It was a little over three years ago (May 21, 2011) when a Category EF5 tornado hit the town of Joplin, Missouri, which is less than a two hour ride from my house. I remember being stunned by the devastation that had occurred so close to home. That event is mentioned (and I actually caught myself thinking about it several times) in the new effects filled film, “Into the Storm.”
In the little town of Silverton the school year is about to end. One of the final assignments for the students was to film a video time capsule, expressing where they think they will be 25 years from now. We meet Donnie Morris (Matt Deacon). Donnie is 16…no wait, he’s 17…it depends on if you ask him or his dad…but I digress, the kid looks like he’s 23. Anyway, his dad (Armitage) is the school’s Vice Principal, which doesn’t do him any favors with friends or the chicks. His younger brother, Trey (Nathan Kress, who actually IS 23) and he live with their widowed pop, their mother having been killed in a car accident. Due to the school project both Donnie and Trey manage to capture their pop in a bad mood as they head off to school. 200 miles away, a storm-chasing group, led by the cocky Pete (Walsh) are lamenting their lack of action so far in the season. Realizing he will soon lose his funding Pete yells to the heavens, “We NEED a Tornado!” Surprise!
Chock full of special effects but sadly bereft of originality, “Into the Storm” is 1996’s “Twister,” complete with flying cow. Here Walsh is channeling Cary Elwes’ Jonah…he does what he does for the money now, not like when he was younger and would visit the local parks where sometimes nature would take its course. The film is really a film about people filming each other and their struggle to do so on an extremely windy day!
Lacking zero plot development, other than “here comes the next storm,” “Into the Storm’s” only saving point are the visual effects, rendered in all of their Dolby glory. But even those are taken to the ridiculous level as we learn that Silverton, a town with 60 kids in its graduating class, has it’s own International Airport, complete with a half dozen 747s just standing by. To me this was yet another example of the producers believing that “more is more” and straining all credibility in the process. This is a movie that really blows….a lot longer than needed.