Sequels, eh? Always got to go bigger and outdo the one before. Of course, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But what if it’s totally, embarrassingly inept, shouldn’t you try and fix it just a tiny little bit? Not if you’re the makers of “Sharknado 2: The Second One”. No, siree. Instead, they demonstrate a breathtaking ability to double-down on the dumb without improving a single aspect of the original.
Yes, that’s right – “Sharknado 2” brings back all your favourites: that girl from the “American Pie” movies and…and, yeah, that guy…from the thing? You know, the thing…? Yeah, he’s back too. And this time they’re off to New York as part of a book tour about the events of the first movie. This time, though, a storm front bafflingly crammed full of sharks already, is bearing down on New York almost before they arrive.
I was frustrated into reviewing the first “Sharknado”, not by the ludicrous premise but by the cheap and inept way the film was put together. Because it ended up being a bit of a smash hit, I kind of hoped they would throw a few more dollars at the sequel to maybe raise the quality just a little bit. If any more money was spent on this thing, the only way it shows up on screen is in the constant parade of gratuitous cameos which litter the script in a desperate attempt to cover up the production’s shortcomings. At least this franchise which unceremoniously jammed the words ‘shark’ and ‘tornado’ together to give us ‘sharknado’ treats us to another gloriously conjoined word: celebricapitation. The B- and C-list stars literally lost their heads to be in this film: hardly anyone manages to make an appearance without a shark chomping their noggin off. There are genuinely too many cameos to mention but when Andy Dick fails to stand out from the crowd, you know you’re dealing with a spectacularly bonkers film. Judd Hirsch (“Taxi”, “Independence Day”) should know better than to stain his legacy with this nonsense though.
The same cheap production problems that plagued the first one are all repeated here. Spectacular set pieces are mentioned (‘the sharknado has devastated the UN building’) but conveniently happen off-screen while ill-fitting plot points are inserted to make up for location filming (an ‘unseasonal cold front’ accounts for some snow on the ground because they were filming in winter). Ropey GCI weather effects fail to disguise the generally bright and dry weather during filming but my favourite thing – and there may be a drinking game in this – is to watch the general public in the background and the wide shots. I know New York is meant to be a tough town, but the calm way the people and traffic go about their business while a wind and tooth apocalypse explodes around them is truly remarkable. I also think while there are more sharks technically visible on screen, you get to see fewer up close for any length of time.
Still completely oblivious to the laws of physics, marine biology and meteorology “Sharknado 2: The Second One” makes the egregious error of referencing films far better than itself and manages to achieve the near-impossible task of making “Jaws: The Revenge” seem taut, gripping and well made. To succeed, this sequel needed to replace novelty with a little more competence. Unfortunately, it lacked both.