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Just when you thought it was safe to go back outdoors, the streets of America are once again swimming with toothy predators in The Asylum’s DTV creature-feature Sharknado 2: The Second One (2014). After the cult success of the original film, largely based on its ridiculous title and poster, this follow-up shifts the action from L.A. to New York. If sequels are supposed to go bigger then this certainly abides by the rules – from the opening aerial set-piece it’s a dumb, ludicrous and hilarious thrill ride. Ian Ziering returns as the serendipitously-christened, Fin, the earnest saviour of the shark-infested Los Angeles whose hero status weighs heavily.
Even as he and reunited ex-wife, April (Tara Reid), head to New York for a book signing he can’t shake the visions of his beady-eyed nemeses out on the wing. Of course, that’s no vision and soon Fin is racing around the Big Apple, once again attempting to keep his family safe, and the world shark-free. There is a moment, around two thirds of the way through, that seems to encapsulate the entire film – both good and bad. Fin is stranded on top of a submerged New York cab with no apparent route to safety; the surrounding flood water is overflowing with badly rendered Hammerheads and Great Whites. In a move that outdoes even his rappelling episode in the original film, Fin leaps from the vehicle and uses the heads of sharks as stepping stones to refuge. It is simultaneously awful, ridiculous and undeniably hilarious.
When he reaches the other side, his BFF Martin (Mark McGrath) confirms that Fin just “jumped the shark”. Nudge, nudge. Wink, Wink. Chock full of cameos both bizarre (Kelly Osbourne as an air stewardess) and inspired (Taxi’s Judd Hirsch drives the cab, Airplane’s Robert Hays flies the jet) it is clear everyone is having a hoot. Ziering still manages to bear the burden of playing things entirely straight which is the only thing that keeps proceedings above water. Like its predecessor, Sharknado 2 is objectively terrible but admittedly Thunder Levin’s script is knowingly bad and is still preposterous fun. Television weather man Al Roker is even on hand to try to make the toothy water-spouts sound convincing. It remains hard to recommend, but fans of the first film shouldn’t find themselves disappointed. Oh yeah, and Tara Reid replaces her hand with a buzz saw.
Ben Nicholson | @BRNicholson