The JOE-DOWN Reviews ‘Sharknado: The 4th Awakens’

This is an installment for a series on this blog where Joe Brown, Sports Editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle, and I have a back-and-forth review of a movie. We will take turns selecting a movie — any movie we want — and review it here. For this installment, I picked “Sharknado: The 4th Awakens.”

The info:

The Movie: “Sharknado: The 4th Awakens”

Starring: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Masiela Lusha

Director: Anthony C. Ferrante

Plot Summary: (From IMDB) Fin, his family and the cosmos have been blissfully sharknado-free in the five years since the most recent attack, but now sharks and tornadoes are being whipped up in unexpected ways and places.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 17 percent

Our take:

Froemming: I’m still reeling from last week’s one-two punch from Brown with “Charlie St. Cloud:” Punch 1, a bad Zac Efron movie. Punch 2, the disturbing human-on-ghost sex romp from it that Brown is apparently into.

And much like sending an email when angry, I have decided to take my revenge out when I have calmed down a bit. So this week, I decided to take a suggestion from the peanut gallery of ours with “Sharknado 4.” We rarely do this, because the last time we did we ended up watching two seasons of “Fuller House.”

Our friends are terrible.

But since I have not seen a “Sharknado” film, I decided why the (REDACTED) not? Brown, I don’t know about you, but I was worried of being lost in the in-depth plot that the first three installments built that I would not be able to follow along in the fourth film. How about you?

Brown: Yeah, I don’t know about you, but I wish I had watched the first three “Sharknado” movies before watching this. Not necessarily because of the quality of the movie, but more because I would like to know what the (REDACTED) was happening.

So, the only thing I know about the first “Sharknado” is the Nostalgia Critic episode on YouTube. The rest, no clue. I think at one point, there was a fan vote to see if Tara Reid’s character should die or not. I don’t trust Americans with elections. I’m sure there was three-to-five million illegal votes for the fate of Tara Reid. DISGUSTING! FAKE NEWS!

Look, folks, the (REDACTED) movie is called “Sharknado,” you know what you’re getting here.

Well, let’s take a bite out of this (REDACTED) sandwich. Sorry, shark sandwich (love you, “Spinal Tap”). Lead us off, Froemming.

Froemming: So my introduction to the first “Sharknado” film I have watched is a mock opening crawl right out of “Star Wars” which explains that there has not been a Sharknado in five years thanks to an eccentric billionaire and his science company, Astro-X.

The science of these films is so all over the place.

Brown: Before we get too deep, Froemming and I need to let you all know that we are not scientists and we are not meteorologists.

Froemming: We then meet an aged, grizzled Steve Sanders, who has left a life of hangin’ at the Peach Pit with his Beverly Hills buddies Fin Shepard, who has left a life of fighting sharks inside tornados for a life of farming in Kansas. His farm is April’s Acres, something I would have caught had I seen the first three films, but April is his dead wife played by Tara Reid, an actress I thought had died years ago.

Brown: So in this world, apparently sharknados are a problem EVERYWHERE. But Fin (his name is a damn shark pun!) lives in Kansas… which is approximately 1,450 miles from the Atlantic Ocean and 1,700 miles from the Pacific (according to my haphazard Google Maps search). There is no conceivable way a sharknado should ever be a threat to Fin. But, guess what? Sharknados!


Brown: Speaking of an inconceivable place for a sharknado, we go to Las Vegas with some girl named Gemini (who is his cousin according to Wikipedia. Sure…) to see Fin’s son Matt. And what is being built in Vegas? A hotel surrounded by sharks. You’re only asking for sharknados…

Also, Carrot Top is an Uber driver which is a. Just the start of a plethora of unnecessary cameos and b. Fitting, because I imagine Carrot Top HAS to make a living as an Uber driver nowadays.

Froemming: Speaking of which, someday we will have to review his cinematic classic, “Chairman of the Board.”

Yes, Aston Reynolds has built a shark-themed hotel in Las Vegas because …. He stopped the sharknados? I don’t know, I’m sure there is a lot of hubris there. Also, this is the first time I have seen Tommy Davidson since “In Living Color” went off the air.

Fin has a feeling that something is about to go wrong. He has lived the past five years in a constant state of paranoia toward tornados lobbing sharks at everything and like Nostradamus, if you predict a billion things, one is sure to come true.

And Fin’s Vegas trip is his billionth prediction of a sharknado attack. But first, we have a million cameos to stuff into here: Vince Neil of Motley Crue, Wayne Newton, literally every A-lister one can imagine.

Brown: Let’s just get this out of the way quick. Who was your favorite cameo in this movie?

Mine, WWE superstar Seth Rollins, who is an Astro-X employee who saves Mount Rushmore from a sharknado. Runner-up trophy to Dog the Bounty Hunter.

Froemming: Steve (REDACTED) Guttenberg. He loans Fin his flashy car later on in the film.

Brown: Did these celebrities get paid in money or cocaine?

Froemming: They were paid via the chance to be on TV again.

Anyway, Fin’s son Matt is going to hop out of an airplane while getting married to Gabrielle, because when in Vegas, why the (REDACTED) not play Russian Roulette with common sense?

But the plane they are flying in causes the dust and dirt in the desert to rile up and begin a tornado, which is probably how all tornados begin.

I really want Neil deGrasse Tyson to live tweet the science in this film.

So now we have the deadly combination of a wind storm and a hotel full of sharks, because this is the only way the scriptwriters could get these godless killing machines into a landlocked state.

Brown: Never mind that the sharks would choke to death from the lack of water and a bunch of sand latching onto their (REDACTED) gills, we see mass civilian casualties in between three Xfinity ads in the first 15 minutes. And at one point, a Chippendales dancer hits a shark with his jock. I’ll write the same phrase here I wrote at least a dozen times in my notes: I mean… sure.

Also, a car that is supposed to offer protection for Fin and his now-daughter-in-law Gabrielle lands perfectly on a rooftop. Gabrielle and Fin lift themselves off a ledge into the car and to pull a Dennis Reynolds, there is NO WAY Fin has the core strength to lift himself into that car.

Froemming: I was confused how the car swirled down an electric green whatchamacallit to the road relatively safely. Maybe I missed something, but at the time I was struggling with what the hell was going on.

Brown: I figured the director saw his kid playing with Hot Wheels and thought, “Yeah, I’ll do this.”

Froemming: Well, this leads to what made me just laugh out loud at the stupidity of this film: They steal a prop boat from a pirate-themed casino and actually sail the (REDACTED) thing as they fight off sharks.

How many sharks did that hotel have? There must have been hundreds pummeling people to bloody pulps at this point in the film. Also, prop boats like that do not have a functioning ships wheel, nor would they have usable sails and whatnot. But hey, this movie was probably written by those monkeys Monty Burns has locked up attempting to write the greatest novel.

Brown: But how are they supposed to navigate around sharkbergs? Because yes, that is a thing that actually happens. Also, Fin uses the wooden ship wheel to pierce three sharks to death because why the (REDACTED) not?

The whole time this goes on, all I could think of was my childhood playing “Sim City 2000.” I could get behind starting fires randomly to spice up the gameplay, or even dealing with a giant eye spaceship that would come down and destroy my stadium and nuclear power plant. But a sharknado, that would be WAY too dumb for a ‘90s computer game.

As I’m trying to soak up the destruction of fish tornado, we get Gary Busey!

So Froemming, Busey just wandered onto set without anyone’s knowledge and they just put him in front of a camera, right?

Froemming: Funny, I believe that is how he also got the Academy Award nominated role of Buddy Holly in “The Buddy Holly Story.” Busey is just that amazing.

And here we have him, in those Buddy Holly glasses, as a mad scientist. He is Wilford, April’s father and I have to admit, I was expecting more lunacy from the guy. This was a pretty reserved acting job in his part.

Brown: It’s Gary Busey, so all I can think of is his big, white porcelain teeth that look like I’m in a men’s bathroom.

Froemming: He has brought April back to life after — I found out later — she was crushed by a meteor or something. Sorry American voters, you lost the popular vote on that one as well.

Now April has a body of a robot, yet still has to train. What is she training for? The (REDACTED) if I know, they never say. She also has to plug herself in after she uses a lot of energy, a plot point that is all but forgotten by the end of the film.

SHARKNADO: THE 4TH AWAKENS — Pictured: (l-r) Ian Ziering as Fin Shepard, Tommy Davidson as Aston Reynolds — (Photo by: Patrick Wymore/Syfy)

Brown: There is some throwaway line about how April ran 32 miles at an Olympic pace. What? She just ran more than a 27.2-mile marathon without breaking a sweat in, what, a leather jumpsuit? That’s not a line I’m just going to ignore there, Wilford.

Also, it made me laugh so hard that April charges herself with a light string that a college freshman would put around his dorm room to make it look cool when he convinces his upperclassmen buddies to buy him Miller Lite.

Now, let’s get back to the sharknados. After Vegas meets the wrath of Jaws’ extended family, the Shepards take the train back to Kansas, only to be, what, stalked by a sharknado? However, because Astro-X blew up the Grand Canyon in an attempt to stop a flood, we now have a bouldernado.

I hate that I just typed that.

Froemming: My favorite part in this film was Gilbert Gottfried playing Ron McDonald and making up all sorts of -nados. Oilnado. Bouldernado. I love Gilbert Gottfried.

And yes, they blow up the Grand Canyon. Something I am pretty sure couldn’t happen without nuclear weapons.

Brown: Don’t worry, folks. There’s a nukenado later!

Froemming: So these sharknados are crossing the country like Kerouac in “On The Road,” aimlessly drifting — except for one that is following Fin and his family. Sure, sharknados hold grudges I guess.

Luckily for Fin, he happens to find himself a chainsaw store (that is literally what they call it in this film) where Dog the Bounty Hunter is laying low after his racially-charged freakout went viral and is now in the business of selling only chainsaws. Must be a lucrative business.

Brown: It’s a chainsaw-only store in Arizona. Do you need chainsaws to take down cacti?

It goes from being a bouldernado to an oilnado, and all I could think is “Man, these people need shark-repellant Bat-spray.” When it becomes an oilnado, I wrote in real time: Are there flaming shar…. Yep, flaming sharks.

And, you’re right, the sharknados are stalking Fin. I’ll get ahead of ourselves, but these tornados go Kerouac on everyone’s ass and follow Fin from Las Vegas to Arizona. Kansas, Chicago, all the way to Niagara Falls… sharknados are where Ian Ziering go. Can we start calling sharknados Tori Spellings?

Froemming: The film goes in another ridiculous direction when we see Stacey Dash as the mayor of Chicago. Not even in a film with sharknados will I find Dash holding an elected office believable.

Brown: You have no faith in Dionne from “Clueless” holding public office?

Froemming: She and Kennedy from MTV both went in weird, Fox News directions in life — proving my long-standing belief that Gen X was truly terrible.

But hey, we need to talk Hasselhoff here. He’s come a long way from being drunk and shoveling a hamburger into his face to being a man who has returned from the moon!

Brown: This isn’t surprising to me. David Hasselhoff, along with Rocky Balboa, ended the Soviet Union. David Hasselhoff brought down the Berlin Wall.

I don’t know what to make of Hasselhoff because I never saw the other movies. In this, he’s just grandpa to an obnoxious, cute kid and a bunch of bit players I know nothing about.

It’s Hasselhoff, so obviously, I love it. But I have no other reason to love it, other than Hasselhoff.

Let’s get the Shepards back to their dirt farm in Kansas, which they apparently arrived at in “Christine,” according to Wikipedia. I wish Christine was still a killer car and made that family drive into a bridge abutment.

Froemming: The farm is no match for a gusting tornado full of sharks, I’ll tell you that. Because the sharknado has suddenly turned into a cownado! Cows are being tossed around, crushing everything in their path as Fin is reunited with his son — a son who only thinks of his mother as a shark.

Brown: I imagined Bill Paxton, rest in peace, survived the cownado by improbably strapping himself to a pipe with his belt like he does to live in “Twister.” That is a movie we need to do someday.

Now, during this storm, Fin, Little Gil and Gemini all survive the Shepard house being lifted off its foundation, into the heart of the cownado until it stops at the giant bean in Chicago! So, the house isn’t strong enough to stay on its foundation, but it’s sturdy enough to survive a tornado that goes across state lines?

Froemming: To quote Michael Bay to Ben Affleck, “Shut the (REDACTED) up!

Brown: Sorry guys, I’m using too much brain power in a movie called “Sharknado.”

So before all this impossible (REDACTED), April angrily leaves her father’s house/lab in San Francisco and comes to her husband and family’s aide, revealing she’s not dead via space rubble. And like you mentioned earlier, Froemming, Little Gil says his mom is a shark instead of poor CGI Iron Woman…

How much therapy is this kid going to go through? Answer: None. Thanks, Trumpcare.

Froemming: ACA is still alive, Brown.

Yeah, they reunite with April much to Fin’s surprise that his wife is not dead, but is now a robot. You can make your own sex robot jokes, people. The JOE-DOWN is above that.

Brown: Sex robot jokes? What about Fin having extra-marital affairs with a shark?!

Froemming: Look, Brown, I don’t know what you’re into, but ghost sex and shark (REDACTED) is over the line for me.

Now with the gang all together, they figure out — after the sharknado has gone nuclear — that they need to cool the nukenado. How? Well, Aston Reynolds figures that Niagara Falls is the best solution. Yes, direct a nuclear sharknado toward New York instead of, I dunno, the (REDACTED) ocean? Sure, why not?

Brown: Apparently the only way they could stop sharknados before is because they were made of water. But, when they started becoming sandnados, oilnados, lightningnados, nukenados, etc., not so much. Sure, whatever, I’ll say it’s feasible because this madness needs to end.

After Reynolds sky-jumps in a squirrel suit to Niagara Falls, he turns on a beacon pod that isn’t strong enough to deactivate the nukenado. So he’s gone (until it’s revealed he’s alive in a post-credit scene).

So, who can save the world now? Why, April and Fin in a mech suit can! It is the worst “Avengers” ever.

Froemming: Remember at the start of the film when April needed to charge herself like a battery? Apparently the filmmaker forgot.

We are also treated to a mini-”Baywatch” reunion before a flying shark decides to hassle the Hoff (remember when that was a thing?) and swallows him whole.

Well, Fin is going crazy with the cheese wiz in his mech suit, fighting off sharks while April has suddenly got super powers? I don’t know, there is not a hell of a lot of reason to this film.

Also, Fin in the suit looked a lot like when George Michael had the jetpack in “Arrested Development.”

Brown: Meanwhile, Fin’s eldest son and cousin decides the best place to put Little Gil in the midst of a sharknado is a barrel. April goes to save Little Gil, leaving Fin to kill the sharknado. He does it, but Fin, after getting bitten by a shark, passes out and is eaten by a shark. Which is eaten by another shark. Which is eaten by a bigger shark. WHICH IS EATEN BY A BLUE WHALE!

Worst Russian nesting doll ever. Plus, blue whales eat krill, not sharks. But whatever, we’re watching “Sharknado.” Like a Betsy DeVos-led education system, science has no place here.

Froemming: And like the Trump administration’s views on health care, reason goes out the window when to revive Fin after gutting him out of a bunch of sharks, April uses two tiny sharks as defibrillators to get his heart going again.

This really happens in the film, folks.

And just when we think the madness has ended, the Eiffel Tower comes crashing in, meaning the sharknado epidemic has gone global and we are left on a cliffhanger for the inevitable “Sharknado 5.”

Brown: “Sharknado 5: The Search For More Money.”

Honestly, I feel dumber for having watched this. Can we get in our mech suits and fly over to recommendations?


Froemming: Eh, it wasn’t the worst film we have watched here. It gets annoying when a franchise becomes self-aware of itself and puts that into the film. I was entertained for an hour, unlike some other films. But I really wouldn’t recommend it.

Brown: No. There’s some fun stupidity, but four movies into an absurd series, it’s too self-aware to be fun camp. Probably didn’t help us jumping in for the fourth installment, either.

Here is what’s coming up for the next Joe-Down:

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