A freak storm hits Los Angeles, causing man-eating sharks to get sucked up into a tornado as the city floods with even more carnivorous creatures. Danger rises quicker than the tide, as one civilian fights to save his family and, ultimately, the city he loves.
Where to start with the Syfy phenomena that is Sharknado? Though the Syfy/Asylum partnership has produced made-for-television flicks at an astounding rate (including the superior Mega Python vs. Gatoroid ), it’s Sharknado that captured the zeitgeist. Why this film, out of the mind-boggling choices in the company’s oeuvre? Let’s break it down!
The toast goes to the obvious: the name. Sharknado is unbeatable, as is the accompanying image of sharks caught up in a tornado (or, as Wikipedia insists, a waterspout – though Sharkwaterspout clearly doesn’t have the same ring). So kudos to whomever owns the brilliant mind that came up with this concept. I hope he or she got a healthy raise!
This adds a whole new meaning to “dark and stormy.”
Sharks can get you far, real far – almost to the top. * But to reach the upper echelons of cheese we need a ringer – and The Asylum excels at ringers (aka casting coups). I didn’t think they could top themselves after pitting ‘80s pop sensations Debbie Gibson and Tiffany against each other in the beloved Mega Python vs. Gatoroid. But then they cast former Beverly Hills 90210 actor and current Chippendale’s dancer Ian Ziering in the lead as Finley “Fin” Shepherd. Bitch, it’s on! Ian (pronounced Ay-an versus Ee-an. I know, I’m as confused as you) played skeevy rich kid Steve Sanders during his 10 year run on 90210, so his transition to skeevy (yet earnest) bar owner is natural. With his shockingly muscular physique (he’s almost 50!) and his blindingly white teeth, his metamorphosis to hero is complete. Throw in his character’s love for his estranged family, coupled with his desire to save them at all costs, and we have a winner!
Are you speeding? Damn it, last thing we need is a traffic ticket in the middle of a sharknado!
Of course any hero needs his damsel in distress and Fin’s (what a convenient nickname) comes in the form or our favorite booze-soaked blonde, Tara Reid as his ex-wife wife, April Wexler. Golf clap, everyone!
Few have fallen further than Tara (save ubiquitous troublemaker Lindsay Lohan). Once an “It Girl” who starred in American Pie and The Big Lebowski, Reid is more remembered for her hard-partying and botched plastic surgeries than her acting “skills.” Will she experience career resurgence with Sharknado? Time will tell, though we know she’s dedicated to the possibility. She recently read up on sharks for the film’s publicity blitz and shared that she thought a whale shark was the byproduct of a whale and a shark having sex. I, for one, am praying for more Tara if that’s what she brings to the table for press junkets!
Umm… what’s my line again?
John Heard goes Meta in his portrayal of lecherous barfly, George. I don’t know what happened to him in the interim years between the Home Alone franchise and Sharknado but it must’ve involved a shit-ton of liquor. Allegedly.
Let’s talk newcomer Aubrey Peeples. Fin gets his panties in a wad when the sharknado hits. Though his bar is full (hello, what better place to wait out a sharknado?), he orders everyone out so he can get to the business of tracking down his daughter. Noble as that is, I assumed all the fuss was over a child who was too young to take care of herself. Imagine my surprise when Fin fights his way across town, in heinous shark-infested traffic, only to introduce the audience to a 20-something chick in short shorts (the aforementioned Aubrey as Claudia Shepherd). I know fathers love their daughters at any age, but I don’t think my dad would fight his way across LA in the middle of a sharknado to check up on me. I think he’d phone me up and call it good. Perhaps we’d meet for a Bloody Mary the next day after all the shark nonsense died down. But I’m pretty sure he’d weather out the storm in his own abode. Naturally I was expecting to employ my usual, “I’m watching Syfy; I’m going to suspend my disbelief,” but Claudia’s age was a giant “Huh?” for me.
Nothing ruins a great hair day quicker than a shark landing on one’s head.
Speaking of Fin’s bar and confusing relationships, this review wouldn’t be complete without addressing Cassie Scerbo as Nova Clarke. Nova is desperate to get into Fin’s pants. Yet, by the end of the film, she’s hooked up with his son (Chuck Hittinger as Matt Shepherd). Enough said. Oh, and the son? Yeah, he looks to be about 29-years old and is in flight school. Apparently Tara’s character April went the Teen Mom route with Fin. No judgment, but I’m baffled as to how the actors cast as a family all look to have graduated from high school at about the same time.
We round out the six-pack with the no holds barred ending. Though the movie drags in parts, there’s no arguing that the finale is spectacular. I won’t spoil it for you, but it involves bombs, a chainsaw, and the surprising reappearance of a cast member who was left for dead. Intrigued? You should be!
Someone brought lunch!
Sharknado is riddled with plot holes, endless rain-filled scenes and a surprising lack of sharks. Sure, it was fun – especially getting to see it on the big screen during a limited run at Regal Cinemas – but it’s not even the best Syfy and The Asylum have to offer. Still I wouldn’t kick it out of bed if it popped up on cable at 2 am.
Take a Drink: every time Fin fights a shark in an effort to save a family member.
Take a Drink: every time John Heard’s character asks for one.
Take a Drink: every time Nova flirts with Fin.
Take a Drink: every time Tara sounds drunk… err, scared.
Do a Shot: if you can name the film the asterisked quote alludes to.
Pour one out: for sweet Cory Monteith, whose last tweets were about Sharknado.