By Alex York
Last year, I had the “privilege” of reviewing one of the season’s most talked about films, a Syfy original movie by the name of “Sharknado.” Starring main characters Fin Shepherd and April Wexler, portrayed by Ian Zeiring and Tara Reid, respectively, Sharknado’s soul-rending story about sharks and tornados combining forces and devouring L.A. easily made it one of the absolute worst movies I’ve ever seen. Still, the film managed to be so awful that it transformed from a horror film to a comedy worth the watch for no reason other than to mock everyone remotely involved in its production.
So of course, upon seeing their film reach cult status, Syfy went and made a sequel.
A year after the first, the follow-up to “Sharknado” came to television, so similar to the original that the producers went so far as to name it – brace yourself – “Sharknado 2: The Second One.”
Following in its predecessor’s footsteps, “The Second One” is built around the basic premise of sharks falling from the sky and slaughtering the populations of major American cities – in this case, New York. Ziering and Reid return as Shepherd and Wexler, reconciled exes who achieved nationwide popularity after the publication of Wexler’s book on the events that took place in Los Angeles. The film picks up with them on their flight to the Big Apple, which gets torn to shreds by airborne sharks minutes after the cameras start rolling. Wexler loses her hand in the chaos (accompanied by a cry of “My hand! My hand!”), while Shepherd somehow manages to land the irreparably damaged airliner on a nearby runway.
From here, the plot proceeds in basically the same way as the original: Shepherd runs around New York murdering sharks and cracking bad jokes at inappropriate times, while various celebrity guest stars are killed by the aquatic menace. These guest stars are my favorite thing about “The Second One.” While the original “Sharknado” had a cast made up of fairly obscure actors, the sequel actually calls in some bigger names as far as D-List actors go. Viewers can expect to see cameos by, among others, Kelly Osbourne, Billy Ray Cyrus, Al Roker and Sandra “Pepa” Denton of hip-hop group Salt’n’Pepa. Still, while seeing Perez Hilton get eaten by one of the aquatic predators is entertaining, nothing can save “The Second One” from the same bad acting and abysmal plot that plagued the original.
Unlike the first, however, “Sharknado 2” doesn’t manage to make anything out of this. While the original was so bad it was good, “The Second One” is just plain bad. Much of the content in the film seems recycled, as it does nothing to set itself apart from the original. The characters follow the same plan as in the first, in which they play MacGyver and use improvised incendiaries to stop the wrath of nature itself. Shepherd once again wields a chainsaw and splits a flying shark in half just as in the original. The film even goes so far as to crush a guest star with part of a landmark, only this time around, “Shark Tank” mainstay Daymond John falls victim to Lady Liberty’s head in place of Robbie Rist of “The Brady Bunch,” who died at the hands of the Hollywood sign. While the producers tried to incorporate new elements into the sequel (such as three tornados as opposed to two and sharks that catch on fire after a certain turn of events), nothing actually makes “The Second One” stand out from the original.
As it turns out, I went into “Sharknado 2” expecting far too much. I expected it to be on the same level as its predecessor, whose overdramatic narrative, bad acting and corny one-liners made the otherwise dreadful experience fun. In the end, I got far less than I bargained for. The humor wasn’t quite there as it was in the original and most content simply felt like a rehash of the first movie. Ultimately, all of the negative factors combined make “Sharknado 2: The Second One,” a movie about the least mundane idea possible, boring. The first film set up a series with a lot of potential – or lack thereof – that I hate to see go to waste. Unfortunately, however, it seems that the budding “Sharknado” franchise has already jumped the shark.
…Which makes 2015’s “Sharknado 3” all the more terrifying.