run time: 89 mins
considered: Action, Thriller
director: Steven Quale
starring: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh, Max Deacon, Nathan Kress, Alycia Debnam Carey, Arien Escarpeta, Jeremy Sumpter, Lee Whittaker, Kyle Davis, Jon Reep, Scott Lawrence, David Drumm, Brandon Ruiter, Jimmy Grace
movie summary: Anyone that lives in the middle part of the United States know that they are living in “tornado alley” and their lives could be turned upside down at any given moment. If movies like Twister, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012 taught us anything it is that mother nature is not to be messed with. When the terrifying cyclone makes its way down from the dark storm clouds everyone should seek cover because the results can be deadly.
On the flip side, there are people like Pete (Matt Walsh) and his team of “storm chasers” who drive across the plains in search of tornadoes for the purpose of recording and studying them. He has employed a smart meteorologist, Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies) and several cameramen Daryl (Arlen Escarpeta) and Jacob (Jeremy Sumpter). Together they drive around in a state of the art weather van and Pete’s tornado vehicle, a tank named the Titus. Pete has been searching for almost 20 years to find the perfect storm, he wants to cash in the video and make lots of money off his research.
Across the state in Silverton, Oklahoma, Vice Principal Gary Morris (Richard Armitage) is getting ready for his high school’s graduation ceremony. His two sons Donnie (Max Deacon) and Trey (Nathan Kress) will be on hand to record the events for a video time capsule. Everything for the ceremony is going according to plan until Donnie gets a chance to help his high school crush Kaitlyn (Alycia Debnam Carey) on a video presentation that was ruined. He decides to skip the ceremony leaving Trey to handle all the recording before heading off to an old waste treatment centre with Kaitlyn. Trey manages to cover for his brother until the rain comes pouring down causing the ceremony to be rushed and people seek shelter in the school.
By the time the rain starts Pete and Allison are already en route to Silverton because the storms brewing above show a lot of potential for tornadoes. While on the road they come across a small tornado that begins to chew through the lands and head towards the high school causing little to no damage. Gary and Trey survive the high winds and broken glass only to find out that Donnie is in trouble at the treatment centre. The same tornado continued on to their location pinning them under a mountain of debris.
When Pete and his crew reach downtown they witness something never recorded on camera before, four tornadoes touching down at once destroying the core of the town. Gary and Trey end up losing their SUV in one of the tornadoes and seek help from Allison to get to the treatment centre. Pete doesn’t like the idea but offers to help, while en route to the centre more tornadoes touch down causing the motorcade to get broken up. Allison, Gary, and Trey survive a van crash before reaching the remains of the treatment centre. The three of them try their best to rescue Donnie and Kaitlyn who have been submerged under water for some time.
The rescue efforts continue at the debris pile when Pete shows up to inform everyone the horrible news that the storm cells have merged and the largest tornado in recorded human history is forming. The mega storm is about to touchdown outside of the town limits with wind speeds estimated at over 300 mph. The super twister is headed straight for the high school where most of the town is hiding out.
my thoughts: First, I went to see Into the Storm because of all the negative reviews on rottentomatoes.com, most of them made me laugh at how bad they bashed this movie. After reading so many bad reviews I said to myself I had to see why some many hated this movie when in fact I quite enjoyed it. Second, the whole time I was watching this movie I thought back to the days when I was in the sixth grade learning about the weather. It was around the same time Twister came out and I fell in love with the movie because of my crush on Helen Hunt and the fact chasing tornadoes looked like so much fun! I can’t understand why people compared the two and bashed this new one as harsh they did.
Having said that, even I will admit the acting in the movie is pretty bad. Each character has their own unique reason to be in the film while their stunt work will not win any awards. Richard Armitage is the biggest name in the credits, he plays a widower who has lost touch with his two sons who kinda hate him. Once disaster hits though, the tornadoes will bring the family closer together through their determination to find each other. Max Deacon is Donnie, the shy nerd of his class who has a crush on the prettiest girl in school. When she gets in trouble and he can actually help her, he abandons everything to help her out in an attempt to win her over. His younger brother Trey, played by Nathan Kress, is around to provide some comic relief to a pissed off brother and a strong-willed father. The family plays second fiddle to the storm chasers but are the most important people who help the story move towards its ending.
Matt Walsh plays a great selfish wannabe reality show star by driving his tank into the path of tornadoes, hoping he survives and is able to cash in his millions. He doesn’t really care about his crew just as long as they get the perfect shot of the tornado and he can use their work for his own benefit. He butts heads all movie long with his smart, beautiful, and wise meteorologist Allison, played by Sarah Wayne Callies. She’s spent her whole employment being judged by Pete and the guys but knows more about weather patterns then all of them and is out to prove them all wrong. On top of her smarts she is a very caring person with a daughter of her own. It was only fitting that when she comes across Gary and Trey she wants to do what ever she can to find Donnie, on top of protecting the town from the tornadoes. Without the storm chasers this movie would be all about Gary and his family surviving numerous tornadoes in a short period of time, but instead we get a great mix of ordinary people trying to survive and those crazy storm chasers looking to make a buck of their misfortunes.
One of the only bright spots of the whole film is the CGI of tornadoes. I decided to pop in Twister while I typed this review and came to realize that tornadoes in 1996 looked more realistic than the ones from 2014. When they hit the ground running, tornadoes tend to destroy everything in their paths which can be entertaining on the big screen. Sadly though when the “big” tornado forms and eats up the high school it just looks so unrealistic! The story is believable but some of mother nature’s so-called best work is not.
my final thoughts: I paid full price ($13.25) to see Into the Storm and I wouldn’t advise any of you to do the same. If you feel obligated to go see this, wait for a cheap day, the cheap theatre, or Netflix. Since the movie was not in 3D you’re not actually missing much in terms of special effects from the big screen to the small screen. You will be entertained, laugh a few times, and enjoy a thrilling ride as a group of people try to survive mother nature yet again.
my star rating: 6 out 10
rottentomatoes.com: 21% out 100%
rogerebert.com: 2 out 4