Should I Watch..? 'Sharknado 2: The Second One' (2014)
What's the big deal?
Sharknado 2: The Second One is a satirical disaster horror film made for television and released in 2014 by The Asylum studio. It is a sequel to their previous cult hit Sharknado and features a whole host of celebrity cameos alongside returning cast members Ian Ziering and Tara Reid. Like its predecessor, it became an overnight smash mainly due to excessive coverage on social media as well as merchandise that tied into the film. There was even a competition held for people to suggest the film's subtitle with The Second One being the winner. When it premiered on the Syfy channel in the US, viewers figured topped 3.9 million which easily made it the most-watched film premiere in the channel's history.
What's it about?
Having survived the events of the first film, April Wexler wrote a book called "How To Survive A Sharknado And Other Unnatural Disasters" and is flying into New York with her ex-husband Fin Shepard to promote it. Unfortunately, the east coast is about to experience its own sharknado and their plane is attacked by airbourne sharks. Fin is able to land the plane safely but April loses her hand to one of the beasts.
Upon landing, Fin takes April to hospital before realising what he has to do - his sister Ellen lives in New York with her husband Martin and son Vaughn, as does Fin's friend and former partner Skye. Fin races to get them all to safety but the storm hits New York, causing hundreds of sharks to rain from the skies. Will they survive a second storm or are the sharks interested in biting more than just the Big Apple?
What's to like?
I discussed my personal opinion of films trying to be 'so bad, they're good' in my review of the first film but suffice to say, this one turns the insanity up to 11. You know that you're watching a film with no concept of reality or common sense when a character surfs a shark through the sky and impales it on the roof of the Empire State Building. This is probably the stupidest film you will ever watch in your life (until Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! came along) but you won't care about that. You wanna see stars getting eaten, right? Well, Sharknado 2: The Second One has a veritable cornucopia of D-listers lining up for the treatment including Kelly Osbourne, Andy Dick, Michael Strahan, Kelly Ripa, former wrestler Kurt Angle, Billy Ray Cyrus, Perez Hilton... the list goes on and on. If you enjoy flicking through gossip magazines and wishing the people in them were eaten by sharks then this is the best film you'll ever see, assuming you have a copy of the film on your ward and your nurse is allowed to leave the remote control with you.
No doubt as a result of the success of the first film, The Asylum threw every last penny they had into this production because it looks halfway presentable. The CG sharks, while still ugly and only looking vaguely like sharks, look a touch better than last time although the cast somehow manage to remain bone dry in the midst of such a powerful storm that sharks are sucked into the upper atmosphere. At least there is a knowing wink this time, a sense that only by embracing the madness can they progress onto bigger and better things. This time, it knows how bad it is and is in on the joke with you.
- Robert Hayes plays the captain of the aeroplane, stating that he's "been through worse" flying through the storm. Hayes played the lead in the classic spoof Airplane!.
- The characters played by Mark McGrath & Kari Wuhrer share their names with those played by Roy Schieder and Lorraine Gray in Jaws.
- Among the many cameos included in the film is the director himself, Anthony C. Ferrante. He is the guitar-playing crooner on the subway.
What's not to like?
Unfortunately, part of the original's charm was that inkling that it was unaware of its shortfalls. Obviously, it's a ridiculous premise and nobody in their right mind would ever imagine such an event being possible. But the cast were all so earnest, trying their damnedest to make you believe they were in real peril. Here, there isn't a single scene where it felt like the main cast were in any kind of danger. Despite April losing her hand in the opening scenes, you get the sense that she'll find a more practical replacement for her hand - and indeed, she does. She doesn't even seem to mourn her hand that much - perhaps she was disappointed not to be hanging around the increasingly immortal Fin.
I know that, like the first, I am missing the point. Sharknado 2: The Second One is meant to be idiotic, savage fun without a single coherent thought in its wonky CG head. But the problem is, the first film was more fun than this. Bad movies work best when they are ignorant of the level they're working at. The movie is just too aware of itself and its shortcomings to qualify for the 'so bad, it's good' crowd - the first film, whilst still being madder than believing everything you see on Fox News, never tried to make fun of itself. This film, by contrast, does nothing but throughout.
Should I watch it?
Unless you're a fan of the original film (in which case, nothing I say here will make much difference) then my advice is to give this such a wide berth that the Exxon-Valdez could sail between you and it. It's the sort of film where you can feel your brain cells committing suicide in protest at being forced to watch such utter garbage. If you are a fan of the very worst cinema out there then there isn't much to touch the Sharknado series for sheer, unbridled lunacy. For the rest of you, I recommend anything else but this.
Great For: pot heads, drunks, the unhinged
Not So Great For: anyone who can count above five, sensible adults, children
What else should I watch?
There are no shortage of bad movies out there but only a select few manage to be 'so bad, they're good' so allow me to make some recommendations to you. Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever is a witless and boring action movie as well as a criminal waste of money. The Convent is another laughable excuse for a horror film featuring Coolio and some other people you don't care about and features demonic nuns laughing like chipmunks. Santa With Muscles is a Christmas-themed movie with Hulk Hogan and frankly, that's all you need to know. And of course, there is The Room, Tommy Wiseau's bizarre ego-project as a creepy-looking weirdo living a creepy-looking weirdo's life. It also has the unwelcome distinction of being the worst film I suspect I will ever see.
Fans of shark-related weather movies will probably also enjoy the equally bonkers Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! or the lawsuit-nudging Sharknado 4: The Fourth Awakens which has the same amount of insanity, celebrity cameos and dreadful effects but will do nothing for the lack of respect I hold for you. Frankly, I'm done with the Sharknado series - once you've seen one, you know the rest.
Vivica A. Fox
Ben, the taxi driver
Billy Ray Cyrus
Anthony C. Ferrante
Release Date (UK)
30th July, 2014
Disaster, Horror, Comedy
© 2015 Benjamin Cox