A Buffalo-tinged ‘Sharknado 2’ is stupid, silly fun
Early in “Sharknado 2: The Second Coming,” Ian Ziering’s character, Fin, recites a line with double meaning.
“All this attention is crazy,” says Fin to his ex-wife April (Tara Reid) on their plane ride to New York City.
She is now a celebrity, basking in the success of the book she authored, “How to Survive a Sharknado,” about the one that struck Los Angeles and Twitter a year ago.
Yes, indeed all the attention that “Sharknado 2” is getting is a little crazy and may make it difficult for the campy, cheaply produced B-movie to meet expectations.
After all, the original “Sharknado” came out of nowhere. This one has been heavily hyped, making it hard to predict whether lightning will strike again.
However, the film, which premieres at 9 p.m. Wednesday on Syfy, is as silly, stupid, fun, campy, unscientific, hooky and as inanely entertaining as anyone could expect.
There are some extra reasons for all the attention it is getting in Western New York. Some footage was shot here.
Early on, the Lockport Caves are a stand-in for the underbelly of the New York subway.
Near the end, the area around Lafayette Square is a stand-in for New York City streets as several people swing axes and chain saws to ward off the flying sharks that have headed to the Big Apple.
The sequel has attracted a B-level All-Star cast going along with the gag. They include Robert Hays of “Airplane!” as (what else?) an airplane pilot, comedian Robert Klein as the mayor of New York, Andy Dick as a member of the NYPD and Vivica A. Fox as one of Fin’s old flames.
“Today” show veterans Al Roker and Matt Lauer are comically serious covering what a frightened Roker calls “a storm of biblical proportions.” Kelly Ripa, Michael Strahan and their morning show producer Michael Gellman (in one of my favorite scenes) have cameos. Judd Hirsch appears to be the only taxi cab driver in New York City. (He was in the TV show “Taxi.” Get it?)
I say that because although any New Yorker will tell you how difficult it can be to get a cab, Hirsch is always around whenever Fin needs him.
A Buffalo actor, Michael Dugan, also has a scene and some lines.
Roker’s deadly serious “biblical proportions” line is supposed to make you laugh. I actually laughed louder when I saw Dick in a police uniform. My favorite line occurs when an exasperated Fin speaks for all New Yorkers when he says “I hate the subway.”
A lot of the dialogue could just pass for the kind of tweets that celebrities posted during last summer’s “Sharknado.”
My favorite celebrity tweet a year ago came from writer-producer Damon Lindelof of “Lost” fame: “I am going to write the Sharknado sequel. I am going to do it before Sharknado is over.”
That led director Anthony C. Ferrante to reply: “I’m available tomorrow. Let’s shoot it. Can you pound out a draft by 8 a.m.”
Truth is “Sharknado 2” could have been written in an hour. It has 90 minutes of running time and for much of it characters are running – usually away from sharks.
But back to the ‘Sharknado 2” tweets, er, dialogue.
Fin also tells his ex-wife, “Next time you offer a hand don’t be so literal about it.”
And then there’s this classic from Fin: “Even the Sharknados are tougher in New York.”
April has her own classic: “It is like the shark knew who I was.”
Someone asks, “Since when are there sharks in Manhattan?” That’s my favorite for most answers being tweeted. We all know New York is loaded with sharks.
And, of course, someone tells Fin: “You jumped the shark.”
I won’t give you the context of any of the lines because that will ruin them and I don’t want to give too much away.
Not that much of anything is going to surprise you.
Of course, “Sharknado 2” jumps the shark on purpose. It’s the kind of movie that is review-proof. People will watch just to see how bad it is – in a good way.
Fin still loves his ex-wife. He isn’t so thrilled with his brother-in-law.
Fin’s sister has taken her family to New York City for a vacation to see the sites when she gets an unexpected one – sharks flying at her and everyone.
Meanwhile, Fin’s brother-in-law is off to see a baseball game with his son. As he promised, he turns off his cellphone to give his son his full attention. Bad idea.
When the sharks fly, Fin suffers a fate worse than being in a subway at rush hour: He has to go to a Mets game to save members of his family from becoming shark food.
Viewers may be predisposed to enjoy the campy ride and see people turn into bloody messes and the head of the Statue of Liberty roll down New York streets. Just about anyone who has seen a horror flick – or a Mets game – can guess who is going to die before they become shark food.
What I am saying is viewers have to go into “Sharknado 2” in the right spirit.
I was in it for the terrific 12 minutes before the opening credits. Admittedly, I got briefly bored and started looking on my Twitter feed on my cellphone despite the film’s fast pace set to ominous music.
About 30 minutes in, I was just watching to see if I could determine when the Buffalo scenes were included, whether Fin will find himself inside a shark again (I’m not telling) and whether Lauer could ever say the word that he seemed to have more difficulty saying than “Ann Curry”: “Sharknado.”
Upon reflection, there is hidden meaning in the film. The morals of the story are, don’t ever turn off your cellphone, don’t go to the bathroom in an airplane during a shark storm, always carry a chain saw, and watch out for Lady Liberty.
There is much to laugh about and enjoy in “Sharknado 2.” Betting against it topping the original Twitter craziness may be a mistake of biblical proportions.
And hey, wouldn’t it be great if “Sharknado 3” was written by Lindelof and some scenes were shot in Buffalo again?
Ratings: Silliness: ŒŒŒŒ out of 4; Pace: ŒŒŒŒ; Science: 0 stars; Special effects: 0 stars Comedy: ŒŒ½