Plot: Yes there is one. The hero of the first-ever Sharknado, former pro surfer Fin Shephard (Ian Ziering), is on his way to New York with his ex-wife (Tara Reid) to promote their new book, How to Survive a Sharknado. As they prepare to land, their plane is caught in the midst of, you guessed it, a second sharknado. Once landed, Fin must get his sister (Kari Wuhrer) and brother-in-law (Mark McGrath) to safety all while trying to figure out how to stop, “The Second One.”
Sharknado 2: The Second One, might be the best movie I’ve seen all year.
No, my head doesn’t need examining, it’s the God’s honest truth — Sharknado 2, is great.
Yes, from a cinematic perspective, this isn’t what you’d call a “good movie.” The effects are lackluster, the dialogue is cheesy, there’s plot holes 10 miles wide and the acting is sometimes flat out terrible.
But, you’re not watching a movie about a “sharknado” the same way you’d watch a movie that’s up for the Academy Award for Best Picture. You’re watching this movie for the sheer entertainment value and when it comes to entertaining, Sharknado 2 delivers beyond all expectations.
While the original Sharknado was intentionally campy, the second film is gloriously in on the joke and is not afraid to tell you so. The film is filled with inside pop culture references and stunt casting that makes you literally laugh out loud — Taxi’s Judd Hirsch as a New York cab driver, Airplane!’s Robert Hayes as a 747 pilot? Utterly brilliant. Having Jared from Subway in a subway station, eating a sandwich, telling a guy to “eat fresh” — shamelessly wonderful product placement. Also, the fact NBC (which is owns SyFy … okay NBCUniversal owns them, but you get the point) got Matt Laurer and Al Roker to have major roles in the film (as themselves) as a quasi-Greek Chorus is a stroke of genius.
Speaking of cameos, the film is teeming with them — from blink and you miss them spots from Will Wheaton to absurd cameos like Billy Ray Cyrus as a surgeon and wrestler Kurt Angle as a NYFD chief — the film takes on near Airplane!/Zucker Bros./Mel Brooks levels of random celebrity involvement. If you plan on a drinking game every time there’s a celebrity cameo, you’re going to need a new liver.
Yet, amidst all the gaga, there’s some actually decent acting performances here. Ian Ziering is the straight man of the movie and he’s awesome at it. Someone in the movie needs to be centered and constantly reminding audiences, “Guys, these are flying sharks coming at us, we need to not die.” Ziering does this in the least, B-movie way possible — no over-the-top summerstock dramatic readings of awful dialogue. He reacts like a normal guy and his calm in the sea of panic helps steer the movie away from going off the deep end being of funny for the sake of funny’s sake.
Then there’s Vivica A. Fox, who is able to take some off the most putrid dialogue and actually make her scenes pretty heartfelt. Her scene with Ziering where they talk about their failed relationship is actually a pretty well-acted scene, which actually shocked the hell out of me. Also, Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath and long-time B-movie star Kari Wuhrer, do serviceable jobs as Ziering’s brother-in-law and sister respectively.
There’s also this wonderfully weird turn the film takes during the climax. For the most part (and the movies owns this), the film is Sharknado in New York City — the same kind of film, the same kind of action, deaths and humor but then, the film takes this crazy turn that feels like the end sequence from Blazing Saddles combined with scenes from Airplane! mixed with a bit of Army of Darkness (one scene in particular will have AOD fans chuckling). It’s just so beyond anything you’d expect, almost to parody-level. This “cherry on top” ending makes you just feel fully satiated as a consumer of pop culture.
Sharknado 2: The Second One is one of the most entertaining experiences you’re going to have watching television this year. Bravo, to SyFy for embracing the absurdity of Sharknado and running with it to the highest degree. So, Sharknado 3: The Third One, same time next year, guys?
Bill Bodkin is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. He can be read weekly on Trailer Tuesday and Singles Party, weekly reviews on Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Hannibal, Law & Order: SVU and regular contributions throughout the week with reviews and interviews. His goal is to write 500 stories this year. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English and currently works in the world of political polling. He’s the reason there’s so much wrestling on the site and is beyond excited to be a Dad this coming December. Follow him on Twitter: @PopBreakDotCom