They say bad things always come in three's. Maybe after the first two, you just get more paranoid and start looking for the hat trick but it always turns up eventually. By that logic, Sharknado 3 should have been a foregone conclusion ever since 2013's debut decided being scared of going in the water just wasn’t enough, but in this rare case, that’s a good bad thing. After blissfully cringing through the first two downpours, we’re not just waiting for this third batch of extreme aquatic weather. We’re running at full pace towards it with armed out stretched ready to be swallowed whole for another film embracing its tacky ridiculousness to Moasaur proportions. It's the perfect brief break from an all too serious life. It’s the film series that has celebrities queuing up for brief (and often bloody) cameos. So rev up your chainsaws and severed buzz saw arms for this year’s most scientifically accurate film about shark sucking super tornadoes.
After a third shark storm ravages Washington DC, a new super shark weather front threatens to engulf the entire Eastern Seaboard. Once again there’s one man who can save us. The chainsaw wielding shark slayer saviour, Finn Shepherd (Ian Zerieng – Celebrity Apprentice 7.... he came 6th), all while he’s expecting a new child from his pregnant wife April (Tara Reid – American Pie, nipple slip compilations). But this time, he’ll need something out of this world to get the job done.
Despite the fact that these films are being churned out every year now, (Sharknado 4 is already confirmed, “we’re not done yet”) they do seem to be learning from each other as this trilogy maker is a far superior effort than Sharknado 2. The biggest difference is in the slower narrative sections around the blood and fish guts splurging set pieces. Last time, many of the New York scenes felt rather dreary but this time, not only are the settings more varied due to some story separation but it also has a surprising secret weapon, Universal Studios theme park. While at first, it feels like the film is slipping into a feature length infomercial it quickly becomes a welcome setting. Even if the character exposition between April and her mother or daughter Claudia’s teen love subplot doesn’t float your boat (do you need a bigger one?), there’s still visually a lot to enjoy as many of the iconic rides and attractions are explored. It doesn’t bother expending its character base too wide this time, which saves considerable unwanted explaining, and even those we do get don’t come across as annoying. This gets even better when Finn’s arrival brings his slippery sky bound friends along with him and suddenly there are sharks sliding down roller coasters and popping up in many classic features of the park. It perfectly captures the films dumb madness, which is always when this film series works best, and to its credit, it successfully manages to escalate itself, going bigger and infinity more crazy than the previous films. Some effects shots do get a little repetitive but things are kept suitably over the top to make each kill as funny as the last. There’s also no shortage of good old improvised weaponry kills. One even sees arguably the most pop culture moment of the year when a shark is impaled with a selfie stick. Not mention plenty of good old fashioned shooting at flying sharks with assorted guns.
In terms of the hooks, this shark gets snagged on, it’s difficult to fault for things like dodgier effects and acting because they are unashamed and intentional, but it is fair to say they put a glass ceiling on the film’s rating. For the most part, the luynacy of the story is welcome but sadly, even by Sharknado terms, the last 5 minutes really do take things too far and literally bring things crashing back down to Earth. While the external settings of a certain well-known American government agency deliver, the internals are a letdown of “pace-maker” acting. Despite all the drama that’s supposed to be going on in the big action finale, those involved just look and sound like they’re watching a rather average episode of Extreme Fishing with Robson Green. It’s a bit of waste as even under budget low considerations they could easily have done a lot better if the director had just shouted, “Okay, now do it again like you’re actually excited”.
Finn gets some very welcome help on shark count. Firstly from The President himself (Mark Cuban – Shark Tank) as the pair go Great White House Down when Capitol Hill gets some uninvited guests, but mostly from the welcome return of Cassie Scerbo’s Nova from the first film. After surviving being eaten alive ,she returns a post-apocalyptic badass with a series case of post traumatic shark disorder and a seemingly uncontainable cleavage. She and Finn make a brilliant on screen pair as they fight and road/plane trip together; best demonstrated when they emerge half naked from a lake after crashing a plane into it in what can only be described as a “Yeah.... why not?” shot. The only downside is she truly upstages Reid’s April, making us considerably less bothered when she joins the action or is in peril despite her newly equipped robo arm. In fact, the films hashtag ending may imply those behind the scenes are aware too. A shout out must also go out to Frankie “The one in the middle” Muniz as Nova’s techy counterpart for his epic desperate last stand/crawl, complete with Black Knight level injuries (“tis but a scratch Malcolm!). In great Sharknado, tradition there’s no shortage of cameos. The best include WWEs Chris Jerico, Jerry Springer, Penn & Teller, Holly Madison, Corey “Mouth from Goonies” Feldman and Jedward (which many UK viewers will overly enjoy seeing them become Dedward). Not to mention a great feature support from someone you’re not supposed to hassle.
While it was good and enjoyable, Sharknado 2 felt like a repeat gimmick on the first. Sharknado 3 not only justifies its own existence but the need for the series to continue as it pumps up the chainsaws with a full tank of fun. Laughing and it is unavoidable if not always for the right reasons, and it’s the perfect film to watch if you’ve been taking things too serious lately. A full blown red, white, and blue celebration as tributes are made to the likes of NASCAR, the Iwo Jima statue, and a good fashioned arse kicking President. It may never make the big screens but it deserves an ocean of love for simply being its own daft and demented self. While the world keeps on spinning so should the Sharknados.
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