecessor with more ridiculous stunts and better graphics. The money shots are given a high quality look to better make cool gifs. The well-paced action provides continual entertainment, beginning with a ridiculously awesome plane sequence that just keeps raising the stakes and the body count. The excuses to get people moving around felt more genuine than Sharknado‘s goal post moving search for family. Sharknado 2 has what is the best excuse for not being able to reach someone by cell phone I’ve seen in a movie (the guy shuts it off so he can spend quality time with his son and not be distracted by work! So much better than random “out of service” shots or just ignoring phones altogether.)
Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering) and his ex-wife April Wexler (Tara Reid), who he is now reconciling with, are on route to New York City, his hometown and where his sister and her family live. But the flight path is right through the latest forming sharknado, and soon the plane is a disasterpiece that Fin has to land himself. Things become a desperate struggle to get his family to safety and to save the city from the sharknadoes, while chomping death flies in the skies and rains down on the people. Only chainsaws, buzzsaw hands, swords, guns, freon tanks, and a host of celebrity cameos can save New York City from nature’s wrath!
Sharknado 2 has a whole mouthful of celebrity cameos, many scenes are packed to the gills with guest stars. It’s to the point where certain roles were obviously just bit parts that they got a celebrity to fill, while others seem weirdly expanded or written just so someone famous could do them. Other roles have tv hosts discussing the sharknadoes as the film progresses, and then their studios attacked during the climax. The strange but constant mix of cameos was entertaining because it became a game seeing just how many famous people were going to show up!
The cameos feel right at home because Sharknado 2 is packed with pop culture references. The opening shot borrows from the Jaws-themed opening shot of Airplane!, and then launches into a long Airplane! reference with Twilight Zone aspects thrown in. Jaws gets more lip service via character names, and even winks towards Star Wars, Taxi, Frogger, King Kong, alligators in the sewers, and Army of Darkness are tossed around like sharks in a whirlwind.
Sharknado 2 deals with something not dealt with a lot in these one and done creature features, which is Fin’s post-traumatic stress disorder after surviving the fight of his life and being eaten by a shark. He feels guilty and uncomfortable with his status as a hero, which is different from the fame he is used to as a surfing hero, and thinks the stress is finally getting to him and he’s cracking. But it turns out that the sharknadoes really are back, and he’s the only one who can fight them off. By the end, Fin has embraced his role as a hero, and is willing to lay his life on the line to stop the sharknado menace.
The supporting roles mix from characters who are just there to be seen to actually productive friends. Tara Reid does more than just scream, after getting injured in the crazy opening, she becomes a buzzsaw-handed warrior who saves Fin at several points. Fin’s most constant companion is Skye (Vivica A. Fox), an old friend from his childhood that both had feelings for each other, but nothing ever happened. She is a tough cookie who slices her way through myriad shark opponents. Vivica A. Fox literally uses a sword to hack sharks from the sky. Kari Wuhrer and Mark McGrath play Fin’s sister and brother-in-law Ellen and Martin Brody. Martin was Fin’s former best friend and partner in crime (they called themselves the dynamic duo, like so many best friend pairs), until Fin got mad Martin was dating his sister and they had their falling out. While the family makes up through the tragedy, the family just become side characters that you know are going to end up safe while the action unfolds.
Fin’s embrace of his heroic role leads to his inspire speech atop a firetruck that rallies the populace to fight against the sharks. The final sequences, as flaming sharks stream down, are hilarious, as everyone rushes to the trunks of their cars to pull out an assortment of random weaponry to attack the sharks with. Machetes, automatic weapons, pitchforks, you name it. Special shoutout to the Duck Dynasty guy who has 6 chainsaws in his truck that he tosses up into the sharknado!
Overall, Sharknado 2: The Second One is crazy b-movie film making done right! Things get ridiculous and crazy, but still make perfect sense in the world it makes. The fourth wall is broken by the newscasters and tv personalities who are removed from direct interaction with the characters, so can easily be seen as part of the Sharknado world. Sharknado 2 delivers far better than I expected, and they’ll have a tough road to figure out how to top this one with Sharknado 3. But I have faith. Until then, keep your chainsaws oiled, because a storm’s a-comin’!
Rated 9/10 (plane crazy, sponsored, batter up!, pretty sure this is the director, Lucas was here, flaming shark, flaming shark, fateful truck, news graphics!)
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Sharknado 2 cameo listing and gallery (with spoilers of who lives and who dies!) We assume everyone not killed on camera lives: