Sharknado 4: The Fourth Awakens (2016) – A Review

Sharknado 4: The Fourth Awakens 2016 SyFy sequel

I’m not the audience for Sharknado anymore.

Oh, I like bad movies. I enjoy laughing at cheesy crap. And the first Sharknado qualified as an oddball, dumb, poorly made piece of disposable entertainment that delivered in that category.

However, as Sharknado became ‘a thing’ and now The Asylum and The SyFy Channel have churned out four of these movies each summer since it debuted, the novelty has completely worn off for me. These flicks are no longer so bad they’re good-type of movies – or at least mind-numbingly mildly amusing to watch. They’ve become so bad, they’re just bad with nothing left to offer me.

The Sharknado movies have become an unexpected successful platform to blatantly sell advertising time and promote shows for SyFy. They are made to get the title to trend on Twitter for an evening, to have fans feel satisfied they’re going to be able to point out all the D-List cameos the movie is able to cram in and make everyone feel like they’re slumming it in the world of cinema for the night by watching an intentionally poorly-made, totally ridiculous, nonsensical, cheap movie. Lots of reactions like, “Oh wow this movie is so bad and I love it!” will follow.

For me this movie is bad. The end.

Sharknado 4 Movie Review 2016Sharknado 4 is the equivalent of an unfunny prop comic who has overstayed his welcome on stage and keeps on avoiding the hook that is attempting to yank him back behind the curtain.

It’s kind of pointless to review these Sharknado movies, since there’s not much to really review in them, but what the heck I did this three times before so why not make it four.

Your normal standards for quality and reasons why you would like or dislike a movie are not in consideration. You sit down, watch these stupid movies and are supposed to laugh at them. Through the subsequent sequels the fun has dropped less and less each time and I can say that I’m no longer laughing and am now officially incredibly bored with ‘the Sharknado thing.

As if it makes any difference the story (that it looks more than ever like they made it up as they filmed) once again revolves around shark killing hero Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering) who while in Las Vegas a sharknado hits after five years of dormancy. There’s some kind of tech company that have eliminated sharknados until this fateful day or something. Fin’s son is there to introduce his dad to his new wife. I think Fin’s cousin is with him too, I think it’s his cousin.

I have no idea, nor cared about any of Fin’s gang he runs around with this time. They were all completely forgettable. They should have just had Cassie Scerbo’s Nova return to share screen time with him. For me she’s been a more entertaining kickass character than Ziering, plus she’s very good looking.

Tara Reid as April Shepard in Sharknado 4After they all do battle with the Vegas sharknado they set off to travel back home to make sure Fin’s youngest son is safe. Along the way it’s revealed Fin’s wife Tara Reid is still alive after fans had the option of saving her from the cliffhanging shark ending from the last movie. I can’t believe fans voted to bring her back. I think that poll must’ve been rigged.

She has some kind of cyborg body thanks to Daddy Gary Busey who outfitted her with Iron Man strength and a lightsaber hand. Fin bounces from Vegas to the Grand Canyon to Texas to Kansas to Chicago to Niagra Falls battling various types of sharknados with funny names like sand-nados, oil-nados, boulder-nados and cow-nados.

Are you laughing yet? The movie hopes so ’cause this is as good as it gets folks. Unless seeing Baywatch co-stars Alexandra Paul and Gena Lee Nolin run away from a sharknado in slow motion is more up your alley. Geez, that Baywatch joke was ancient twenty-five years ago!

Sharknado 4 Ian Ziering Tara Reid 2016 SyFy bad movieIt’s all embarrassingly dull.

My friend is into these Sharknado movies so I ended up going to her place to watch this one. She loved at how bad it was. I guess that’s the perfect audience SyFy is hoping to attract with these flicks. People get together watch the latest Sharknado movie and make a night of it.

I sat there stone faced not even slightly amused. The only thing that kept me mildy interested is the lazy crutch of them inserting dopey ‘celebrity’ cameos which have become the norm for this series. Gilbert Gottfried showing up reminded me I have to catch up on a few episodes of his podcast. That’s a great podcast. Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast. Check it out!

The cameos really do nothing for me. Remember way back in the first one when the only recognizable face was a small part John Heard had as a barfly? Now it’s a supposed funny laundry list of any remotely recognizable person to show up to get killed by a flying shark.

This is the only interesting thing to watch for because the filmmakers are no longer doing anything unique or fun with the whole sharknado premise. The first movie actually had some silly ideas for a story about sharknados, now all they rely on is cameos and variations of what came before.

Sharknado 4 Ian Ziering castFor the rest of the movie there’s the tired antics of shark killing, with no logic, no story, horrible special effects, the winking at the audience, the random cameos, the pop culture jokes, the movie references, all trying to convince me that it’s so funny that they’re making this movie so bad – it just really annoyed me. I didn’t enjoy any of it. Nope, I’m not your audience anymore Sharknado.

There’s the ongoing ludicrous destruction of landmarks that was already old a long time ago in big budget movies. It doesn’t make it funny seeing sharknados destroy them in scenes with crappy special effects an Asylum intern probably put together with After Effects.

The actors are running around and the movie doesn’t even remotely try to make it look like these flying sharks or threats are anywhere in the vicinity of them. These movies look so cheap I don’t see why they just don’t spit out a new Sharknado movie every month at this point. It can’t honestly take a full year to plan and make one of these flicks can it?

People getting killed by flying sharks have progressively looked worse since the first movie. It’s always – a whizzing shark flies past someone and then they hold up a bleeding stump or a shark just lands on them and smooshes them. They try to add a twist and escalation of the sharks by making them be embedded with rocks or be glowing or electrified, but it’s meaningless. All it did was make my eyes heavy.

Every now and then they would attempt to do these exposition scenes (as if that would help adequately explain what was going on) that would not only just grind things to a halt, but I think they actually made the movie’s momentum move backwards if that’s possible! I think the movie seriously thinks fans care about the Shepard family or something.

Nothing over-the-top funny would be happening, like amusing dialogue or screen-chewing acting, so I would wish they would just go back to an insipid action scene, then when they did I regretted that and realized it didn’t matter – the movie had absolutely nowhere to go.

Sharknado 4 Ian Ziering Tara Reid cast sequel 2016The finale rehashes the big talked about ending of the first one when Ziering got swallowed by a shark and had to chainsaw his way out of it. Now it’s the whole Shepard family in a daisy chain of each being swallowed by a shark followed by getting swallowed by a bigger one. 

See, the movie has nowhere else to go with its premise. The ideas for Sharknado have been exhausted and all they rely on now are those weary cameos to provide a distraction during the runtime and an excuse for fans to tune in.

To me a great bad movie is one with a certain level of sincerity and effort put into it. The ones that actually legitimately tried to make a good movie and turned out to be terrible. Irwin Allen’s The Swarm. Viva Kenieval. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Troll 2. Manos: The Hands of Fate.

The famed Ed Wood isn’t remembered because he intentionally set out to make bad movies. He actually attempted to make good ones that inadvertently turned into awful end products. I guarantee you when he was making Plan 9 From Outer Space he didn’t set out to make a movie that he hoped people would laugh at, but he was dead serious about it – that’s what makes the movie so funny.

Sharknado 4 is almost like a ‘bad movie’ for people who aren’t able to find the entertainment out of a legitimately bad movie. It’s like they’re ‘bad movies’ for those who don’t want to have any brain activity occurring to enjoy a bad movie.

Here they have to wave their arms and scream that it’s a bad movie and you’re supposed to be laughing at it – here’s a bad joke, here’s some bad special effects, Al Roker is talking about sharknados, that’s so funny! Doesn’t this look silly! Look at Wayne Newton singing! Here’s an old Star Wars quote. Here’s a reference to The Wizard of Oz. He just killed a shark in a zany way! Oh, oh this person had a reality show a long time ago! Now the sharks are nuclear and glow, isn’t this funny?

Everyone is in on the already old joke and trying their darnedest to make the most ludicrous movie possible with the sole purpose of getting laughs and it fails – at least for me it did.

They can put David Hasselhoff in a silly robot suit and make him say stupid, scripted cheesy dialogue all day and I’ll never laugh at it the way I was howling back in ’89 when he was singing on the Berlin Wall with utmost earnestness to crowds of people who were shooting fireworks back at him. That’s what made it so damn funny! When he’s in on the joke and going for the laughs I’m not laughing.

David Hasselhoff Berlin WallThat Berlin Wall performance of his has more comedy value than anything in Sharknado 4.

But it doesn’t matter what I say, fans will still tune into these movies and some will continue to be entertained by the Sharknado series. The easy rebuttal to any criticism is – ‘hey, it’s supposed to be bad!’ And they’re right. But it would have been nice if these flicks managed to maintain a level of  ‘Ha Ha Bad’ rather than turning into ‘Ugh Bad’.

In my mind Sharknado now exists to simply to sell X-Finity ads and make everyone feel like they’re part of a popular fad while the joke is long since over. SyFy isn’t going to admit it though, especially with the tease of a fifth Sharknado next year that will involve going to Europe I guess.

Gee, I wonder if the next one will have any ‘celebrity’ cameos?


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