TIME Television

Sharknado 2: The Best and Worst Moments

Gory deaths, celebrity cameos, groan-inducing one-liners — The Second One had it all

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Syfy’s Sharknado 2 never aspired to be high art, but its titular plot device — massive tornadoes that cause sharks to rain down from the sky, which made last year’s original a viral hit — did all it could to get people tuning in and talking with one campy, ridiculous OMG! moment after another. Below, reactions from TIME’s television critic James Poniewozik and reporter Nolan Feeney.

JAMES PONIEWOZIK

  • Best Death (human): I’ve got to call an upset here and give this to a *non-shark* killing: the head of the Statue of Liberty flies across New York Harbor and takes out Shark Tank‘s Daymond John, Cloverfield-style. You gonna take that, sharks?
  • Best Death (shark): “This is for you, pops!” If you had “Richard Kind uses a souvenir baseball bat to knock a shark into the Citi Field scoreboard a la The Natural” in your Sharknado 2 pool, congratulations!
  • Best Celebrity Cameo: Far too many to choose from — maybe far too many, period — but my pilot’s hat is off to Sharknado 2 for saluting the mother of all disaster comedies, Airplane!, by putting Robert Hays in the cockpit.
  • Best Zinger: “Are we still live? Thank you for watching the Today show!” [Continues killing shark]
  • Best Emotional Moment: If I could be eaten by a shark so that the protagonist of a movie could tear the ring off my severed hand and use it to propose to the love of his life, I would know that my time on this Earth had not been wasted.
  • Best Improvised Weapon: Tara Reid. Has a rotary saw. Where her hand used to be. That is all.
  • Best New York City Moment: In the climactic scene, the citizens gathered in Times Square are able to fight back against the shark storm, because of course — fuggedaboutit! — everyone has a weapon in their car trunk.
  • Worst Cross-promotion: We get it, NBC Universal — you own a lot of other TV properties! I’ll give you the admittedly funny payoff of Al Roker and Matt Lauer stabbing a shark to death with an umbrella. But the repeated, shill-y placements for the Weather Channel? If you’re not going to give us Jim Cantore getting eaten by a hammerhead during a live shot, don’t even bother.
  • Worst Distortion of Reality: I will accept that this is a movie about killer flying fish. I will accept the convenient fiction that, in a city of eight million people, you can easily fetch the same cab driver later in the day because he gave you his card. Hell, I’ll even accept that, for some reason, the New York Mets are playing a game at like 9 in the morning. But the idea that all those New Yorkers in the final battle would have found nearby convenient street parking in Midtown? You lost me.
  • Worst NYC Geography: Moments after Lady Liberty smooshes Daymond John, somewhere in lower Manhattan, we’re in an entirely different, industrial neighborhood — Greenpoint, Brooklyn, from the street signs — and here comes the same head rolling down the street! (Actually, maybe the Liberty head is sentient and can fly about the city, killing at will? I smell a sequel — Libertynado!)
  • CGI: It looks like Syfy few a threw more pennies into the production this time out, but that doesn’t stop us getting images like the “hospital” that looks, pretty much, like a parking entrance superimposed on a row of brownstones.
  • Worst Pun: “But the next time you offer to lend a hand, don’t be so literal about it.” Ouch! Hey, if you can’t laugh when your soon-to-be-fiance has had her hand bitten off on an airplane by a flying shark, when can you laugh?

NOLAN FEENEY

  • Best Death (shark): Marvel at the chainsaws all you like, there’s something charming about the way Skye (Vivica A. Fox) kills flying sharks the old-fashioned way — with a sword.
  • Best Death (human): I’m sure that, for at least one actor in this movie, watching gossip blogger Perez Hilton get killed by shark while he waits for a subway train is a dream come true.
  • Best Celebrity Cameo: Andy Dick dismissing Fin’s overly dramatic storm speech with a sarcastic “Okay, I can see you’re upset” is probably the greatest thing Andy Dick has ever done.
  • Best Timely Cultural Reference: Selfies, which Mora (Courtney Baxter) takes a lot of while visiting Times Square and the Statue of Liberty. (Sadly, she does not take one with a shark.)
  • Best Improvised Weapon: Tara Reid’s saw-hand trumps all, obviously, but it’s only a matter of time before Matt Lauer stabbing a shark with an umbrella becomes the GIF of the week.
  • Best Unexplained, Improbable Science: In a movie about a shark tornado, why not have the hero ride a shark like a surfboard through the air after getting blown off the Empire State Building?
  • Best Inappropriate Public Display of Affection: “I forgot to give you something the last I saw you,” Skye tells Fin before — bam! — giving him a big ol’ smooch. Too bad he’s in the middle of reconciling with his ex-wife.
  • Best Pun: After Fin pulls an American Ninja Warrior over the sharks swimming in the flooded streets of New York, Martin (Mark McGrath) tells him, “You know what you did, don’t you? You jumped the shark.”
  • Worst Missed Opportunity: As the Sharknado hits Manhattan, strange weather patterns also bring freezing temperatures and threats of snow. The two meteorological phenomena don’t exactly clash, though, so viewers are unfortunately deprived of Sharksnowdo. (Perhaps the writers are just saving material for another movie.)
  • Worst Inappropriate Public Display of Affection: Skye gives Vaughn an unusually passionate good-luck kiss on the cheek before they swing to safety. It seems like an odd thing to do when, oh, I don’t know, she’s still trying to make out with his dad.
  • Worst Unexplained, Improbable Science: A weather reports notes that sharks are falling from the sky at a rate of two inches per hour. How do you even measure that?!
  • Worst Social Media Coordination: While the broadcast instructed viewers to use #Sharknado2, the Sharknado Twitter account was promoting #Sharknado2TheSecondOne. That’s going to be an awkward marketing meeting.
  • Worst Timely Cultural Reference: If you’re going to make joke about hipsters in New York City, you better at least show flying sharks ripping off the faces of mustache-sporting jort-wearing artisan-pickle-selling Williamsburg residents.

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