Humor is one of the more subjective and wide ranging elements in the world; from the brilliant word play of the Marx Brothers to the slapstick humor of The Three Stooges, what tickles one person’s funny bone may do nothing at all to another, but I think we can all agree that whatever humor the Sharknado movies have they clearly have gone well beyond their best-before-date. Seriously, there is beating a joke into the ground until not one ounce of humor survives, and then there is Sharknado: The 4th Awakens. The first Sharknado was not a good movie but it had a kind of goofy charm, Sharknado 2: The Second One road in on a wave of pop cultural zeitgeist, and then the joke completely ran out of gas with Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! Yet somehow we were subjected to a fourth installment.
Taking place five years after the events of the last movie (we dare to dream of a world where we actually get a five year break between these movies), and we learn that Tech mogul Aston Reynolds (Tommy Davidson) has developed a space based company called Astro-X that is capable of sending out an energy pulse that will diffuse sharknados before then can become a threat. While Fin Sheppard (Ian Ziering), with his cousin Gemini (Masiela Lusha), are visiting Las Vegas to meet up with his son Matt (Cody Linley) a sandstorm develops and crashes into Aston Reynolds’ shark themed hotel, which of courses turns it into a sharknado. The mystery behind Aston’s reasons for building a hotel that is filled with hundreds of sharks is never fully explored, but what is made clear is that the people of Las Vegas wanted some of the sweet Sharknado publicity that Universal Studios got for being in Sharknado 3.
After saving his son via a borrowed pirate ship from the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino the group find themselves on a mad dash across America; while along the way we learn that the Astro-X pulse weapon is ineffective against these new sharknados because they are not water based, and now the world’s only hope may be in the hands of Fin’s dad Colonel Shepard (David Hasselhoff) who after being rescued from the moon, don’t ask, now works for Astro-X and has been developing a battlemech suit to handle this very contingency, but unfortunately it’s not ready yet. Lucky for America another scientist has been working on the very same thing; Wilford (Gary Busey) is not only a brilliant, and possibly mad, scientist he is also the father of Fin’s late wife April (Tara Reid) who had died in the previous film when space debris crushed her. In the past five years he hasn’t just been working on a battlemech suit he also stole his daughter’s body from the hospital and revived her as a cyborg.
One doesn’t expect a well written story out of this series, but by the fourth outing the people at SyFy Channel aren’t even trying. The flying shark attacks are now tired and boring and the only way they can think to liven up the proceedings is to double down on the stupid. So instead of our heroes being threaten by something as monotonous as a tornado full of sharks we know have a bouldernado when the sharknado picks up rocks while traveling through the Grand Canyan, then we get an oilnado that quickly ignites into a firenado, which is then followed by a hailnado and lavanado, but then because that isn’t dumb enough we get cownado that evolves into a lightningnado. The film big climax is when the sharknado hits a nucleur power plant so that Fin and friends must face off against a nukenado filled with radioactive sharks.
Sharknado: The 4th Awakens is a collection of lame jokes and movie references doled out by our moronic heroes, and a random assortment of has-been celebrity cameos that need to make their mortgage payments. Hasselhoff gets reunited with a couple of Baywatch co-stars, Leather Face from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre provides Fin with a chainsaw, Gilbert Gottfried drives around in a ridiculous storm chaser van, and then there is one scene that kind of sums up this entire series; Steve Gutenberg lends Fin Stephen King’s Christine to out run a lightningnado that is pushing a shark filled World’s Largest ball of Twine.
The previous movie ended with a twitter voting campaign on whether Tara Reid’s character should return or not, as she did return one can assume most of those votes were cast by Tara Reid herself, and this was a clear warning that we were going to get a sequel whether we wanted one or not, and thus Sharknado: The 4th Awakens ends with the Eiffel Tower crashing into Niagara Falls to reveal that Nova’s (Cassie Scerbo) European vacation had been interrupted by a sharknado.
These films are obviously cheap to make, relying on people tuning in just to see how bad it gets, and thus they will continue to make money and we will continue to get crappier and crappier sequels. Now to be fair there are worse movies out there, and I’ve seen a lot of them, but the Sharknado series has just become generically bad, and that is truly the worse thing to be in this genre. So until Sharknado 5: The Heretic airs keep your powder dry and your chainsaw oiled.