Guilty pleasure. Defined by Webster’s as “something, such as a movie, television program, or piece of music that one enjoys despite feeling that it is not held in high regard”. That word and definition definitely describes my love of the old B-movies from my childhood. And it definitely describes the Sharknado movie franchise. This is why I love these movies so much. They take the extraordinary and blow it out of the water. They is so ridiculous and over the top that they can’t help being great. This latest installment of the franchise does not disappoint.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
If you are unfamiliar with the franchise (and frankly, how dare you!) let me give you a crash course. The Sharknado franchise (written by Thunder Levin, Directed by Anthony C. Ferrante, and produced by David Michael Latt) follows the irreverent Fin Shepard (played by Ian Ziering) around the United States as he battles a freak storm of the same name. A tornado full of sharks. Yet Sharknado is so much more than that. It is laden with monster celebrity cameos, off the charts pop culture references, and takes the ridiculous to the extreme. It has been set in areas of the U.S. such as Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C. (where Mark Cuban of Shark Tank fame played the President…see what they did there??), and Las Vegas. Each time the sharknado being taken down by a blast from a bomb or other type of incendiary device. The fourth installment strays slightly from this formula but not enough that it loses any aspect of what drew fans in to begin with.
Sharknado: The 4th Awakens takes place five years after the previous movie, at the end of which April Shepard (played by Tara Reid) was believed to be dead. The movie opens in Kansas where we see that Fin now lives on a farm named April’s Acres (in homage to his dead? wife). Little Gil, born at the end of the previous movie is now five years old and obsessed with sharks. We also learn that the country has been sharknado free for the past five years thanks to Aston Reynolds (played by Tommy Davidson) head of the Astro-X Corporation. Astro-X is the maker of a device called the Astro Pod, which is able to disintegrate a sharknado before it is able to wreak its usual havoc. Fin leaves the comfort of his farm to make his way to Las Vegas (where the grand opening of a shark themed hotel is taking place) for a little family reunion and to try and relax a little after the devastation of the death? of his wife. But it would not be a Sharknado movie if things went that smoothly would it?
Once in Vegas the blood, carnage and devastation begin. Lo and behold, after five years of peace a sharknado rears its ugly head. Except, this one is different! See, all other sharknado’s have been water based, which is why the Astro Pods worked so well. This new sharknado is dirt based and alas, the Astro Pods are ineffective. Whatever will our hero’s do?!?! Well, Fin does what he’s best at, killing sharks. Aston Reynolds is fast at work coming up with a solution to render his pods useful again. And what about April you may ask?? By some small miracle she has actually survived! [insert cheers and applause here] However, April is now Robo April thanks to her father, played by none other than Gary Busey (I mean, if you don’t watch this movie for anything else, then at least watch it for him!). Mr. Busey plays a mad scientist employed by Astro-X. He takes his daughter from the hospital after talking Fin into taking her off life support, then works his magic on her. So not only does she have the chainsaw hand, but a ninja star and lightsaber attachment as well.
But wait, there’s more! David Hasselhoff returns as Colonel Shepard (gotta love the Hoff). Carrot Top plays an Uber driver. Dr. Drew Pinsky, Todd Chrisley, and Adrian Zmed make cameos, and then, well, you know. Dog the Bounty Hunter (Dwayne Chapman) plays a chainsaw loving Texan. Steve Guttenburg makes an appearance and makes a plug for his Syfy movie franchise (Lavalantula and 2 Lava 2 Lantula). And Gilbert Gotfried plays a storm chaser named, are you ready for this…Ron McDonald. There are also numerous pop culture references. Think Twister, Wizard of Oz, Baywatch, and Star Wars (I mean, the name of the movie IS The 4th Awakens afterall). I could go on about all of the references and cameos but then you, dear reader, would have nothing to look forward to, besides the surprise ending that hints at a possible Sharknado 5 in the works?
Sharknado: The 4th Awakens originally aired on Syfy network on July 31st. If you were unable to watch at that time, have no fear. You can watch the movie on-demand or on the Syfy mobile app or on the website at your leisure.