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The Last Sharknado: It's About Time -- or more accurately, way past time


Last call for Sharknado -- or at least that’s what they say. Syfy photo

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Jaws didn’t know when to stop either.

Three sequels to Steven Spielberg’s 1975 career-starter (none of which he had anything to do with) were spewed into theaters, with Jaws: The Revenge finally washing ashore in 1987 and ending this nonsense. It received seven Golden Raspberry awards but alas won just one, for Worst Visual Effects. This was a very competitive year, though, and Bill Cosby’s Leonard Part 6 emerged as a dominant force with three Razzie wins.

Syfy’s The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time (Sunday, Aug. 19th at 7 p.m. central) is the duly dreadful sixth movie in this preposterous franchise. A review copy is affixed with the opening disclaimer, “All Spoilers Embargoed Until Air.” But it’s probably OK to say that airborne sharks again are key to the “story.”

The original Sharknado premiered with little pre-publicity on the night of July 11, 2013. It provoked a spontaneous “Twitter storm” in times when President Trump didn’t trigger one nearly every day. Viewers by the hundreds of thousands, many joining Sharknado in progress, had a grand time goofing on a film that made Syfy’s early spring entry of that year, Chupacabra vs. The Alamo, seem like Homer’s The Iliad.

Sharknado provided career life rafts for Ian Ziering and Tara Reid, both of whom were well past their respective glory years of Beverly Hills, 90210 and American Pie. The only actor of any distinction, the late John Heard, had a few scenes as a bar fly named George, who rather quickly ended up satisfying a shark’s appetite.

The cameos then picked up considerably in caliber for Sharknado 2: The Second One and Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, both of which were sort of fun to watch. Traipsing through Sharknado 2 were the likes of Judd Hirsch(!) , Billy Ray Cyrus, Robert Klein, Kelly Ripa, Michael Strahan, Richard Kind, Robert Hays, Perez Hilton, Downtown Julie Brown, Matt Lauer and Al Roker. The latter two came back for more in Sharknado 3, which also folded in David Hasselhoff, Bill Engvall, Jerry Springer, Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb, Savannah Guthrie, Lou Ferrigno, Lorenzo Lamas, Bo Derek, Frankie Muniz, Penn Jillette, Anthony Weiner, Jackie Collins, George R.R. Martin and the odd couple duo of Mark Cuban and Ann Coulter as the president and vice president of the U.S.

In comparison, Last Sharknado has the vapors, is on fumes and even verklempt in terms of cameos of note. Without revealing the historical characters they play (this one has a lot of time travel), keep an eye or two open for Darrell Hammond, Ben Stein, Tori Spelling, Dean McDermott, Gilbert Gottfried, Roker (gad, him again), Dee Snider, Christopher Knight, Bernie Kopell, Leslie Jordan (whom I at first hoped was the late Little Jimmy Dickens) and Neil deGrasse Tyson (whose performance is atrocious even by Sharknado standards). Two veterans of previous Sharknados, Bo Derek and Gary Busey (his name is incorrectly spelled “Busy” in the review copy’s closing credits), drop in for a climactic something or other. And if you look extra hard, you might spot Latoya Jackson and Kato Kaelin in s swirling, whirling sequence near the end.

Ziering and Reid, who have weathered all five previous films, remain instrumental as shark gladiators Fin Shepherd and April Wexler. As some might actually remember, Sharknado 5: Global Swarming ended with the Earth destroyed and Fin wandering alone through the wreckage. His last mission is to go back in time and prevent the very first sharknado in order to waylay all of the future ones.

The creatures populating Fin’s first stop in prehistoric times are to special effects what pork rinds are to fine dining. But no one’s ever anywhere for very long, with Fin and various familiar supporting characters hurtling incomprehensibly through space to fight flying sharks in medieval times, the Revolutionary War era, the Old West, 1997 San Francisco and the very distant future.

Ziering and Reid -- plus fellow Sharknado veterans Vivica A. Fox as Skye and Cassandra Scerbo as Nova -- gamely attempt semblances of performances amid goings-on that should have gone that away after the third film. Charitably speaking, Last Sharknado is about as much fun as watching Joey Chestnut eat his 55th hot dog or Chris Matthews interrupt another guest.

Assuming that Syfy keeps its word, this truly will be the end of the Sharknado line. But Ziering, Reid, Fox and Scerbo almost assuredly will be signing and posing at many a future fan convention. Good for them. Everybody’s gotta eat.

GRADE: F (which is a compliment)

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