Sharknado 2: The Second One is here my friends, and:
“I know you’re scared, They’re sharks. They’re scary, and no one wants to get eaten…”
The trick with making sequels is that there is always a stigma attached to them; when you think of your favorite films, unless it is Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, The Godfather Part II or Friday the 13th Part IV, the sequel was ultimately a disappointment when compared to the original. SyFy is hoping to buck that trend by capitalizing on one of their most popular B-Movie hits of all time, Sharknado (2013) (our review available: here), a film which essentially dominated on Twitter and became something of a cult smash, with their premiere of Sharknado 2: The Second One on July 30, 2014 as the feature piece of “Sharknado Week”. The question then is: is Sharknado 2 a sequel that improved on the formula established in Sharknado, or does it take a step backward and fall in on itself?
Sharknado 2: The Second One is again a The Asylum film directed by Anthony C. Ferrante (Sharknado & Boo) and again starring Ian Ziering as Fin Shepard, our hero from Sharknado, the former surfer, bar-owner and man now famous for being the hero of the Los Angeles sharknado. He and his ex-wife April (Tara Reid, again reprising her role from Sharknado) are flying across the country to New York City for April’s book tour, having written the bestselling “How to Survive a Sharknado”, and for Fin to visit with his sister Ellen (Kari Wuher), her husband/Fin’s former best friend Martin (Mark McGrath), Fin’s niece Mora (Courtney Baxter) and nephew Vaughn (Dante Palminteri). A former flame of Fin’s, Skye (Vivica A. Fox) is also in the picture because…well, they did not bring Nova back from Sharknado and someone needs to be the kick-ass female foil for Fin.
Sharknado 2 starts with a bang as the plane Fin and April are on is accosted by the first sharknado; fans of The Twilight Zone or failing that, The Simpsons will get a quick homage, and then the sharks start killing
extras cameos and April loses her shooting hand to a flying great white. Fin lands the plane himself (all surfers can land jets), leaves April at the hospital to recover, and heads into the city to try and rescue his family from the oncoming sharknadoes and having to sit through an entire NY Mets game. Along the way to Citi Field, Fin runs across even more cameos, including Judd Hirsch (Independence Day, Ordinary People) as a charming cab driver. Fin gets Skye, Martin and Vaughn out of the ballpark, then takes a trip through the subway, a stop to hurl mini-bombs into the storm from the top of the Bates Tower Hotel (*wink*), and into a finale including a whole bunch of awesome at the Empire State Building.
The thing about Sharknado 2 is that to tell you too much about what actually happens would take a great deal of the fun away from watching the film, and compared to Sharknado, Sharknado 2: The Second One has fun in spades. The use of cameos, often in a tongue-in-cheek way, combined with the relentless pace of the plot helps to make Sharknado 2 a clear improvement over its’ predecessor; if you have not seen Sharknado 2 yet, I hope that you have managed to avoid some of the cameo spoilers, as while not as fun-breaking as having the Zombieland cameo spoiled for you, the Sharknado cameos are much more fun if you go in with no foreknowledge. The plot itself benefits from a severe streamlining, and sticking to the old addage of “give the people what they want”: as opposed to Sharknado where we did not actually see a sharknado until the end, Sharknado 2 delivers in the first 5 minutes and revels in its’ breakneck pace, throwing multiple sharknadoes into the fray.
While the first Sharknado suffered from the impediment of Tara Reid’s April (and the thankfully left in Los Angeles, daughter of Fin, Claudia) and her characters’ purpose in the first film to impede the plot and drag the story out to a longer run time, Sharknado 2 sheds this plot device and instead focuses itself by providing us with an A and B story to flesh the film out. While the B-Story featuring the aforementioned Ellen and Mora trying to get back from the Statue of Liberty to the Bates Tower to meetup with the rest of our heroes (while losing some of Ellen’s shark fodder friends in fun ways) never has the same bite as the A-Story following Fin, it was a great way for Sharknado 2 to double back on its’ roots and show people who have not experienced the terror of a sharknado trying to survive, while still giving us the experienced shark-fighting and crazy shark gore that we have come to expect from Sharknado films.
Now, that is not to say that there are no problems with Sharknado 2: The Second One, as it is still a made-for-TV B-movie about tornadoes sucking up sharks and hurling them into downtown Manhattan. The acting is, again, B-movie at its’ very core; while there are several less than stellar performances, thankfully there are none that take away from the enjoyment of watching this schlocky film. The special effects remain what one would expect of a SyFy movie (read: not very good, but passable) and there was the odd sound problem, but nothing film-breaking.
Look, let’s get right down to the core of this: Sharknado 2: The Second One is bigger, faster and sharkier. If you are looking for a cult film that knows it is supposed to be cheesy, hilarious and a whole lot of fun to watch with a big group of friends, you cannot do much better than this. If you are (for some reason) picking between Sharknado and Sharknado 2, you should really watch the sequel: it is one of the few second films in a series that is a vast improvement over its’ predecessor, however, you almost do need to see the first film in order to really appreciate The Second One in all its glory.
At the end of the day, as a B-movie fan, if you watch Sharknado 2: The Second One, you will have a good time. Promise.
Now let’s see what happens in Sharknado 3…