Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens

Year: 2016
Studio: SyFy
Director: Anthony C Ferrante
Writer: Thunder Levin
Cast: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Gary Busey, David Hasselhoff, Cheryl Tiegs, Lloyd Kaufman, Wayne Newton, Al Roker, Paul Shaffer, Adrian Zmed

My first instinct when writing this review was to talk about wondering how much more way out the Sharknado franchise could go. Every film in the series has built on the scope of the threat from the one that came before to comical effect - the previous instalment had a sharknado that was set to wipe out the entire East Coast of the US, one Finn Shepard (Ian Ziering) and his former astronaut father (David Hasselhof) had to go into space to stop.

But as long as there are chainsaw gags, celebrity cameos and tornadoes with sharks in them, it's a bit of a misnomer to wonder what writer Thunder Levin will come up with – even asking yourself how each film will one-up the last is probably considering it more than Levin him/herself did.

It's been five years since a sharkndao thanks to a network of meteorological stabliser towers, owned and deployed by a tech billionaire that seems to put the Elon Musks of the world in the movie's satirical crosshairs somewhat (but again, that might be attributing more smarts to the script than even the filmmakers realised).

They of course go wrong, another sharknado bubbles up from the seas and skies and once again Finn and the whole gang have to spring into action. There's a sharknado in Las Vegas that sucks the sharks out of a casino pool, April (Tara Reid) being rebuilt with cybernetics by her scientist father (Gary Busey), the destruction of the Grand Canyon to stop a catastrophic flood and more. Tornadoes hit so many different kinds of terrain and conditions that Finn and his family have to face a firenado, a lavanado, an oilnado and (in the film's biggest laugh, delivered by Gilbert Gottfired as a borderline-hysterical newscaster) a cownado.

Steve Guttenburg as Colton from Lavalantula shows up with his self driving car Christine – yes, a 1958 Plymouth Belvedere. There are gags about 1996 disaster epic Twister, The Wizard of Oz and what seemed like more laugh-out-loud pop culture in-jokes than the rest of the series.

Ziering still sells effortlessly sells it, and it's the characters not realising they're in a comedy that makes it all the funnier, like Airplane did all those years ago.

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