×

TV Review: ‘Sharknado 2! The Second One’

With:
Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Vivica A. Fox, Mark McGrath, Kari Wuhrer

Around the time National Geographic produces its inevitable retrospective “The 2010s: What Was That All About?” historians should have a clearer understanding of why “Sharknado,” out of all the cheekily exploitative schlock movies programmed by Syfy, became a Twitter meme and cultural phenomenon. Fellow Syfy movies like “Sharktopus” and “Piranhaconda” must be kicking themselves. Inevitably, that mini-eruption spawned “Sharknado 2! The Second One,” which plops down into the summer, cheesy as ever, with an added infusion of conspicuous celebrity cameos that success has made possible. In that respect, it’s not just our fishy friends who can smell blood in the water.

Not surprisingly, the sequel indulges in all kinds of callbacks — treating the earlier version as if it were “Citizen Kane” — while relocating from Los Angeles to New York, after one very unfortunate flight (with Robert Hays, no less, as the pilot) that bears survivors Fin (Ian Ziering) and April (Tara Reid), who is heading to Gotham to promote her book on their joint ordeal.

Still, those unpredictable weather patterns and snapping clouds — raining terrible-looking CGI sharks down from the sky — have followed them, as Fin labors to save his friends and family, which includes rescuing his brother-in-law (Mark McGrath), who’s at a Mets game; while Fin’s sister (Kari Wuhrer) tries to keep her daughter and assorted pals alive. (As usual, it’s a pretty good tipoff, based on the billing, who is and isn’t shark bait.)

For all the famous faces who pop up — including the “Independence Day” tandem of Vivica A. Fox, as one of Fin’s high school chums , and Judd Hirsch, as a helpful cab driver — the pair that really stands out is “Today’s” Matt Lauer and Al Roker, who occupy almost as much screen time as the principals, as they explain the “sharknado” threat on air. While the first glimpse might make them look like good sports, the repeated visits merely underscore the impression that there’s practically no limit to the silly stuff Lauer will do, provided the asset in question (in this case, Syfy) is part of the overarching NBCUniversal umbrella.

Writer Thunder Levin and director Anthony C. Ferrante are wise not to try to elevate the material just because of the freak social-media storm that lifted the first one. Still, aside from a few clever moments (like an homage to “The Twilight Zone’s” “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” episode; or the challenge of finding appropriate weapons, thanks to New York’s gun — and hardware — laws), the creatives haven’t managed to bridge the gap between blood-spurting exploitation and winking genre parody.

“All this attention’s crazy,” Fin complains in the early going, citing the admiration they’ve received.

True enough. And about the best one can say is that success hasn’t spoiled “Sharknado 2,” mostly because, for all intents and purposes, all the heavy lifting was pretty much done after they titled it.

TV Review: 'Sharknado 2! The Second One'

(Movie; Syfy, Wed. July 30, 9 p.m.)

Production: Filmed in New York by the Asylum.

Crew: Executive producer, David Rimawi; producer, David Michael Latt; co-producers, David Garber, Paul Bales; director, Anthony C. Ferrante; writer, Thunder Levin; camera, Ben Demaree; production designer, Stephanie Barkley; editors, Ana Florit, Vashi Nedomansky; music, Chris Ridenhour, Christopher Cano; visual effects supervisor, Emile Edwin Smith; casting, Mike Fenton, Ann Frederick. 120 MIN.

Cast: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Vivica A. Fox, Mark McGrath, Kari Wuhrer

More TV

  • Katherine Ryan Says Boyfriend Saved Her

    Katherine Ryan Says Boyfriend Saved Her Netflix Scripts in Fight With Burglar

    London-based comedian, actor and writer Katherine Ryan says her boyfriend fought off a masked burglar and saved a laptop that contained scripts from her upcoming Netflix show, “The Duchess.” Sharing details on Instagram over the weekend, Ryan said her partner, Bobby Kootstra, tackled the intruder. “This is why I love Bobby K.,” Ryan wrote. “He [...]

  • Meghan Duchess of Sussex during a

    Candid ITV, ABC Doc on Prince Harry, Meghan Markle Scores International Deals

    Prince Harry and Meghan Markle open up on the stress of living in the spotlight in a candid documentary that is scoring more international deals. “Harry and Meghan: An African Journey” was broadcast Sunday on ITV in the U.K. and  will go out on ABC in the U.S. on Wednesday night. Produced by ITN Productions [...]

  • Bristol, CT - July 26, 2018

    Mina Kimes Helps ESPN Kick Off 'Daily' Podcast

    Mina Kimes is preparing to take ESPN into a new frontier. The sports-media giant has launched a “SportsCenter” for Snapchat and tested baseball telecasts for kids. Now it’s hoping to set up shop in another media venue. Starting tomorrow, the Disney-backed company launches “ESPN Daily,” a weekday morning podcast that aims to tap its vast [...]

  • MIA Wrap

    Rome MIA Market Wraps With Stronger U.S. Presence, Boosts Italy's Industry Standing

    Rome’s MIA market for TV series, feature films and documentaries wrapped positively Sunday with organizers boasting a bump in attendance just as some 2,500 executives departed in an upbeat mood after four days of dealmaking and presentations of mostly European fresh product, which elevated Italy’s global standing in the industry, especially within the TV sector. [...]

  • Content-is-King

    Top TV Execs Tackle New Distribution Landscape in Rome

    ROME – In an increasingly complex TV market, with a host of new big-ticket streaming services preparing to enter an already crowded arena, both buyers and sellers are rethinking some of the fundamentals of the TV business as they grapple with the best way to reach global audiences. A host of top producers, network executives, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content