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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (Blu-ray)
Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (Blu-ray)
Asylum // Unrated // October 6, 2015 // Region A
List Price: $19.97 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Nick Hartel | posted December 7, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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I'm not going to bury the lede here, "Sharknado 3" is terrible. No one should second-guess their own suspicions, especially when the film arrives with the subtitle "Oh Hell No!" What began in 2013 as a routine entry in the SyFy/Asylum films pantheon of terrible, Saturday night cable TV-movies with "Sharknado" has, to date, resulted in a trilogy that for undefinable reasons, seems to captivate the minds of viewers and bring every hacky c-list actor/news personality/politician/etc. out of the woodwork for cameos in each new, each less entertaining installment. Following up somewhat where "Sharknado 2: The Second One" left off, "Sharknado 3" (I refuse to reference the terrible subtitle again) finds Ian Ziering's Fin Shepard (what a clever name) rushing to what seems like a crisis needing his unique brand of heroism. Syke, Thunder Levin's script tricks you into thinking the Sharknado has returned this early, instead we see Fin arrive at the White House to receive the the inaugural Order of the Golden Chainsaw award from President Mark Cuban (one of many eye-rolling cameos) for his brave defense against two Sharknado attacks. Just when all is right in the world, the Sharknado returns, tearing Washington DC to pieces and resulting in the film's most entertaining action piece, seeing minor celebrity after minor celebrity taken out by a wide variety of sharks.

The pinnacle of "Sharknado 3's" entertainment factor occurs moments before the opening credits, approximately 15-minutes in. Director Anthony C. Ferrante puts to screen the immortal image evoking the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima, this time with the flag impaled by a shark and being raised by none other than Ian Ziering, Mark Cuban, Mark McGrath, and Ann Coulter. In this single striking image, we can learn all we need to know about "Sharknado 3." The good, the bad, the excess, and the overwhelming sense of self-awareness that infects "Sharknado 3" to the point of being nearly unwatchable. At 93-minutes, "Sharknado 3" has 73 minutes of movie left to provide at least a mildly coherent tale of marine-based meteorological mayhem, yet for all intents and purposes, can't get over the series' false sense of accomplishment and self-worth to offer something resembling the unabashed goofiness of the premiere installment. The celebrity cameos this time around are even more over-the-top and pointless than "Sharknado 2" and the plot meanders from one poor visual effects sequence to the next with varying degrees of pacing.

"Sharknado 3" does have its moments. One of the first post-opening set-pieces sees the return of Cassie Scerbo as Nova, in an armored RV fit for shark slaying. She's accompanied by one of the more enjoyable pieces of stunt casting, Frankie Muniz as the RV's engineer. In fact, the first third of "Sharknado 3" as a whole gave me hope the film would deliver the D-grade B-movie goods. All that is undone by the time Tara Reid manages to reappear on screen in extended sequences that are blatant ads for SyFy's parent company, Universal and its theme park. Even as the film crawls to a finale with a pointless David Hasselhoff appearance as Fin's father, ushering the primary cast into space, complete with, you guessed it, chainsaw lightsabers, it's all too little, too late. By then the film has lost it's tongue-in-cheek mentality and is either too serious or too self aware (by the time Michele Bachmann shows up as herself, I was ready to call it quits; the constant appearances by The Today Show cast is even more nauseating) to be worth anyone's time.

The bottom line, is honestly, despite what the manufactured hype is leading you to believe, the kitschy nature of anything Sharknado related well past its prime. "Sharknado 3" is less a sequel to a bad cable TV movie and more an exercise in smug self-awareness; there are zero real stakes in the movie and at its core, it's little more than a collection of over-the-top, poorly executed ideas that serve little more to highlight uninteresting, d-grade visual effects and shoehorn in pointless celebrity cameos. I'm all for fun and love an awful film (see "Samurai Cop 2" for a self-aware terrible film done right), but "Sharknado 3" is a genuinely pointless second and third act, centered around a concept past its expiration date. At most, come for the cold open and leave early.


THE VIDEO

The 1080p 1.78:1 transfer at minimum lets a viewer see how far this series has come from its origin as one-off SyFy offering. While the cinematography is still on a budget, the digital camera work is incredibly clean and offering up really solid detail. The live action work pops off the screen, highlighting the half-assed visual effects (sorry, they are better than the original, but still a decade or more behind the times) more so than before. Colors, depending on the scene, are natural and vibrant; there's a strong contrast between the grey-themed storm sequences and the more idealistic shots on location at Universal Studios. In terms of any technical artifacts that sometimes exist from DTV/TV productions, "Sharknado 3" is flawless, sporting zero compression issues.


THE AUDIO

The English 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is deceptively intense. The LFE is incredibly aggressive and coupled with chaotic surround work, "Sharknado 3" definitely sounds like an action movie. That said, the soundwork doesn't necessarily sound realistic and the mix itself is merely "ok." It's clearly a case of someone thinking overloading the senses makes for an effective sound mix. Thankfully, the dialogue exists more on the plane of reality than you'd expect for a SyFy/Asylum feature. It's generally warm, properly mixed (even when all those other effects go off the rails), and only occasionally is there some disconnect from reality due to poor ADR work. Somewhere in the middle of all this, the film's incredibly easy to tune out score plods along as needed.


EXTRAS

"Sharknado 3" sports a long list of special features, although it is largely a case of quantity over quality. There are a handful of sub-30 minute featurettes: "Lights, Camera, Sharks: The Making of Sharknado", "Growing Pains: The Evolution of Sharknado VFX", "Bite Marks: Famous Faces in Sharknado 3", and "A Story Romance: A Sharknado Love Story". All cover the film in a very shallow way, with some like "Bite Marks" merely pointing out things anyone who's seen the film already knew. On the more promotional side of the spectrum is "Archie vs. Sharknado" (yep, that comic exists) "Feeding Frenzy" which is a promo for a feature-length Sharknado documentary, as well as a a "Making of the Soundtrack" featurette.

Of more substance is a gag reel, extended scenes, two alternate endings (one with unfinished VFX, the other shot solely as a joke), a before-and-after comparison of the film's VFX, and the most worthwhile bonus, a feature-length crew commentary.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Following the 15-minute cold opening, "Sharknado 3" slowly devolves into a truly pointless mess of a film. Despite a really solid visual presentation and aggressive, hyperactive audio presentation, "Sharknado 3" isn't worth watching beyond the opening credits. It's an exercise in tedium, guided by ham-fisted self-awareness that uses up what little goodwill this joke of a series had left. Sadly, by the post-credits stinger alone, it's obvious "Sharknado 4" is coming. Send the message that it isn't really needed after all and leave this one be. Skip It.

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