Near the beginning of Sharknado 2: The Second One, a portly man wearing tighty-whities with “naked cowboy” printed across the rear strums a guitar on the streets of New York. He is only a passing caricature, but he unwittingly serves as a metaphor for the whole movie, in which absurdity makes sweet love to things that kind of scare us a little.
It does take giddy disregard for reality to fully appreciate thousands of flesh-hungry sharks raining from the sky. Indeed, the premise behind Sharknado sounds like something my younger brother and I dreamed up in 1995 after consuming half a box of ice cream sandwiches, two liters of Mountain Dew, and a pack of candy cigarettes during a thunderstorm.
The best part: Sharknado doesn’t even attempt to offer a scientific explanation for what’s happening. There are no scholars in white coats and khaki pants pressing glowing buttons in a room filled with flickering computers. No one is trying to rationalize events that are obviously insane to an audience that just wants to watch that shark eat that girl’s face again.
Instead, Sharknado 2 is all action. This time, the ravages of climate change bring a shark-laden storm system to Manhattan – thanks, Obama! Within the first ten minutes, sharks fly through the cabin of an airplane and start eating some motherfuckers in midair. They also eat Tara Reid’s arm, to which she responds by making the world’s most annoying sound from Dumb & Dumber. Later, a shark flies through the window of a pizza joint, and a man stabs it with a knife. More than once, the sharks are on fire.
The movie is ridiculous in the extreme, but somehow it doesn’t venture into groan-worthy, eye-rolling territory. The characters never act like what they’re saying or doing is anything less than plausible, even when they’re using sharks as steppingstones to jump to safety or making flamethrowers out of Super Soakers. And who can forget the weather lady said the sharks were coming down at a rate of two inches per hour, even though a single shark is several feet thick?
In the event of a third Sharknado installment, here are five requirements for surviving what Al Roker, in a straight-faced cameo, calls an F5 sharknado blowing sharks down Broadway.
1. Watch Shark Week.
As the first movie demonstrates, a solid knowledge of sharks gained from binge-watching pseudo-scientific documentaries will help you identify your prey.
2. Learn to build weapons like MacGyver.
Watching Fin, the film’s stoic hero, stop tornadoes in their tracks with handmade bombs and cut flying sharks in half with chainsaws reinforces the notion that everything, even global warming, can be solved with guns and explosives.
3. Be a struggling actress from the 90s – but not a dirty old man.
Despite having only one arm and no discernable skills, Tara Reid’s character has survived two Sharknado films. In her role as Fin’s former love interest, Vivica Fox does not fare as well, but she still sticks around longer than the poor cab driver. Much like John Heard, who played a jovial, pervy drunk in the first film, the cabbie was just too good-natured and likeable for this shit.
4. Just chill for a second.
The weather depicted in both Sharknado films is inconsistent. One minute we have 70-MPH winds and waist-high water rushing down the street; seconds later, the sun is coming out.
5. Fuck logic.
5. Fuck logic.
In Sharknado, there is no science; there are only twisters with teeth and one-armed Tara Reid with an electric saw affixed to her stump.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 30, 2014