12 – 89mins – 2014
Ever since I missed the opportunity to see Into the Storm at the cinema, I have had a moderate interest in catching up with it. Moderate because my interest was never intense enough to pay full price for the DVD, but I always kept my eye on the sales to see if it would drop to a more reasonable figure (the hallowed £3.00 mark). For some reason my county’s library system never did purchase a copy for their catalogue, so for two and a half years I went without.
Flicking through the new additions available to Fire Stick owners on Amazon Prime Video the other night, I noticed I would be able to stream an HD copy for FREE. Bargain! But would Final Destination 5 director Steven Quale’s 2014 disaster movie live up to my accumulated expectations, or would I wish it had remained unseen and unattainable indefinitely?
In short, it was fine, adequately delivering exactly what I expected a movie of this calibre would. Namely, an FX-heavy shit-storm of death and destruction raining down from the Black Sky (to give John Swetnam’s spec script its original title). What I was not expecting was the found-footage element. Clearly despite seeing the trailer upon initial release, that detail had passed me by. Yes, this was Twister for the YouTube generation!
“Gotta take care of the planet.”
“Or the planet will take care of us, right?”
Into the Storm edits together shaky cam P.O.V. footage from three disparate groups all battling the extreme elements in Silverton, Oklahoma. There’s stern single father and high school vice principal Gary Fuller (Richard “Thorin Oakenshield” Armitage) whose strained relationship with his video-obsessed sons (Max Deacon and Nathan Kress) reaches a crescendo on Graduation Day. There’s hard-balling professional storm chaser Pete Moore (Matt Keeping Up with the Joneses Walsh) and his assembled crew in their fortified ‘tank’, The Titus. Finally, a pair of thrill-seeking Jackass wannabes (Kyle Davis and Jon Reep) who add an absurdist dash of humour to the dour tragedy.
As a “second cell” is incoming, Gary joins forces with Allison Stone (Sarah Wayne Callies) from Pete’s disgruntled team in order to drive across the ravaged city and track down his AWOL son who is holed up in an abandoned warehouse with love interest Kaitlyn (Alycia Friend Request Debnam-Carey). But regardless of the ensemble cast, the CG-wizardry is the real start of the show here, depicting the convergence of two tornados into a rare “EF5” for some A-grade disaster porn which even the high school’s storm shelter doesn’t stand a chance against.
Despite throwing all manner of out-of-this-world weather at the screen (a tornado made of fire, really?!), the biggest way in which Into the Storm surprised me was in giving Veep star and mild-mannered comedian Matt Walsh a real attitude. Putting his love of the game ahead of his team’s safety made Pete into a first class A-hole who only really made amends when he put his life on the line in the dramatic airport finale. In most other regards this is passable hyperbolic eye candy we’ve seen numerous times before – and usually from Roland Emmerich!
CR@B’s Claw Score: