Sharknado‘s director Anthony C. Ferrante and writer Thunder Levin (No really: THUNDER LEVIN!) know little about how sharks work–and even less about how tornadoes work.
And they couldn’t care less what you think of this.
Because what they DO know is how B-movie audiences work. Sharknado, whatever else it may be, might well be the least pretentious piece of cinema ever made. Let’s face it: No one sits down to a movie called “Shark-Effing-Nado” and expects a masterpiece of the filmmaker’s art. No–we want mindless crap, and SyFy–along with infamous schlock producers The Asylum, are delighted to give it to us.
Nothing’s worse than a crap movie that THINKS it’s profound and artistic….Sure, such delusions can provide amusement for an audience, but in the end they prove more annoying than anything else. I sat down to Sharknado for the same reasons you probably did: To watch has-been actors struggle for relevancy. To see things break and people die in new and increasingly badass and ridiculous ways. And to watch filmmakers tell biology, physics, and meteorology to collectively suck their balls.
This is all I asked of the movie…..And I was not disappointed in the least.
Okay, let’s proceed with something resembling a “review”. I’ll warn you. I’m not going to recap quite the way I would with a “normal” movie or TV show. You’re either the kind of person who will enjoy a movie like Sharknado, or you’re not–and there’s nothing I can say that’ll change that. This is SERIOUSLY a niche market flick–and if you’re not part of that niche, you will NOT like Sharknado.
Ergo, I’m going to assume that you’re among those who would dig a movie like this, and therefore finer details of plot and characterization are largely unimportant. Why insult anyone’s intelligence by pretending there’s a point beyond watching shark-infested twisters tear hell through downtown L.A.?
The folks above are the main characters (minus Tara Reid). They’re denizens of a skeevy seaside bar run by Fin: Sharknado‘s noble hero–a former surfing champion played by Ian Ziering (the blonde guy from Beverly Hills, 90210–bottom right).
From left to right is some Australian guy–whose job in the film is to serve as Fin’s sidekick, and to NEVER let the audience forget that he’s Australian. Honestly, I have no idea who plays him…seriously, I looked up the film on IMDB, and I can’t for the life of me figure out who he is on the cast…He’s just that forgettable.
Then there’s Cassie Scerbo as Nova (feel free to roll your eyes–I know I did). She’s Sharknado‘s resident eye candy and barmaid. She has a mildly unsettling crush on Fin (who’s like twice her age), and a shark bite on her thigh that she refuses to talk about–yet she never wears anything except short-shorts and bikini bottoms…you’d think someone who didn’t want to discuss the enormous scar on her leg MIGHT wear longer pants, but Hell, I’m no screenwriter….
(and yes, she explains the bite in a delightfully predictable “sincere moment” near the movie’s climax)
And finally, there’s Sharknado‘s prerequisite “Embarrassed Actor”, John Heard (all B-pictures MUST have that one actor or actress who wouldn’t have played a cadaver in a film like this twenty years ago). Heard plays local alcoholic/sexual predator George. His job is to be charmingly inebriated, and to paw drunkenly at Cassie Scerbo.
Heard actually pulls off being close to likeable, despite repeatedly attempting to molest Scerbo. He has the honor of being the film’s first major character to be eaten–right after he rescues a puppy from a locked car by breaking the window with his trusty barstool (yes, you read that correctly).
I suppose I should add a quick run-down of how this whole tornado/shark dealie came to be in the first place….Well, first the coast got hit with a big-ass hurricane–flooding the beaches and coastline and pushing the sharks inland (and they seemed both comfortable, and still quite effective out of the water). Once they made it into the city and the nearby desert, the screwy weather caused by the hurricane caused tornadoes, which the sharks were happy to hitch rides on….Ergo: Sharknado!
Are we all on the same page now? Swell!
Continuing, above we see Fin’s estranged ex-wife, played by Leatherface–er, Tara Reid.
Honestly, Miss Reid is not aging gracefully I fear. In some shots, it looks as though her plastic surgeon used sausage casing in her last facelift. I’d give her a pass on this, if she could emote her way out of a paper bag, or if she played even a remotely likeable character. There’s no good explanation why she left Fin except that she’s an obnoxious shrew.
The first thing Fin and his bar buddies do when the shark assault begins is go find his ex, and rescue her and his daughter. There’s another guy there who tries to have a dick-measuring contest with Fin–but he gets ate really quick…in fact, he was eaten immediately after my rommate said “I hope this guy gets eaten!” TRUE STORY!
And from that moment on, all Tara does is complain about Fin–like when he stops to rescue a school bus filled with kids. She just bitches about how they need to save themselves and they don’t have time for senseless heroics….
Gee, don’t you gals HATE it when men are noble, brave, and heroic?
Fin’s daughter comes along for the ride, but her only job seems to be hating her dad, and wishing she were as pretty as Cassie Scerbo:
(ABOVE: NOT Fin’s daughter)
They also pick up Fin’s son later…his job is to serve as Cassie’s love-interest, thus ending her creepy fixation on Fin, AND freeing him up to inevitably get back together with his horrible, jerky-skinned bitch of an ex-wife.
The “Sharknadoes” themselves take their sweet time showing up–but believe me, the wait is worth it:
In the climax, Fin’s brood, Cassie, Aussie Man, and probably some other nameless characters I’m forgetting mount an assault on the sharknadoes. Cassie and Fin Jr. fly a helicopter over the twisters–and drop bombs made by Aussie Man (I think) into their centers.
Why? Because BAD ASS, that’s why!
According to Sharknadology, dropping a bomb into a tornado will disperse it–IF the blast is precisely the right size, timed perfectly, and goes of exactly where it needs to.
Once the sharks no longer have the benefit of tornadoes to ride, they prove fairly easy to dispatch.
I’ll save the ultimate climax for those of you who haven’t seen the film yet–and you WILL have another chance.
In summary, Sharknado will NOT be “all things to all viewers”. Probably 90% of typical audiences will hate it–and there’s no real reason why they shouldn’t: It is not a good movie.
IF, however, you go into it understanding exactly what lies in store for you–if you WANT an absurd piece of hackneyed, ultraviolent trash–then I guarantee you will have the time of your life. Sharknado is one of the most enjoyable films of its kind I’ve watched in years, and I look forward to seeing it again.