Sharknado 2: The Second One


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Sharknado 2: The Second One
"Beneath the cheesy plot and sometimes unconvincing effects, Sharknado 2 is actually very well made."

For a film sold primarily on the strength of its title, the original Sharknado did astoundingly well, so a sequel was both inevitable and daunting. Could there really be anything new to say about the combination of sharks and weather systems? Were there any more jokes that could be squeezed out of it? Surprisingly, the answer on both counts is yes, and though it suffers from uneven pacing in its first half, Sharknado 2: The Second One is, overall, a stronger film.

Two of the first film's heroes, divorced-but-regretting-it couple Fin (Ian Ziering) and April (Tara Reid), are on their way home to New York when their plane (piloted by Airplane!'s Robert Hays) runs into some rather unusual weather. By the time they get their bearings again in a downtown hospital, the situation is becoming serious on the ground. Fin's sister and her family, separated on a day out, are anxious to find each other again before they get caught in a dangerous storm. Trying to help, our hero bumps into an ex girlfriend (Vivica A Fox) and acquires the aid of a loyal taxi driver (Judd Hirsch) who is a fan of his book about surviving a sharknado. Together they try to make their way across the city as he gradually comes to the conclusion that it will be up to him to save the day.

Ordinarily it would not be possible to make a film on this scale on a budget of around $2.5m, but fan loyalty changed everything for the Sharknado team, with even baseball team the New York Mets letting them use their stadium. The film is stuffed full of celebrity cameos but every one of them fits into the whole rather than acting as a distraction. Similar skill is applied in the inclusion of myriad film references - everything from Star Wars to The Towering Inferno by way of Army Of Darkness, Live And Let Die, Back To The Future and Machete - which contribute to the texture of the film rather than seeming gimmicky. Like all good B-movies, it's a mosaic made from pieces of films past, but putting the pieces together this well requires original talent. It also has quite a few original ideas.

Beneath the cheesy plot and sometimes unconvincing effects, Sharknado 2 is actually very well made. It looks a lot more polished than the original, there's some nice sound work, some of the action sequences are very smoothly (as well as inventively) composed, and the lead actors are all strong enough to make us care about the characters rather than just waiting for the next shark to come along. It could have done without some of the extraneous characters in the first half, but once it picks up pace it doesn't let go.

Sharks may only have so many ways to kill people (though there's a nice moment with a whale shark - a krill feeder - that challenges expectations), but when it comes to humans fighting back, this film pulls out all the stops. Harking back to the earliest B-movies, there's even a pitchfork. The best thing about this film, however, is the media satire it offers, some of the best since the original Robocop. The reason it's so spot on is that it was made by the Today Show team themselves, who clearly became enamoured with the project. The weather reports - noting the way America probably would come to take sharknados in its stride if they actually happened - are a delight. They balance the film's more ludicrous scenes and mean there's much more here to enjoy than just slapstick and gore. Sharknado 2 is a film with genuine bite.

Reviewed on: 29 Oct 2014
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Three potentially deadly sharknados threaten to converge on New York City.
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Director: Anthony C Ferrante

Writer: Thunder Levin

Starring: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Vivica A. Fox, Mark McGrath, Kari Wuhrer, Courtney Baxter, Dante Pakminteri, Judd Hirsch, Stephanie Abrams

Year: 2014

Runtime: 95 minutes

Country: US


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