Main cast: Richard Armitage (Gary Morris), Sarah Wayne Callies (Allison Stone), Matt Walsh (Pete), Max Deacon (Donnie Morris), Nathan Kress (Trey Morris), Alycia Debnam-Carey (Kaitlyn), Arlen Escarpeta (Daryl), Jeremy Sumpter (Jacob), Kyle Davis (Donk), Jon Reep (Reevis), and Scott Lawrence (Principal Thomas Walker)
Director: Steven Quale
Do you recall Twister, that crappy tornado movie? Well, Into the Storm also features tornado chasers, and ramps up the absurdity to new heights.
There are basically three groups of idiots whose lives would intersect thanks to tornadoes gone wild. First, we have Pete, a surly storm chaser, who is looking for a really big moment for him to catch on film and restore the faith of those increasingly disillusioned and grumpy people that finance his endeavors. He has a team – camera men and drivers Daryl and Jacob, and the analyst Allison Stone (ooh, it’s Lori from The Walking Dead). He is especially hard on Allison because he believes that her so-called data analysis was to blame for several missed opportunities in the past. When a recent tornado hits town and Allison predicts that more would hit the town of Silverton, he is skeptical. Oh, and he has Titus, a modified armor vehicle that can supposedly anchor itself to the ground during a tornado and give him the best view of the eye of the storm.
In Silverton, we have Vice-Principal Gary Morris, played by the same dude who once wore a charming pair of Speedo in a British soap opera, went up against Robin Hood because he wanted to shag Marian, and pranced as a dwarf in some movie about a hobbit. I have a theory that they hired him because they wanted Hugh Jackman but Richard Armitage is cheaper while channeling that man all the same in this one. Gary is, predictably enough, that dour widower who has issues with his teenage sons Donnie and Trey. It’s graduation day and, despite the signs of an incoming storm, the Principal insists on having the event take place outdoors. Donnie, the eldest who is also the resident videographer, bails on the graduation party to help his crush Kaitlyn film her project in an old abandoned paper mill.
And then, we have Donk and Reevis, two unemployed losers who film Donk in various stupid stunts for YouTube, hoping that they would find fame and fortune that way.
All three groups eventually meet when the tornado hits town. Actually, make that “tornadoes”, because there are anything from two to four (or maybe six, I lost count) tornadoes on a rampage at the screen at any given moment.
The characters are all one-dimensional stereotypes, and the teenage angle is predictably annoying and leads to calamity – Donnie refuses to answer his father’s frantic call when there is a signal, because he’s so over the parental control thing, but when things go down the crapper, he’s screaming for Daddy to come save him and Kaitlyn. Allison is the more sensitive and caring one of the storm chasers, who is also a single mother that increasingly misses her daughter, while Pete is a jerk with a heart of gold buried somewhere deep inside. The other characters are just there, with Donk and Reevis trying in a half-baked manner to bring some comic relief.
The characters are just here to react to the tornadoes, of course. Here, the tornadoes are stuff straight out of old Ultraman cartoons (in fact, I recall Ultraman battling a tornado monster once upon a time) as they suck in fire and set everything in their path on fire, and pull a Voltron where several tornadoes combine to become one huge thing of massive destruction. There are scenes of houses being blown apart, cars and vehicles flying, that kind of thing. All of these scenes are so over the top that they would feel right at home in a monster-attacks-the-world kind of movie. Everything feels cold and clinical, so the whole thing is just things being destroyed like this movie is some kind of tornado porn. Towards the end, the movie tries to talk about how the human spirit is amazing because of solidarity or some kind of nonsense, but what I get instead is people proclaiming themselves courageous heroes just because they happen to survive a natural disaster. I guess the word “hero” has no meaning these days.
Watch Into the Storm if you like to see things get smashed or blown up. Just don’t expect to feel anything for anybody in here – this isn’t that kind of film.
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