I have a love/hate relationship with The Asylum’s films. Well, just more love/bored. Most of the time The Asylum’s movies are just plain dull and lack the kind of charm and edge that its peers have shown in the past and present. Many people assume films like Sharktopus and Megashark were Asylum creations, but until Sharknado the studio hadn’t actually thrown its hat into those predator-infested waters. Imagine my surprise when Sharknado not only turned out to be brilliant, but also the best of the current ‘monster shark’ movies.
It was a huge hit, adored for its brilliant campness and total B-movie havoc. If you had to have a drinking contest around every time the movie made a plothole or completely offended your suspension of disbelief, you’d be hospitalised before the second act. It was stupid. But this is The Asylum. It knows Sharknado is a stupid film and that’s why Sharknado does it right. The only question is: would you like a round two?
Sharknado 2: The Second One is basically Sharknado in New York, but with more sharks, more extreme weather and a lot more deaths. Our hero Fin Shepard is headed to New York for something or another. A book tour, I think. He’s written a book about his experiences in Los Angeles and is regarded a hero for saving everyone’s asses. Now he’s in the Big Apple and, what do you know, there’s a whole lot of sharks and some nasty weather coming.
Sharknado sorta kinda explained where the whole sharknado – a tornado of sharks – comes from. In the original the titular weather phenomenon only appears in the third act, which makes sense. Never show your monster early. Of course, in sequels roll the monster out en masse and this time there are two Sharknados tearing through NYC, all threatening to eventually converge into some sort of uber sharknado that no doubt will devour the planet or something. I wasn’t exactly bothered about the subtleties of the plot points.
Nor was Sharknado 2. Sharks, storms, New York. That’s pretty much the setup. But the movie does take a bit more care with characters. This is a drama about as much as you see Samuel L. Jackson in Deep Blue Sea. Still, the plot quickly establishes that other than Fin we have his no-longer-so-estranged ex-wife April travelling with him to New York. In the city they are set to meet Fin’s sister Ellen and her family. Skye, an old flame of Fin’s, also enters the picture. Then sharks start attacking their airliner as it descends towards the city.
Yeah, you read right. Sure, genre fans may have seen something similar in Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus, but Sharknado 2‘s version goes way into the deep end. From there it just throws in the kitchen sink and then starts to stripmine the neighborhood. Sharks on the street. Sharks in the subway. Sharks on top of skyscrapers. There might have been a shark in a toilet, but maybe I missed it. So many sharks. The rest is really either people getting chomped, gags with c-list celebs or Fin’s cohort trying to save the day.
That said, the gags themselves pose an interesting problem. A lot of the cameos are either c-list celebs or TV personalities, so people that are not that well knows to anyone outside of the U.S. and, in some cases, outside of New York. Pop culture references are often distinctly American and that at times makes the film feel obnoxious. Look, the filmmakers knew how to butter their bread: this film was made for an American audience. So it makes sense. But if this kind of thing really rubs you the wrong way, remember to brace yourself.
But that is not enough reason to avoid Sharknado 2. Though it is very self-aware – I suggest watching the first before seeing this – Sharknado 2 is the superior of the two films. And no, the effects are not any better. That would spoil things. There’s just more of it. I’ll just say it: there isn’t a boat big enough.
Last Updated: November 11, 2014