Director: Anthony C. Ferrante
Cast: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Tommy Davidson, Masiela Lusha, Cody Linley, Ryan Newman, Imani A. Hakim with Gary Busey and David Hasselhoff
Plot: Five years have passed without a Sharknado thanks to human technology. However a freak disaster brings back Sharknados as we have never seen them before.
There are two good jokes in Sharknado: The 4th Awakens. The first one is the title (c’mon, it’s worth a snort of laughter), and the second is when a Sharknado knocks over a stack of yellow bricks as the lead characters are running down a road in Kansas. Otherwise, this is just as bad – if not somehow worse – than those that came before.
The problem with Sharknado is that, with every other instalment, the producers feel compelled to make the stakes bigger. The first one was, surprisingly, grounded in the beginnings of logic. A disaster movie meets shark movie in downtown LA. Its small setting meant that SyFy were able to handle the action with – perhaps not ease – but consistently. However, as each movie takes the story bigger, upping the playing field more and more, the movies just get sillier. You feel like Anthony C. Ferrante has lost control of the ball and is now simply pretending that wherever it ends up was all part of the grand plan. In the fourth Sharknado, we are no longer dealing with simple tornadoes, but sandstorms, Firenados, Thundernados and – for the finale – a radioactive nuclear Sharknado. National landmarks are brought into the equation. The main problem Sharknado 4 has is that it keeps dragging dodgy scientific explanations into everything. The movie is constantly flitting between a ridiculous fight scene with no logical explanation and then the actors firing off expositional science mumbo-jumbo. When the radioactive hurricane is inches from the leads without anyone keeling over from radiation poisoning, all of that science talk goes out of the window. You wish that Sharknado kept to the silly stuff and made the set-pieces smaller. So much time is lost on useless cameo characters. For one, the cameos are so vague you need to have Wikipedia open while watching the movie to actually realise who anyone is. For another, hardly any of them can act, so the story is held together by wooden delivery and over-reacted death scenes. The cameos are also massively disappointing red herrings. Stacey Dash (of Clueless fame), shows up as a mayor with a grudge for Ian Ziering and she feels like she is going to be a major plot point. But a few wasted scenes later, she turns out to be just another gag. Those scenes could have easily been left on the editing room floor, leaving extra time spent with the central family. The family values seems to be a key part of the Sharknado story, but the narrative is in too much of a rush to give anyone time to emote. Again, most of the time you need Wikipedia up to figure out who is who. Alas, the movies ignore the achievable silly nature of most B Movies and go for a mock blockbuster appeal. The end result is a film that is constantly held back by terrible green screen, poor CGI and hammy camera tricks that make the whole thing look like a student film that went too ambitious. Then again, you probably didn’t need this review to tell you that.
Final Verdict: More nonsense from the Sharknado team. The issue is that the more these films are celebrated, the more they go in the wrong direction.