WARNING! Rather long post happening here!
Welcome to Shark Week here on my bad movies reviews. Seriously, have you seen the number of
We’re going to start with the Sharknado phenomenon. And the first one truly was a phenomenon. Television networks synchronized their settings so the first Sharknado movie aired simultaneously around the globe. It was awesome!
So here’s the story: A freak tornado filled with sharks hits Los Angeles and Fin (played by Ian Ziering) can only stand by - not exactly helpless, he has to fight off a bunch of these sharks - and watch as his beach-side bar is destroyed. When Los Angeles begins to flood, with sharks as well as water, he and his friends make their way to his ex-wife’s (April) house to save her and their daughter Claudia. There’s a lot of sharks, a lot of people getting eaten or otherwise losing limbs to said sharks. Fin’s son Matt and Nova, who worked in Fin’s bar, try tossing bombs from a helicopter into the sharknado, and Nova falls out of the helicopter right down a shark’s throat. In the end Fin prevails by bombing the sharknado and the sharks begin to plummet to the ground. At the very end, one open-mouthed shark plummets towards the group of survivors and Fin jumps into its path with a chainsaw, only to cut his way out again with an unconscious Nova in his arms.
Think it sounds pretty bad? Just wait.
Sharknado 2: The Second One, had celebrities clamouring to be part of it. Most of them got eaten by sharks. Despite the fact that this one was even sillier than the first, it was the highest premiering film on the Syfy Channel. This one starts with Fin and his no longer estranged wife April on a plane headed for New York to promote her book about surviving a sharknado. The plane flies through a storm and is bombarded by sharks, losing its engines, the two pilots, and many of the passengers in the process. Fin manages to land the plane, although April’s hand is bitten off by a shark. And still, no one takes Fin’s warning seriously about the impending disaster.
Lots of sharks, lots of people getting eaten, lots of running and screaming. Throwing bombs into the sharknados (there were three of them) from the top of the Empire State Building wasn’t working because it was too cold. The plan is to detonate a tank of Freon gas on the top of the building, connecting it to a lightning rod, and freezing the storm. Fin makes an impassioned speech to the crowd below to rally them into fighting the falling sharks with whatever they can. You know, like the chainsaw April is now sporting from her stump.
Fin’s old friend Skye ends up sacrificing herself to make the connection from the lightning rod to the Freon, the tank explodes, Fin is thrown into the sharknado and grabs onto a great white shark using chains to steer it as he rides it down onto the building’s antennae. April is waiting for him on the roof and they find her severed arm in one of the sharks. Fin takes the wedding ring from her defunct hand and proposes marriage. She accepts. All together now, awwww.
And yet, as silly as this movie was, it gets even sillier!
Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! begins with a kind of James Bondesque sequence with Fin racing through traffic and jumping over obstacles to get to the White House to receive a medal from the president. Bam! They’re slammed by a sharknado and Fin and the president work side by side to fight them off. Meanwhile, a very pregnant April and her mother (played by Bo Derek) are at the Universal theme park in Orlando with Claudia, who goes off on her own with some friends.
There are sharknados springing up all over the place and as Fin makes his way back to his family, he meets up with his old friend Nova, who’s become some sort of sharknado tracker aficionado. In one of the cheesiest scenes to date, her partner sacrifices himself - losing first a leg, then the opposite arm, then the other leg, then the other arm - finally sending a pulse into the current sharknado using his nose to hit the button. Yeah.
Reunited with his family again, they realize that all these storms could combine, creating a massive sharkicane, taking out the entire east coast. Fin reluctantly calls in a favour from his father Gil (David Hasselhoff), a former NASA colonel. The idea is to destroy the sharknados from space using a laser weapon. The plan works, but David Hasselhoff is left floating in space, and as the shuttle falls back to earth it’s attacked by sharks - Fin is swallowed by one, April by another (um, she somehow ended up on the shuttle too and they just happened to have a maternity space suit for her).
Fin’s shark hits the beach and he uses his laser chain-saw to cut his way out. Then he hears the faint sound of a chainsaw from another shark and a hole opens up in its side, and April hands him his newborn son. Not only does one have to wonder how she gave birth inside a shark, one also has to wonder how her clothes shrank to fit her pre-baby looking figure again (never mind the whole giving birth through her clothing thing, and where did her space suit go?). We have a final glimpse of David Hasselhoff standing on the moon in his space suit, saluting. And as Fin salutes back (almost as though he could see him), April bends down to pick up something from the beach and a piece of the shuttle comes hurtling down towards her. Seriously, that’s where it ends.
Each movie gets progressively, um, sillier. The sharknados get bigger, and more celebrities beg for cameos! The list of cameos for number three is even longer than number two. You see Will Wheaton (with his real life wife apparently) get eaten on the plane. Judd Hirsch (remember him in Taxi?) plays a taxi driver in New York. Robert Hays (from the Airplane movies) plays a pilot. A myriad of newspeople/talk show hosts play themselves - Al Roker, Kathie Lee Gifford, Natalie Moralies, Elvis Duran, and Matt Lauer, to name but a few.
One of the best features is the way Ian Ziering (Fin) and Tara Reid (Fin’s wife), take their roles so seriously. That shows amazing self-control to deliver some of those lines so dead pan. The other great thing about these movies is that they waste no time getting right down to the action. None of this coy glimpses of the monster for this franchise, these sharks are there, bam! Right in your face.
Come back next week when I review Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens. I can’t wait to see how they get David Hasselhoff down from the moon!