Review: Sharknado


“Sharkicane” is probably a more accurate title, but that isn’t as fun to say as Sharknado, and why quibble over the title of a movie about hundreds if not thousands of sharks destroying the Los Angeles region by attacking people in places you typically wouldn’t find a shark? Though it takes a while, eventually viewers are treated to the sight of a massive twister in Los Angeles full of all kinds of sharks. It is a sight to see.

Sharknado, another gem from SyFy and The Asylum, delivers epic ridiculousness consistently enough to remain entertaining for the majority of its running time.

Fin (Ian Ziering) is an ex-champion surfer operating a bar on the ocean in Santa Monica. While shooting the breeze with his staff and regular customers, a newscast informs us that California is experiencing highly unusual weather. Hurricane David is moving north from Mexico and sharks are headed in the same direction. Soon they have bombarded the beach in Santa Monica, viciously devouring anything in their path. 

Fin, his co-worker Nova (Cassie Scerbo), friend Baz (Jaason Simmons), and best customer George (John Heard) hole up in the bar. Their safety is short-lived. A shark crashes through the bar window, and the coastline quickly becomes flooded. The quartet hops into Fin’s SUV and heads for the house shared by his estranged wife April (Tara Reid), her new boyfriend, and Fin and April’s two kids.

There really isn’t much story here, which is just as well. There is vague talk of “going inland,” and the group eventually heads to Van Nuys Airport in an effort to find Fin’s son. But Sharknado is built around a series of shark attacks that are sometimes hilarious, sometimes gory (the body count is quite high), and almost always fun. Sharks roam city streets and attack people in cars and houses and go places they have no earthly business going to.

The cast, outside of an expectedly terrible Reid, is surprisingly decent. Ziering, Heard, and Simmons have an easy, enjoyable rapport. They actually seem like people who have known one another for years.  There’s also a lot of intentional humor that is often pretty funny to go with steady helpings of unintentional humor. At one point a character literally cries “ouch” after a shark bites them. Sample dialogue: “Looks like it’s that time of the month (referencing blood all over the place).” It knows what kind of movie it is, and is better for it.

Like a lot of these movies, forced and unnecessary melodrama drags it down. There’s occasional bickering and pouting, but not enough to ruin the good times.

Finally, about 70 minutes in, we get a sharknado. It makes its way through Los Angeles, sharks dropping out of it randomly, crushing and/or killing people. It is nonsensical and spectacular, especially after two characters attempt to stop the sharknado by throwing bombs into it from a helicopter. Even better is a grand finale involving Ziering, a shark, and a chainsaw. It has to be seen to be believed.

When you’re talking about a movie that involves a tornado in Los Angeles full of hundreds if not thousands of hungry sharks, it should be judged on how much goofy fun it delivers. Thankfully, Sharknado delivers frequently enough to transcend its shortcomings (Reid, budget, logic) and provide 85 minutes of solid brainless entertainment.

Sharknado airs on SyFy on July 11 and will be released on DVD September 3. 

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