You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘Sharknado 2! The Second One’

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

  • Telemundo Has 'Game of Thrones' Hopes

    Telemundo Has 'Game of Thrones' Hopes for 'La Reina del Sur' Season 2 Premiere

    Call it Telemundo’s “Game of Thrones.” The Spanish-language network is hoping for a blockbuster premiere tonight for the long-awaited sophomore season of “La Reina del Sur,” the crime drama starring Kate del Castillo that ranks as Telemundo’s most-watched original series ever. “La Reina” was a massive hit for Telemundo when it aired in early 2011. [...]

  • Florence and the Machine

    Florence & the Machine Premiere New Song on 'Game of Thrones'

    [pmc=related] If the voice singing the song during the end credits of “Game of Thrones” tonight sounded familiar — or unmistakable — yes, it was Florence + the Machine. The group’s version of the original “Game of Thrones” song “Jenny of Oldstones” debuted during the closing credits of this season’s second episode, following a rendition [...]

  • Game of Thrones Fan Theories

    Best Fan Theories for the Final Season of 'Game of Thrones'

    After eight seasons, “Game of Thrones” fans will finally see if their long-held theories will pay off. Dozens of important characters and a complex plot have made diehard viewers try to foresee plot twists for years. With the original R+L=J theory confirmed, meaning that Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark were the real parents of Jon [...]

  • Abigail Disney on Bob Iger

    Abigail Disney Calls Bob Iger's $65 Million Compensation 'Insane'

    Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger’s total compensation for Disney’s fiscal 2018 was a whopping $65.6 million. Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Disney co-founder Roy Disney, calls that sum “insane.”  While speaking at the Fast Company Impact Council, the filmmaker and philanthropist insisted that this level of corporate payout has a “corrosive effect on society.” Disney took [...]

  • Tryion Lannister Game of Thrones Episode

    'Game of Thrones' Season 8 Episode 2 Leaks

    The second episode of “Game of Thrones'” final season has leaked online ahead of its Sunday night debut. Fear not, “Thrones” fans: though the internet is dark and full of spoilers, this post is free of any details from Season 8 episode 2. Rumblings of a leak began on the “Game of Thrones” Reddit and [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Signs of Solidarity and Strain Emerge as Week 2 of WGA-Talent Agency Standoff Begins

    Hundreds of WGA members rallied solidly behind their union last week as the industry grappled with uncertainties spurred by the sudden break between writers and their talent agency representatives. But as the standoff heads into its second week, signs of strain among some WGA members are beginning to emerge. Shalom Auslander, author and creator of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content