The Sharknado Franchise

Even though I reviewed the very first Sharknado movie way back when it first came out, I never reviewed any of the others on here. And even though Guest Reviewer Michael Banno sent in his review for Part 2, there's never been any reviews for any of the other movies on here in any capacity since then. Seeing as how the 6th (!!!) and final movie airs on TV on the SyFy Channel (Space, here in Canada) tomorrow night, I figured this was a great time to put up a few of my quick thoughts on each and every movie in the franchise up to this point, and just collect them all together in one big post.

When a freak hurricane swamps Los Angeles, nature's deadliest killer rules sea, land, and air as thousands of sharks terrorize the waterlogged populace. 

REVIEW: This very first Sharknado is the one that started it all. I have to admit, even as a long-time fan of these types of movies, I never expected this to catch on the way it did with mainstream audiences and become the pop culture phenomenon it has. Asylum is quite well-known in B-Movie circles for releasing exactly this type of fare on a regular basis, so even to this day its a mystery to me why this specific one caught on like it did, while other equally-as zany releases never did.

Yes, the acting is laughable here. Sure, the effects are painfully bad. You betcha that there's almost no continuity within the scenes themselves (sometimes water is halfway up their bodies, then in the very next shot there's hardly any water at all), and I'll even give you the fact that the script pretty much never makes any logical sense. But damn this movie is fun. Campy, cheesy, bad, but it's fun as hell

Granted, it does start to run out of fuel by the end - I'd say it's about fifteen minutes too long. In addition, this first entry of the franchise takes itself way too seriously (an issue thankfully fixed in the sequels by leaps and bounds) which contributes to it running out of steam by the end, but as far as Asylum's low budget B-Movie productions go, even this day in age, very few are more fun and zany than Sharknado.

8/10 rooms in the Psych Ward 

Survivors of the first Sharknado storm, Fin and April, are on their way to New York City for a book signing when a Category Seven hurricane spawns heavy rain, storm surges, and morphs into deadly Sharknadoes.

REVIEW: While the first Sharknado movie took itself too seriously, Sharknado 2: The Second One just blows past that into complete wacky jokey territory, and it's a much better movie because of it.

This is the type of movie that knows what it is, and how utterly stupid this whole shebang all is, and has fun with that. Celebrity cameos, pop culture references, and movie spoofs are everywhere you look in this movie. Want a man riding a shark through the air? This has it. Want a woman with a buzz saw hand after hers gets bitten off? This has that too. How about popular news anchors and talk show hosts killing invading sharks dropping from the skies? Tons of that here. Pretty much anything you can think of that you'd want to see in a movie called Sharknado 2, this has it! 

The opening scene alone with sharks attacking a passenger plane mid-flight makes this one worth it. As low budget as it is (and it shows), I've never before had as much fun watching a movie as I did with this one. These movies are supposed to be pure dumb escapism entertainment, and sometimes that's all I'm looking for.

10/10 rooms in the Psych Ward

When a mass of Sharknados threatens America's East Coast, chainsaw-wielding hero Fin must again risk his life to save his children on spring break. But as he fights his way south, the sharknados merge together and grow bigger than ever before. 

REVIEW: Sharknado 2 is a hard one to beat, and while Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! comes very close, it unfortunately doesn't quite reach it. From the opening scene of the White House under attack by a rogue sharknado, to the main characters eventually taking the fight to outer space (complete with lightsaber-chainsaws to do battle with the space-traveling sharks that have followed them up there!), this one is certainly in no short supply of the kind of wacky fun in-on-the joke style of scenes that made the second movie so much fun. 

Sharknado 3 falters a tad though by recasting a main returning character from the first movie, that was absent from the second, and the new actress isn't as good as the one from the first movie, and where both of the previous two movies were complete stories, with proper endings, this one ends on an annoying cliffhanger without fully wrapping the story up or giving us a proper conclusion, which I always hate. There was also one very short moment where a plastic fake shark comes alive and eats someone, that I'm still confused about and I don't really 'get', since it doesn't even fit with the very, very, loose laws of physics that are set out in these movies. Why would a fake plastic shark just suddenly come alive?

Those minor issues aside though, this is still a worthy and fun follow-up to the second movie, and it somehow manages to lay the cheese on even thicker, which is never a problem to this B-Movie fan. The more cheese, the better!

9/10 rooms in the Psych Ward

Five years after the wave of sharknados wrecked the east coast, our heroes are living a quiet life in the middle of the country -- as far away from sharks as possible. But when a freak sand sharknado hits Las Vegas, Fin is thrown back into action, fighting sharknados on a cross-country race to save his family and the world.

REVIEW: Sharknado 4, also titled Sharknado: The 4th Awakens, just by its very existence, creates a major hurdle to overcome that I felt it failed at doing. After the places the third movie went in scope (starting with saving the White House and ending with an epic battle in space), there really isn't much for this movie to do to compare to that stuff, and outside of the opening scene of the main characters battling flying sharks while sailing a giant pirate ship through a flooded Las Vegas during a sharknado storm, it never even really tries, nor does it so much as ever reach the level of said opening scene again, kind of blowing its wad right away.

And I know this may be a strange complaint when in reference to a movie with Sharknado in the title, but there's pretty much zero plot to speak of, even when compared to the other movies in the series, being more of a series of random scenes that could pretty much be placed in any mixed matched order and still end up with essentially the exact same movie.

With that said, there's still a high fun factor here. As fun as Parts 2 and 3 were? No, but still enough for this cheese-loving B-Movie fan to enjoy, even if it does feel like the acting and even the very low quality of the special effects seem like they're even lesser still than in the previous movies. Stuff such as the awesome shark-fighting mech suit or Tara Reid as a full-on cyborg are among this movie's better moments, and there is especially a surprisingly high level of classic horror movie references and jokes within this one, which as a horror fan I enjoyed immensely. Also, as someone who loved the brief Sharknado crossover in the other SyFy Original Movie Lavalantula, it was great seeing another brief crossover with that movie in this one. Hopefully we'll get a full-on team-up crossover movie down the road as opposed to these little quick cameo crossovers.

Sharknado 4 has a been-there-done-that feel to it, which wouldn't be all that bad except that it never tops, or even matches, the stakes raised in the previous movie. Hell, it can't even match its own spectacular opening scene. Add to that, the quality of everything feels lower than in the previous movies and they were already pretty low there. However, there is still quite a bit of fun to be had, with tons of jokes, celebrity cameos, cheesy scenes, and hilarious one-liners to make any fan of the series happy. It just kind of sucks that the end result is simply 'good enough' as opposed to 'fantastic'.

6/10 rooms in the Psych Ward

With much of America lying in ruins after the events of the previous movie, the rest of the world braces for a global sharknado, as Fin and his family travel around the world to stop them.

REVIEW: At this point, I'm pretty much in love with these characters so it was a pleasure to see them all back again...but Sharknado 5: Global Swarming is just not a good entry in the series.

The Sharknado franchise has never had good acting or special effects, obviously, but with this one they seemed to be at an all-time low in both categories. The acting was painful, even by my very low standards, and the effects were atrocious. I swear the sharknados themselves, and the sharks being flung around by them, looked better in all previous entries than they do here. Also, I know a movie series about tornadoes filled with sharks destroying cities is not exactly the most grounded realistic type of movie in the world, but this entry almost feels like it took the unrealism angle too far. People are using the sharknados to actually teleport from location to location around the world, there's an ancient relic that can control the sharknados, some kind of mystical energy source inside the sharknados that is making them almost sentient, and of course there's time travel involved.

This movie finished and I could honestly say I had no idea what the hell I had just watched or what had happened for half of it, as I was totally lost. Much like with Transformers: The Last Knight, also released in the same year, this movie was all over the place and a complete total mess from beginning to end. It seemed like the filmmakers were just throwing everything at the wall to see what stuck and pretty much nothing did, save for a couple ideas and moments.

But, like I said at the top, I always enjoy seeing these characters again, especially Nova as played by Cassie Scerbo who seems to pop back in for every second movie, and I did enjoy a couple of the scenes quite a bit, especially that Indiana Jones-inspired opening and the cliffhanger ending. Yes yes, I know, I ragged on the ending of Part 3 for being a cliffhanger, but I actually enjoyed the cliffhanger ending here, as it managed to make me pumped for the next movie despite not liking the majority of this one.

And hey, even though the plot was all over the place and nothing at all made any sense, I gotta at least give them props for trying something different. Attempting to do something new and fresh is still better than what Part 4 did, which was just mostly retread what came before and didn't really bring anything new or any higher stakes to the table, so as much as I just ragged on this movie, at least it had the balls to attempt something different in the series, even if it didn't personally work for me, and for that reason I'm willing to bump this one up a full point.

6/10 rooms in the Psych Ward 

Now after revisiting the entire franchise to date, the highs and the lows of it, I'm all set for tomorrow night's premiere showing of the very final Sharknado movie ever, The Last Sharknado: It's About Time. 

Bring on the last time.


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