SHARKNADO 2: THE SECOND ONE
Sharknado 2: The Second One is the inevitable sequel. The same players behind the original director Anthony C. Ferrante, writer Thunder Levin and stars Ian Ziering and Tara Reid have all returned (with she at least having made more of an effort to give a performance this time). The Asylum have planted tongues in cheek once again, hoping that the same people will come back for more. This attempting to capture a spontaneously generated phenomenon all over a second time is a risky proposition especially when you are aiming to follow-up a film that audiences flocked to the first time because they saw it as being unintentionally bad.
Sharknado 2 has simply changed venues from Los Angeles to New York City (which at least provides a good deal of running humour about the difficulty of finding hardware and gun stores in Manhattan). The thinking behind the sequel has been to come up with a series of situations into which to throw sharks that are as absurd as possible. Thus we get sharks in an airplane; sharks inside a tv studio; sharks climbing a stairwell; sharks invading the subway and a train carriage; Kari Wuhrer subduing a shark with a taser; Ian Ziering making an escape from a shark-surrounded cab in a flooded street by jumping to safety across the backs of sharks, which earns a muttered comment about he having jumped the shark even scenes where the Statue of Libertys head is turned into a giant bowling ball rolling through the streets.
Unlike the cheerful absurdity of Sharknado and its entirely spontaneously generated phenomenon, there is the feel of the sequel trying to recreate what it thinks made the phenomenon the first time. The result is a little like one of those you had to be there moments that was side-splitting when you are in the midst of it but lacks the same humour when someone tries to retell it to others. Nevertheless, the film finally gets it together for a climax in which Tara Reid gets a buzzsaw attachment for her severed wrist; Ian Ziering dives into the tornado and starts hacking apart sharks with a chainsaw while flying through the air; people in the streets wielding improvised weaponry against sharks; and finally a shark is impaled on a tower, before the prize schlock moment where Ian Ziering reaches into the dead sharks gullet and retrieves Tara Reids severed hand, prizes off the wedding ring and goes down on his hands and knees to propose to her again.
Sharknado 2 has also become a vehicle for a bunch of celebrities to climb aboard and show they are in on the joke cameos include everybody from Perez Hilton, Kelly Osbourne, Andy Dick, Daymond John, Richard Kind, Wil Wheaton, wrestler Kurt Angle, Billy Ray Cyrus as a doctor and Downtown Julie Brown as a nurse, several real newsreaders and weather people, even Jared Fogle, the guy who appeared in the Subway ads (who naturally turns up in the subway scenes). In other words, a bunch of people whose only real fame is the fact that they are famous. This brings Sharknado 2 close to being the sort of joke that the wannabes who turn up at all the trendy parties play by nodding and winking to show how cool they are by being in on the joke. This transports Sharknado 2 from the realm of a goofily absurd film (as the original was) to a joke that comes fully aware of how ridiculous its audience is regarding it. The sense of a film being too knowingly clever for its own good is bolstered by the fact that the Syfy Channel screening has the screen interrupted by pop-up ads for How to Survive a Sharknado, the very book that Tara Reids character is supposed to have written.