Anthony C. Ferrante
Ian Ziering - Fin Shepard
Tara Reid - April Wexler
Vivica A. Fox - Skye
Mark McGrath - Martin Brody
Kari Wuhrer - Ellen Brody
Judd Hirsch - Ben
Courtney Baxter - Mora Brody
Dante Palminteri - Vaughn Brody
Judah Friedlander - Bryan
Genre - Horror/Science Fiction/B-Movie/Bad Animals/Sharks
Running Time - 90 Minutes
Fin (Ian Ziering) and ex-wife April (Tara Reid) are on a plane heading to NYC for a book signing. You see, April wrote a book - "How To Survive A Sharknado" - making her and Fin celebrities. Unfortunately, another Sharknado hits during the flight, creating chaos. It seems a series of shark storms are heading to the Big Apple to continue the rampage they did back in Los Angeles - and Fin must protect his family and friends from a bigger, and more sillier, threat.
Screenplay - 2013's SHARKNADO, produced by The Asylum, was one of the biggest surprises of last Summer. While it wasn't a ratings bonanza, it took over social media and became a phenomenon within the world of pop culture. It became The Asylum's most successful film, meaning a sequel was no doubt rushed into production. Hence, I'm now discussing SHARKNADO 2: THE SECOND ONE.
And by God, this shit storm was absolutely glorious.
SHARKNADO 2 does what a sequel is meant to do - continue the story while creating bigger and badder scenarios for our characters to conquer. While the first film took its time building into the Sharknado madness, the sequel wastes no time getting right into the action - building more and more until it's insane and silly finale. And that's all I wanted from SHARKNADO 2 - a more stupid, but also more epic follow up to an already dumb movie.
Just like the last film, the story is really the aspect that no one expects to be good or anything. After all, it's a sequel to a film about a tornado of hungry sharks. Anyone wanting deep character development and fine tuned story arcs has no business watching SHARKNADO 2, or any Asylum film. But I gotta say - the script kinda surprised me in a good way here. It was pretty clever in a tongue-in-cheek, wink at the audience, sort of way. The first film took itself more seriously in a lot of ways, trying to establish itself as a movie. The sequel knows what it is and embraces the phenomenon it has become. Having certain cameos that referenced previous films and television shows was really great. Who didn't smile when Robert Hays was the pilot at the start of the film, commenting that he's used to strange situations in the air? Judd Hirsch driving a taxi cab? All you needed was Danny Devito, Marilu Henner, Christopher Lloyd, Tony Danza, and Andy Kaufman to complete the joke. Plus having Vivica A. Fox swing samurai swords like she stepped off the set of KILL BILL VOL. 1 is just great stuff. I'll get more into the cameos shortly, but I thought they added to the story rather than take away from it.
The best part was the attempt to give Fin a background of sorts, making him grounded within this crazy universe. We learn he's a New Yorker. We learn he has an estranged relationship with his best friend, who happened to marry his sister. Did I mention that their names are Martin and Ellen Brody? We find out he had a relationship with Skye, who still wants Fin. Even April is jealous that she could lose her ex-husband to this woman. While it's not deep or anything, I liked the family element and how Fin wanted to save all of them and the city he loves. It made the guy more likeable to me, wanting him to save the day and get the girl at the end. I did not expect a sequel, especially from The Asylum, to actually fill in blanks for the characters and give them a reason for existing other than food for these sharks. Gotta give the screenwriters a lot of credit for that.
As for the scenarios our characters are placed in, I thought they were a lot of fun. We get a shark attack in a subway tunnel. A Mets game gets interrupted by falling sharks. The Statue of Liberty's head gets knocked off by a Sharknado, leading to devastation CLOVERFIELD was scared to do. We get buzzsaws, chainsaws, guns, flamethrowers, swords, and even lightning rods to stop these sharks. The finale is pretty fucking wild too, more so than the previous installment. Just a lot of creative shit that no sane person would think of on a good day.
Is it the greatest script? Nowhere close. But it manages to continue the story while building upon it, even if a lot of it is totally illogical and ridiculous. But that's what you want from a film called SHARKNADO 2: THE SECOND ONE.
Direction - Anthony C. Ferrante returns to visualize the franchise he created, and I thought he did a great job. I thought the pacing was a lot better than time around, since the film is pretty much action right from the start. I thought he used the NYC location really well, with the sharks infiltrating the subway system, Liberty Island, pizzerias, and etc. The tone is consistent throughout, and the film is funny without forcing it too much. And I thought the CGI looked way better here than it did a year ago. Obviously, a budget was put into this thing and I thought it was handled fine. The picture quality is what it is. If you've seen the last film, it looks similar. Ferrante kept the visual entertainment going and I appreciated that. He could have half-assed it, knowing the film would do really well regardless due to the first film. But he really tried to make a "good" sequel, which is something he should be applauded for.
Acting - Again, SHARKNADO 2 doesn't have the greatest acting in the world. But I thought it was an improvement over the first. Ian Ziering is back as our main hero, Fin. He plays it straight and says some really ridiculous lines of dialogue without a sense of a smile. He's still a badass with a chainsaw and kept the charm from the previous film. Nice to see Steve Sanders kick some ass. Tara Reid is still the worst actress here as April, but I could tell she tried to put in a good performance. She looked really out of it in the first film. But she seemed more aware and had some fun in this one. So that's an upgrade in my opinion. Mark McGrath was fine as Martin Brody, Fin's brother-in-law. He gets to set some sharks on fire and seemed to be enjoying himself. Kari Wuhrer was cool as Ellen Brody, making me wish she was April rather than Tara Reid. Vivica A. Fox was a bad ass as Skye, but I wish her role was larger. Judd Hirsch was funny as Ben, playing up his Taxi character. Judah Friedlander has some decent moments as Bryan.
You thought SHARKNADO was violent? This one takes it up a notch. A lot of sharks biting off heads while torpedoing at them. Chopped off limbs right from the start. A lot of chainsaw violence. We also get some sword play. Gun play is here too. We get a water gun turned into a flamethrower. We get sharks landing on people, killing them. We get explosions, electrocutions, and even flying within the storm and riding the shark down to the ground. Just an insane amount of violent stuff here. The final act alone satisfied the quota here. Too much fun to handle.
The last film took place in a warmer climate. This film takes place during a cooler one, so no bikinis or sexy outfits at all here. Not much to say here.
The title alone, SHARKNADO 2: THE SECOND ONE, is cheesy enough. Hell, the existence of this film fills the spectrum here. A Sharknado in NYC? Insanity!
THE FINAL HOWL