Welcome back to Shark Month here on my bad movie reviews. Yeah, I know I said "week" last week, but I meant month. There are just so many really cheesy shark movies out there, and I've seen them all! ;-)
You know how the Scary Movies included a bunch of references to other movies and basically spoofed them? That’s pretty much what Sharknado 4 did too. So if you’re not up on your pop culture you’re going to miss a lot of the, uh, humour in it.
So ... five years have passed since Sharknado 3. Super rich Aston Reynolds developed a superfast space ship and rescued Gil Shepard (played by David Hasselhoff) from the moon. He also took Nova’s sharknado zapper a few steps further and created something called Astro-X pods that zap sharknados before they’re even fully formed. Fin and his five-year-old son are living on a farm in Kansas (called April’s Acres) with his mother Raye (played by Cheryl Tiegs).
Fin and his niece (? cousin?) Gemini are on their way to Vegas to meet up with Matt, Fin’s son, who’s on leave from the military. This just happens to coincide with the grand opening of Reynolds’ latest venture, Sharkworld, a luxury hotel and casino that features a humongous shark-filled aquarium as one of its walls. Of course a storm develops, this one a sandstorm tornado, and the Astro-X pods are unable to stop it.
Matt and his fiancé get married on the plane and then parachute out of it ... right into the sandnado. Trust me, there are almost as many ‘nados in this movie as there are cameos. And right on cue, here come the sharks, sucked right out of the aquarium wall in Sharkworld. Let the mayhem begin - people running, screaming, being eaten and maimed. The glass wall shatters and Vegas floods. Fortunately, Fin and Gemini are able to use a replica of a pirate ship to rescue Matt and his bride Gabby.
Thank god we have the opening credits at this point because I don’t think I can take any more one liners from Star Wars.
Here’s where it starts to get a bit complicated. Gil and Fin’s daughter Claudia are both working at Astro-X. Gil has been working closely with a scientist named Wilford (played by Gary Busey) on some kind of super-suit. It turns out that Wilford is also April’s father, which we discover when we find out - surprise! - April is still alive. After being hit by the piece of the shuttle at the end of Sharnado 3, April was in a coma for four years. Wilford convinced Fin to pull the plug and then spirited her body away, turning her into some kind of cyborg.
Fin, Gemini, Matt, and Gabby are on a train headed for Kansas when a dust sharknado appears from the desert and everyone has to fight for their lives. Again. The engineer is decapitated by a shark so Fin punches, wrestles, and fights his way through the sharks to the front of the train to save the day as the sharknado moves away to take out Hoover Dam. In an effort to save lives, Reynolds blows up part of the Grand Canyon to stop the ensuing flood. The sharnado picks up the debris from the explosion, turning it into a bouldernado (their word, not mine!).
Fin and his family end up at Reynolds’ headquarters in Arizona, where Reynolds makes a pitch for Fin to be an Astro-X spokesperson and go on TV to tell everyone everything’s going to be okay. When Fin refuses, Reynolds gets a little insulting. Leaving Reynolds behind, Fin’s group somehow ends up in a small town in Texas where they stop at a store run by Dog the Bounty Hunter and his wife, who sell them chainsaws (best line so far: “It wouldn't be Texas without a chainsaw massacre.”)
The sharknado heads towards the Texas oilfields and becomes an oilnado. Their efforts to stop it cause it to catch fire and, you guessed it, it becomes a firenado. They need something bigger to fight this, and Finn uses a forklift that just happens to be fitted with a large chainsaw. Fin loads up the forklift with fire extinguishers and lets it get sucked up, then blows it up. But instead of stopping it, it sucks in an electrical plant and creates a lightningnado that’s heading straight for Kansas.
Meanwhile, two other sharknados form - one near San Francisco that becomes a hailnado, and one near Yellowstone that becomes a lavanado. April catches the news report and is surprised to hear the newscaster wonder where Fin is. Apparently daddy dearest lied to her - he told her that her family was dead. She immediately rushes off to find Fin.
Meanwhile, Gil and Claudia are fleeing one of the sharknados and are in danger of their car being sucked up into one. April saves their car, not knowing who’s inside, and there’s a tearful family reunion. Gil is also a little ticked at Wilford for keeping the truth from him.
Mayor of Chicago (wearing wicked witch stockings) warns Fin that he’s to blame for the sharknados and he’s not allowed in Chicago. Just over the state line into Kansas, Fin gets a car from an old friend of his - the car’s name is Christine, as in the book by the same name by Stephen King. We see general mayhem caused by the sharknados, many celebrity cameos, many one-liners from a plethora of movies. They reach April’s Acres just ahead of the sharknado.
Raye and little Gil made it to the storm cellar. A herd of cows gets sucked into the sharknado amid many Twister references and it becomes a cownado. Fin’s group not only has to battle the sharks, but the winds too. Matt’s wife gets her arm bitten off and then a shark falls on her. Little Gil wants his daddy and leaves the shelter - a lot of crazy holding on while the wind tries to suck them in. Everything is suddenly quiet and Raye leaves the shelter to look at the devastation around her. The storm is over - and that’s the last we see as we break for commercial.
Suddenly, we’re back in the middle of the twister - more screaming and yelling, more trying to hold on, lots of debris. It’s like they messed up the order of things or something. We never do find out what happened to Raye. The other survivors manage to hold on to various parts of the house as it’s sucked up into the wind. Predictably, it lands on the mayor of Chicago and all we see are her striped stocking clad legs sticking out from under it. Even more predictably is the line delivered by little Gil: “Dad, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.”
April, Claudia, and Gil team up with Reynolds who takes them on his private jet for a tearful reunion with the others. Oddly, there’s no mention of Matt’s dearly departed bride, nor does he seem all that upset about her being gone. By making some alterations to the Astro-X pods, Reynolds was able to shut down the lavanado and the hailnado, but can’t stop the lightningnado which hits a nuclear power plant to become, you guessed, a nukenado, filled with radioactive sharks.
He’s going to use a “quantum box” to reverse the flow of water from Niagara Falls so the water will get sucked up into the nukenado, turning it back into a regular sharknado so they can deal with it. Well, the box he had wasn’t powerful enough and he falls into the gorge. Fortunately, there’s a second box so it’s Fin and his family to the rescue.
Gil’s going to put on the super-suit to use the second, more powerful box, but before he can do so, he’s swallowed by a shark. Claudia is also eaten by a shark. Fin gets to the suit and puts it on; Matt puts little Gil into a barrel for safety. Finn activates the quantum box and the water from Niagara is sucked into the nukenado, making it a regular sharknado, but Fin is electrocuted in the process.
Matt gets eaten by a shark. Little Gil goes over the falls in the barrel. Gemini falls into the gorge. April, who can fly and shoot lasers out of her hands, saves little Gil. Fin is swallowed by a shark, which is swallowed by a series of progressively larger sharks until the last one is eaten by a whale that lands in the park at the top of the falls.
Little Gil pulls a chainsaw from a stone and cuts through the whale, then cuts various family members free - Claudia, Matt, big Gil, and finally Fin. Fin’s not breathing. April and Gil try CPR on him to no effect, so they make a defibulator from two small, electrically charged sharks and shock him back to life. Just as the family stands tall and proud that once again they’ve saved the day, the Eiffel Tower comes sailing down to crash into the gorge, the silhouette of Nova (who was mentioned earlier in the film as being on vacation in France) standing on it.
So now that you pretty much know everything that happens in the movie, why should you watch it? Because if you don’t, you’ll never get to see all the wonderful cameos, or see a Chippendales dancer repel a shark with his pelvis, or hear the lines from all the different movies they pay ... tribute to, or witness things like the pair of Baywatch babes who assist Hasselhoff with his suit (which includes some slow motion running). Okay, so you pretty much saw the Chippendales dancer scene in the clip at the beginning, but you didn’t see the sharks descend on a comic-con in Sault Lake City, nor did you see Fin being chased by the world’s largest ball of twine, a la Indiana Jones.
Watch it because in a series of progressively more stupid movies, this one was the best (or maybe that should be the worst). Let me not be the only one who’s tempted to throw popcorn at the screen as they yell out: “Are you kidding me?”
I can’t wait to see how they top this in Sharknado 5!