Director: Anthony C. Ferrante
Writer: Thunder Levin
Actors (people to blame): Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Vivica A. Fox
Rated: Sharknado: PG-14
If anything ever made you laugh from any of my articles then I owe it all to the humor of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Every Saturday I would watch Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy on the Syfy channel remarking on the cheesiest science-fiction movies. Now those guys are back and they are as sharp as ever.
What is a RiffTrax? Three former members of MST3K (Mike, Bill, and Kevin) record their snappy comebacks over popular and obscure movies. From the Star Wars trilogy to Lord of the Rings, RiffTrax has made their comedic mark. Now, they hosted a live event broadcasting from theaters on July 9th. The main attraction: Sharknado 2.
Hosted at Nashville’s Belcourt Theater, Mike, Bill, and Kevin promised to make the audiences laugh with their snarky commentary. First, they showed an ultra-old and obscure short called Parents, What Are They Good For? This late 50’s educational short was about a child who neglected his parents so his very creepy puppet toy comes to life and makes him invisible so he can see what good things his parents do.
The riffers constantly joked that the mom looked like Velma from Scooby Doo and Mike made a reference, “And I also learned that my parents like to fart a lot when they think no one is around.” At the very end, the young boy helps his dad sweep up some sawdust so the devilish possessed puppet grants the child visibility again. The young boy says, “Well, I guess I learned something.” And Bill replies with, “That is the motto for Phoenix Online University.”
Then it was off to the feature film, Sharknado 2. This science-fiction travesty is purposefully corny, low-budget, and poorly-made, but the world needs to be warned that tornadoes that spit sharks at major cities are a real threat. Sharknado 2 is directed by Anthony C. Ferrante, and stars Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Vivica A. Fox and Mark McGrath (the lead singer of Sugar Ray).
From the very start of the movie, Fin (the champion of the first Sharknado) is freaking out on a plane because he thinks he sees sharks outside his window. Turns out he was right and the whole plane gets barraged with a flurry of sharks. In one scene, the stewardess who looks like Kelly Osbourne gets her head chewed off by a shark. The riffers quickly mention that it is good to see an animal rip the head off of an Osbourne instead of the other way around. April (Fin’s ex played by Tara Reid) is hanging for dear life on the plane when a shark bites off her hand. Later in the movie she asks Fin, “Why did you ever fall in love with me?” Mike retorts, “because you had the perfect number of hands.”
They land in New York City where Fin meets up with his brother Martin Brody (Mark McGrath) who is mercilessly mocked for being in the band Sugar Ray. When the crew are running from a shark down a spiral staircase, the riffers say, “Hey, Mark, does that downward spiral remind you of anyone’s career?” Finally Fin and Skye (Vivica A. Fox) use a sling shot to shoot propane tanks into the tornado and the riffers say, “Fin learned all his survival skills from Dennis the Menace.”
The movie ends with Fin riding the tornado with a chainsaw and lassoing a shark. Kevin makes the keen observation, “Ya know, I think this movie might be dumb.”
Violence: The whole thrill of the movie is sharks flying out of nowhere and ripping people in half. Bad CGI blood splatters everywhere. Sharks get cut in half with chainsaws and swords.
Language/Crude Humor: The Riffers say s*** a lot when they make up a parody of a song. Some other light swearing in the movie with h*** and d***.
Spiritual Content: Nothing in this movie about sharks flying in weird places into people brings any Bible verses to mind. All I know is that there is a huge following for this film because it is so bad (and a little painful to watch). It hurts my soul that the actors are getting paid to do a bad job way more than I will ever get paid to do well at my job.
RiffTrax is currently the best mocking and film-shaming business in the industry. Michael, Kevin, and Bill are geniuses at quick comedy and thinking on the go. This was live so their timing had to be gold. I am still laughing at the comment when Ian Ziering tells Mark McGrath to watch his family and Bill says, “Every morning!”
Sharknado 2 is so painful that you know it deserves every ounce of its hatred. At this point, Anthony C. Ferrante knows he is making obvious flaws in his directing and that doing a bad job is part of the joke.
The camera will be unfocused in shots, the movie cannot make the sky look NYC is raining, the film uses stock footage that doesn’t fit the film, and the camera angles are so snappy. There is even a random scene where a large crocodile kills a guy for no reason. RiffTrax is doing us a huge service ripping this movie a new one.
The other part of this film is that it has surprise D-list actors. Andy Dick, Kurt Angle, Judd Hirsch, Al Roker, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Jared from Subway (who is in a subway) make guest appearances. Billy Ray Cyrus plays a doctor! The Riffers mimic him saying, “Looks like your wife is suffering from Achy Breaky Heart,” and “If you’ll excuse me I need to wash my daughter’s car.”
Not all of it was comedy gold. Some of the commentary lulled and didn’t hit my funny bone. By the time the movie was gearing up to end the crew was dead-on with their blasting of the movie. They barrage it with endless snarky humor, but it is not for everyone. If you are not privvy to snappy remarks and off-kilter references you might think this comedy is a waste of your time.
If you ever get a chance to see a live RiffTrax event at a theater it is worth every penny. Even if you miss it, you can go to rifftrax.com and download their audio tracks to play over The Dark Knight, Bourne Identity, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Twilight, and other offerings.
The Bottom Line