Sharknado 2: The Second One (2014) – A Review

Sharknado 2 The Second One Ian Ziering chainsaw shark
Sharknado 2: The Second One

Surfer turned Sharknado survivor and hero Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering) is arriving in New York with wife April Wexler (Tara Reid). Fin’s shark-killing exploits have made him famous and April’s new book, ‘How To Survive A Sharknado’ is a best seller. They’re both looking forward to working on rekindling the romance in their marriage, spend some time with Fin’s sister Ellen Brody (Kari Wuhrer) and maybe smooth out some tension between Fin and brother-in-law Martin Brody (Mark McGrath).

However, the weather takes a turn for the worse and those blasted shark-filled-tornadoes are back and once again ready to bite and devour anyone that they can sink their teeth into.

It’s Sharknado 2: The Second One.

Just like the original, it’s a bad movie. There’s not much more to say. It’s bad, it wants to be bad and it succeeds in spades.

However, movie fans know that the surreal off-shoot of a bad movie is being ‘a movie so bad it’s good’. It’s a schlocky film genre that has as much of a devoted audience as any other. Film companies, filmmakers and the Syfy Channel gladly feed that niche audience. Hey, it might not be a huge demographic, but they’re as loyal as any Star Wars, superhero or Harry Potter fan!

Sharknado 2 The Second One sharks in New York City

I thought the original Sharknado was goofy fun. It was odd how it got so much attention and became this quasi-popular movie last summer. Everyone had fun tweeting about how bad it was, feeling like they were the only ones who stumbled onto this strange movie and just got a kick out of it.

I viewed the Sharknado-craze as a novelty and nothing more. It had a funny-sounding name and had a wacked out premise, but it was on the same level as other b-movies Syfy would show on a regular basis, like Swamp Shark, Sharktopus or my favorite Piranhaconda.

Somehow Sharknado caught on and a sequel has arrived. Now that small niche audience who normally would have been the only ones watching this Asylum production expanded to just about everyone! And I have to say that it’s about the same quality as number one, however it’s not anywhere near as much fun as the first.

Sharknado 2 The Second One Ian Ziering Tara Reid
Reid and Ziering flight is about to run into trouble

I honestly couldn’t figure out why I was so bored by The Second One compared to the original. It’s not the quality – that’s completely moot. It’s just as ridiculous, badly shot and acted as number one. And I think I eventually pinpointed it to two things that didn’t get me caught up in it this time around: the film tried to get too cutesy for its own good and it has nothing new to offer up on its premise.

It starts with a bang with Fin and April onboard a plane heading to New York when a sharknado hits. The plane is in trouble, doors are coming off, the pilots are eaten (the best cameo in the movie is of Robert Hays as the doomed captain), Reid is hanging on for dear life as her hand is bitten off, Fin makes a dash to the cockpit and manages to land the plane.

In any other movie this would have been a dream sequence.

From there on out not much happens. There’s very boring characters, a lot of running around, countless cameos and not a whole lot of fun shark action.

We have the separated family members all trying to reconcile together before the storm hits the city. Fin runs to Citi Field to get McGrath and his son out of harms way. His former flame Skye (Vivica A. Fox) accompanies them as the big crowd runs for their lives as the sharknado hits the ballpark.

Crowd scenes consist of – at the most thirty people. This not surprisingly leads to a subway encounter with sharks. Probably the best cheesy shark attack scene of the movie – and really it’s not much.

Kari Wuhrer Sharknado 2 The Second One
Wuhrer and daughter run and run and run

Meanwhile, Wuhrer is at the Statue of Liberty when sharks start filling the sea. She, her daughter and pals get into longwinded, boring running scenes as they make it back to Manhattan. The most memorable moment of Wuhrer’s participation in this is her running from the Statue of Liberty’s severed head rolling down several city blocks. The thing just doesn’t stop! I think it might have been running on batteries.

Actually I was looking forward to seeing Wuhrer in this. I have always had a crush on her from way back in the days of Remote Control (if you don’t know what that is just forget it). Sadly, she is completely wasted in this and doesn’t have anything to do other than just run around in circles.

She does this overly ‘friendly palling around with her daughter-thing’ too. It’s like she just can’t help herself showing off how much she loves her daughter so much and they have such a great, awesome relationship. She constantly has to hug her and kiss her and stuff. Maybe they told her she was playing ‘a loving and protective Mom’ so she just went with that motivation and dialed it up to eleven.

Mark McGrath Ian Ziering Sharknado 2 The Second One New York scene
Our heroes getting to higher ground in the flooding street –
it’s flooding with water, just take their word for it

Meanwhile, we have Fin and his group riding around NY trying to get weapons as the smaller sharknados are gearing up to merge into one really big one. It gets awfully tedious, there’s really no funny moments or close-call shark attacks. They just drive around in Judd Hirsch’s taxicab (Hirsch is the John Heard in this movie) and Fin and Martin begin patching up their fractured friendship, which we really don’t care about.

There’s attempted shark attack tension in the street flooding scene with everyone having to swing to safety from the cab that’s now surrounded by water. It’s basically a revamp of the scene from the first one when Fin had to rappel down to save a busload of kids. So immediately I felt like ‘been here seen this before!’ And this time it’s not as funny anyway.

The funniest thing about that scene is how returning director Anthony C. Ferrante tries to convincingly stage it when it’s so painfully obvious there’s no flooded street. There’s no wide-shot establishing where this dry ground is that they’re swinging to, we don’t even know what Fin attaches his rope to. I guess it’s some kind of street lamp….or maybe it’s just a random pipe sticking out of a building for some reason.

You usually can’t criticize that kind of stuff. It just goes with the territory of a bad movie. But it’s so painfully stupid, it’s like they’re not even trying to sell the scene and at least attempt to make it the least bit convincing.

The climactic ending is attempting to put an end to the sharknado by throwing bombs in it – this time from the Empire State Building. I don’t know the science of it all, but somehow it works – exactly like it did in the first movie.

In the original the killer, most-talked about moment was Fin getting swallowed by a flying shark and chainsawing his way through it. This happens again and during the climax the movie tries to up the ludicrousness by having him ride a shark through the air. It didn’t really do much for me.

Sharknado 2 The Second one movie cast actors
The cast of Sharknado 2 –
being featured in a story in GQ no less!

The Second One didn’t seem to have as much gory shark biting compared to the first one and not as many close encounters with nasty biting fishies. I wouldn’t be surprised if they consciously tried to tone things down a bit knowing this was going to be a big watched movie event by a wider audience than the typical Asylum production.

So maybe they reeled back the blood and loss of limbs or something. I also noticed not a heck of a lot of shark puppets. They didn’t look good in the first, but at least they tried to give the illusion of characters being up close to some sharks now and then. Here’s it’s all mainly bad CGI.

The whole idea of a NY sharknado might have sounded cool, but it’s harder to pull off than a California one. There’s some shots of the cast actually at some of the NY locations trading dialogue.

I remember reading when they were running around the city shooting some scenes. I think that’s why they make this NY sharknado be cold and have it snow a bit.

We had a cold winter this past year and they had to come up with an explanation as to why we see the actors breath and there’s snow on the ground. So they creatively get around that problem by just saying ‘this is a cold sharknado’.

But when the ‘big action’ unfolds you can instantly tell they’re not really in Times Square or Citi Field or driving through NY. And that became so distracting to me. At least in the first one they knew their limitations and kept the settings somewhat generic. This scene is going to be on a beach, in a flooding house, at an airport right next door to a retirement home (I’m sure there are some out there).

Here it’s like they were aiming too high. The cast are running around from this dangerous weather system that only they seem to be aware of it. New Yorkers are just going about their day in the background, probably completely unaware that they just made an appearance in a movie and should have looked like they were running for their lives.

Plus, the premise of a NY sharknado doesn’t deliver on any memorable shark attacks in the big apple. It’s like they came up with that ‘Sharknado in NY’ idea, wanted to rush it out as fast as possible, but didn’t dream up any new scenarios or variety of kills for it.

Ok, the subway stuff. I’ll give it that one, but there’s really nothing else that different from the stuff we saw in the first movie. And the attempt at humor here is nowhere near as funny as the unintentional humor in the first one.

The characters are unbelievably boring! Other than Ziering, who really seems to be relishing all the exposure he’s gotten from playing the hero from these loopy movies, everyone else is incredibly forgettable. I’m sure they had a ton of fun filming this, but that fun just didn’t carry over to me while watching it.

Cassie Scerbo Sharknado sexy hot bikini
Cassie Scerbo – she was missed

I said this when I reviewed the first Sharknado – that if they didn’t get Cassie Scerbo back for the sequel I would be disappointed. So I’m disappointed.

Not only was Scerbo some appealing eye-candy, she was a spunky, shark-hating character that this movie really could have used to spice things up in these groups. I think Scerbo’s participation in this would have been worth all the cameos they were able to cram in here.

And speaking of cameos, am I the only one who got sick of seeing Matt Lauer and Al Roker in this??? Man, they just kept cutting back to these two so much it got annoying. It’s like they got them to do this, filmed them for an hour and used every second of footage they had of them! Yeah, sure they were helping with the sharknado exposition and explaining what was happening, but damn. I got so tired of them. They really drove that joke into the ground.

I’m not going to try to persuade or dissuade anyone from watching this. If you watched the first one you should know what to expect from The Second One and maybe it will deliver just what you’re hoping to see and you’ll find it just as badly entertaining. For me it wasn’t.

There’s a few amusing cheesy lines and the opening plane scene is kind of funny, but this time around I didn’t get infected with the fun of it all like apparently so many others have been.

Sharknado product placement Subway Jared

That’s one strange thing, since Sharknado has become so popular and you hear so many people talking about it and wanting to appear in it, even if they’re D-List celebs, it’s no longer the anonymous B-movie that’s meant to be targeting that small niche audience anymore.

I don’t know what it is. It’s almost like a fad that everyone is fueling. It kinda kills the novelty of an awful movie when everyone wants to get in on the joke. Crappy B-movies typically don’t have product placement deals with Subway.

I wonder if any of the tweet-happy Sharknado-viewers expanded their horizons and tuned in for any of the other schlocky shark movies Syfy has been running in marathons alongside Sharknado 2. I’m betting not that many. They probably just watched this since it was getting so much attention, they wanted to tweet and laugh about it with everyone else and would never even consider to tune into Ghost Shark. I don’t think Sharknado has converted many to be real lifelong bad movie fans.

The Sharknado fad is one of those cultural moments we’re experiencing that twenty years from now when they’re making the documentary series ‘I Love the 2010’s’ people are going to stop and reflect on how Sharknado was popular for awhile and got people all excited. They’ll most likely say

they have no idea what that was about.

Tara Reid Ian Ziering Sharknado 2 The Second One horror Syfy movie
Our heroes looking defeated

So Sharknado 2: The Second One was a big success, it got a lot of tweets and all that social media attention. It’s going to be released to movie screens (no idea who would want to venture out and pay to see this, but it’s available to them) and of course Sharknado 3 has been announced. I guess this will become an annual summer thing.

Everyone is just having such a ball and acting all zany coming up with the most outlandish ideas for what would happen in a third one. So I’ll give you my idea just for no reason.

This is actually something that grew out of a scene in this flick. They’re in a building and the lobby is filling up with water with sharks. Our heroes are running up the stairs as the water is rising, when someone says something like, “this building is going to be fill up like a fishtank” and someone else replies, “one with sharks in it”.

There’s your sequel.

Sharknado 3 Ian Ziering movie poster sequel series franchise

Make it a Towering Inferno/Die Hard/Poseidon Adventure/Sharknado-hybrid. Fin is visiting some city, goes into a high-rise for some inexplicable reason. Uh oh, a sharknado hits. The building begins flooding from the bottom filling it with sharks. Floor by floor the sharks are making their way up to Fin and a pack of dumbass survivors. Just imagine what kind of clichéd characters you could throw in there with him – a security guard, a chambermaid, a rich snob, a sexy bartender.

Well, they’ll just escape from the roof. Uh oh. Apparently the top floor is filled with piranha, for some baffling reason. Maybe it’s some secret lab or a gangster’s pet aquarium. It really doesn’t matter – there’s piranha up there.

The broken water tower on top is creating a waterfall pouring into the building allowing the nasty piranha to head closer and closer to our trapped heroes! Oh and they can’t break any windows because they’re super-strong or there was a design error by the architect or something. Yeah, he could be trapped in there with them! Whatever will they do?

Sharks and piranhas start popping out of elevators, ventilation shafts, water fountains, vending machines, all the while our rag-tag group of survivors are being picked off one-by-one as the building comes closer to being that giant fishtank. Now Fin gets to act all John McClane taking them out. What do you think? Sounds like some preposterous fun right!

At least it could have some new things going on in it than this second one. Just make sure they get Cassie Scerbo back for it though.


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2 Responses

  1. Nick_H says:

    The days of William Castle and Troma movies were about making B movie schlock aimed at a niche audience and were to be discovered either at graveyard shift showings at cinemas or else found in a video store. My problem with Sharknado, Pirahnaconda, Snakes on a Plane and the like is that they're so self-knowing, and revelling in it. Stuff like this shouldn't strut around going "me, me look at me, I'm a so bad it's good movie, aren't I wonderful" all to an A list promotion campaign.

  2. jack ryan says:

    I was actually more angry than bored with this "film". And let's be honest here. This is not a movie. It's a Stunt. The fact that this "sci-fi movie" received funding and other more worthy, smart & true sci-fi stories do not, just really makes me mad.

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