Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens (2016)
As much as the insane idea of the Sharknado films has always appealed to me, things did not get off to a good start with the first instalment. It somehow didn’t find the right balance between cheap tackiness and gleeful insanity. The second movie, however, really started to get things on the right path. And the third film was my favourite of the lot. It was so gloriously demented that I loved every minute. And, love or hate these movies, you can never accuse them of being dull.
Sadly, this fourth instalment in the biggest franchise around, based on shark-weather-related disasters, is a step back down in quality and fun. It’s almost as if the makers didn’t realise when they’d hit the sweet spot last time around, and have subsequently gone too far. Perhaps they have reacted to feedback from viewers who had a different viewpoint from my own, or perhaps it’s just a sign that this silly series has run its course.
Do I really even need to describe the plot here? In short, no. All of the main players return – Ian Ziering and Tara Reid having been the stars from the start, although they’re rejoined by David Hasselhoff, and probably a few other faces that I’ve already forgotten from their appearance in the third movie (forgive me, the cast lists of Sharknado movies aren’t given too much room in any of my memory banks) – and a whole bunch of sharks end up attacking people from the air.
I’m not going to knock anyone for appearing in this. A payday is a payday, and I have to give the leads their dues for getting through this with relatively straight faces. There’s also another hefty selection of cameos, and I suspect there were many familiar faces that I didn’t even recognise, including Gary Busey, Gilbert Gottfried, Dog The Bounty Hunter, Stacey Dash, and many more.
Director Anthony C. Ferrante should know what he’s doing by now, but it appears that the ongoing success of these movies has actively encouraged a sloppiness and tendency to put nothing onscreen that could signify efficient use of even the lowest budget. Writer Thunder Levin does what he has been doing for the past instalments. There’s no nod and wink too obvious that he won’t make it (most viewers will know exactly what’s coming as soon as the main characters have to head to Kansas). Inevitably, that means that some of them work. It’s just a shame that, this time around, more of them fall a bit flat. But it’s hard to say if that is the fault of Levin or the fault of a movie that features, for example, a scene in which someone manages to “surf” a car off a Las Vegas rooftop and land it in a completely drivable condition.
I know that, just by admitting my enjoyment of some of these movies, some people will dislike me. I know that I am part of the problem. And I know that I should figure out a way to be part of the solution instead. But, god help me, I know that I’ll also be waiting to watch whatever they bring to the table for Sharknado 5 too.
Excuse me, I think it’s about time I now treated myself to 2 Lava 2 Lantula.
Despite my ambivalence, for want of a better word, towards this fourth instalment in this ridiculous franchise, I’d still have to recommend the boxset, released today here in the UK, to anyone who has enjoyed some of the daffy entertainment that these movies provide. You’re getting all four films for the price of one, essentially, so you can’t ask for a much better deal.
DIRECTOR: ANTHONY C. FERRANTE
WRITER: THUNDER LEVIN
STARS: IAN ZIERING, TARA REID, MASIELA LUSHA, DAVID HASSELHOFF, TOMMY DAVIDSON
RUNTIME: 85 MINS APPROX