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Dustin Putman

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Sharknado 2: The Second One  (2014)
2 Stars
Directed by Anthony C. Ferrante.
Cast: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Vivica A. Fox, Mark McGrath, Kari Wuhrer, Courtney Baxter, Dante Palminteri, Judd Hirsch, Stephanie Abrams, Kurt Angle, Benjy Bronk, Downtown Julie Brown, Billy Ray Cyrus, Judah Friedlander, Andy Dick, Kelly Osbourne, Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Kelly Ripa, Michael Strahan, Tiffany Shepis, Robert Hays, Richard Kind, Robert Martin Klein, Perez Hilton, Jared Fogle, Biz Markie, Raphael Miranda, Wil Wheaton, Anne Wheaton.
2014 – 95 minutes
Not Rated (equivalent of an R for bloody violence and gore).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, October 17, 2014.
The original films from Asylum Entertainment and the Syfy Channel are in no danger of being confused for high art, but their formula—recognizable B-movie celebrities/musicians/former television stars + a villain of the animal or monster variety + a weather event + low-rent but workmanlike effects—consistently draws in flocks of schlock enthusiasts. When "Sharknado" premiered in 2013, it became a social-media sensation and pop-cultural phenomenon, its vision of killer sharks taking flight in tornadoes and coming ashore to terrorize unsuspecting humans so off-the-wall bonkers that it was kind of charming. Truth be told, the insane concept was better than the actual finished product, which too often fell into so-bad-it's-just-bad territory. High ratings helped to immediately greenlight a sequel, and the fear was that a follow-up would be too self-aware of its own campiness to work. Fortunately, the opposite turned out to be true.

Bombarded with cheeky cameo appearances and a main cast once again headed by Tara Reid and former "90210" star Ian Ziering, "Sharknado 2: The Second One" is everything that "Sharknado" should have been. Director Anthony C. Ferrante, screenwriter Thunder Levin and the pic's ensemble of actors all treat the proceedings with the seriousness one might expect from a hard-hitting action-drama. From these straight faces, however, comes comic gold that fittingly even includes "Airplane!" star Robert Hays in an early scene as a pilot. The film, which finds rekindled lovers Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering) and April Wexler (Tara Reid) heading to the Big Apple to promote April's published guide to surviving a sharknado and once again getting mixed up in a city-wide shark invasion, makes no qualms about being anything other than what it is. Everyone involved is clearly having a ball, and their buoyant mood carries over to the audience.

Now let's be very clear here. "Sharknado 2: The Second One" is as ridiculous as cinema gets, but from this silliness comes a sly, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach that proves infectious. From April autographing her book in preschool handwriting in the middle of a page of text, to a hilarious airplane crash landing that includes a priceless appendage dismemberment, to location shooting in NYC that adds unexpected production value to its lunacy, to an "Evil Dead 2"-inspired climax that finds Tara Reid sporting an electric buzz saw where her hand used to be, every second of "Sharknado 2: The Second One" is crazier than the last. It's a stupid, stupid movie, but also, in its own way, rather smart. Director Anthony C. Ferrante knows exactly what he is doing, and the results are as exceedingly amusing as they are entirely inconsequential.
© 2014 by Dustin Putman
Dustin Putman