Sharknado 2: The Second One
Anthony C. Ferrante
Ian Ziering as Fin
Tara Reid as April
Vivica A. Fox as Skye
Sigh. And it’s not the kind of sigh you might expect (or maybe it is). I was very concerned that going into this viewing, that I might not be able to sort out the intricacies and important details of the first film’s plot. After all, I gave the first 20 minutes of the original Sharknado a fair chance, before simply giving up. So I was certain I was going to be lost as I sat down to take a gander at Sharknado 2. But I was able to catch up pretty quickly. In the original, Ian Ziering’s Fin saved the day in Los Angeles and was eaten by a Great White Shark, but managed to survive. And now in the sequel, several major storms, including a few sharknadoes are converging on New York City, just as our characters are arriving for a book signing which tells the tale of their first sharknado experience.
It’s not that I don’t get the joke. It’s supposed to be crap. It is crap. And there are some truly funny bits in there, and then there’s the rest which falls flat in every way.
A big problem with the film is not the bad acting – where it’s intended. The majority of the actors seemed to have a firm grasp on the fact that this was all a big joke, and you could tell that in their performances. But I have to point out the wooden (we’re talking Redwood levels here) acting of Tara Reid. It’s pretty darn bad (and difficult to watch) when you’re supposed to be sort of acting poorly based on the project you’re in, and you can’t even pull that off. You’ve heard the saying that acting is reacting? Think of it this way. 98% of the time, there were no storms, no sharks and certainly no sharknadoes in front of these actors. Reid can’t react properly or with any skill to the actors who she is physically playing off of. How is she going to make it work with a green screen? It was painful. Thankfully, she didn’t have much screen time. And God help us all when she turns into an “Ash” wannabe from Evil Dead 2. Sigh.
Ian Ziering on the other hand, gets it. It’s not a great performance, but he makes the effort. He knows it’s supposed to be cheesy and goes with it. It’s also a joy to see him and his Chippendales’ fit 50 year old body running and jumping and chainsaw-ing his way through Manhattan.
In a sea (pardon me) full of mostly B celebrities (a few even lower grade than that), there were higher profile gets for the filmmakers with the likes of Matt Lauer, Al Roker and Kelly Ripa. They all seemed game for such wackiness, and the frequent Today Show updates from Roker and Lauer were easily the highlight of the film. They went all out and it paid off. Other notable celebs: Wil Wheaton, Robert Hayes (in a pseudo-reprise of his Airplane character), Shark Tank’s Daymond John (a nice touch), Perez Hilton, Robert Klein, Andy Dick, Kelly Osbourne… and well, you get the point. It became a fun game as the film went on to see who would show up in the next cameo.
And I have to ask. How many of these celebs were actually anxious to be a part of the Sharknadophenomenon, and how many of them fired their agents upon wrapping their portion of the shoot?
But I will give kudos to veteran actor Judd Hirsch. He shows up as a seasoned and loyal cabbie named Ben. He also gets it. And even with the “dialogue” he’s given, and this film which he’s a part of, he still manages to sell it, proving the old adage, “there are no small roles, just small actors.” He makes the most of this mess and for that, I rank him as my favorite. There. That’s one good thing.
It’s clear that the film was actually shot in New York (at least most of it). And it’s admirable that they did so, rather than some backlot in Los Angeles. The issue with this choice, is that in the midst of all this supposed chaos, with Mark McGrath (apparently fresh off his classes at the Mark Wahlberg School of Acting) and Kari Wuhrer (God bless her, she is trying) breathlessly running in the city streets, is that all of your real-life pedestrians in the background are casually shopping and strolling as our lead actors are sweating and screaming and the city is meant to be falling apart. Perhaps that is part of the charm the filmmakers were going for, but even a movie as ridiculous as this could go for just that tiny extra nugget of realism. What am I saying? It’s Sharknado 2!
I absolutely had to laugh at the climax atop the Empire State Building. The rigging of the big “how do we beat the sharknado?” idea (something to do with freon) by Vivica A. Fox (how the mighty have fallen) and Ziering is outrageously bad, even by Sharknado standards. “Here, let me tie this wire to this exposed wire and voila!” And speaking of the climax, the score was so obviously trying to help up the suspense ante, as what was happening on screen and in the story couldn’t complete the job. The score was the little engine that could. “I think I can, I think I can.”
I know this should all be in good fun, and perhaps I’m making too much of this. I found the humor, I truly did, but my days of watching crap for the sake of watching crap are long over. It gets harder and harder to set aside time when you know for a fact that it’s not going to be a quality experience. But there is always the matter of your boss assigning you a particular project. Then, like Ian Ziering in this film, you simply go with it.
Sharknado 2 delivers what it promises. Sharks in a tornado. And while there was no promise of a shirtless Ian Ziering, there should have been…and it should have delivered on such a promise. I mean, if I’m going to sit through a mess like this, then I should be given some celeb skin, am I right?
And finally, has this viewing made me hungry for more? Am I looking forward to the inevitable third chapter (in London perhaps?) Will I go back and give the original film one more try? It’s doubtful. But if you’re in the right frame of mind, this could be a good time.