This is the sequel that no-one wanted, to the film that no-one really wanted in the first place, but somehow took the world by storm (aha…) with its simple, ridiculous concept that requires no explanation beyond the single-word title: Sharknado. I didn’t review Sharknado but beyond capturing the “deliberately terrible” tone pretty well in all of two or three main setpieces it was a movie totally without merit. Production values were non-existent, and it was clearly thrown together without any care to sell purely on concept alone. Writing this out I’m starting to wonder why I just spent another 90 minutes watching the sequel…
Because it is absolutely brilliant.
I could just end the review there to be honest, but I should probably backpedal slightly. It is of course absolutely, unspeakably, painfully awful, but anyone who sees “Syfy presents – The Asylum Productions” on the screen and even for a second thinks “Oh this should be good!” desperately needs electric shock therapy or something. We know that the film will make no sense, that it will be brain-numbingly stupid, and that characters will be at best nonexistent. The film opens with Fin and April, stars of the first movie, flying to New York to promote the book “How To Survive A Sharknado & Other Unnatural Disasters”. In the worst case of bad luck (or perhaps unspeakably bad piloting) the plane flies directly into a tornado which just happens to be teeming with sharks. I noticed quite soon on that the production values were 10 times those of the original, but mathematicians among you will know that 10 x 0 = 0 so that’s perhaps not saying much. The carnage breaks out almost instantly, with no attempt to build up tension or make us care who’s getting chomped by the sharks but it really doesn’t matter because practically every shot is a gory visual gag so there’s plenty to keep you amused. This follows for most of the film; overblown, nonsensical action sequences are never far away & while you can’t always be entirely sure why they break out, you don’t care. It’s sort of like if a load of Christmas presents arrived in the post in mid-July – it’s best not to ask questions, just enjoy it.
Fin & April eventually make it to New York where Fin’s sister’s family live allowing some half-baked family drama & romantic drama with Fin’s ex to give the writers an excuse when they get told off for throwing toy sharks around the office making explosion sounds. We follow our supposed heroes as they stumble around Manhattan failing to save any innocent civilians, failing to drive a truck in a straight line, failing to ride bikes, and generally failing miserably at the everyday obstacles that present themselves, accompanied by a script written almost entirely in one-liners that range from witlessly flat to ‘so stupid that I’d smash my face against a cheese grater to un-hear that line’. Countless celebrity cameos play the people they encounter along their way – or at least so I’m lead to believe because I recognised only a couple of them, they’re easy to spot however because their characters almost always serve no purpose to the plot, and are performed with slightly worse acting than the rest of the cast. Repeated sequences featuring The Today Show among other real-life TV shows actually fit really well, with the presenters of the shows clearly having a great time hamming up the awful scripts (The Weather Channel presenter reports that “sharks will be falling at a rate of 2 inches an hour” without even breaking a smirk). The final setpiece, which I won’t spoil, is possibly the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen but by this point my brain had been pummeled into a weak acceptance, resulting in it seeming at the time like the greatest moment in cinematic history.
This may seem like an incredibly negative review, but such is the impossible-to-comprehend charm of a film like this that every seemingly bad point above somehow works in its favour. It’s undoubtedly much more enjoyable than the first, worryingly managing to pull off a deliberate “so-bad-it’s-good” tone in a way that I’ve not really seen before. Put your brain in the fridge for a couple of hours & you’ll be able to appreciate the true appeal of this film. The third installment has already been promised for this July so it looks like there’s no escaping this particular guilty pleasure / torture (depending on your perspective) just yet.