Brian Henry Martin at the movies

Bad Case of Wind

Published Thursday, 21 August 2014
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Monday night and I'm holding onto my hat, in preparation to be blown away by a cinematic cyclone.

Unfortunately, Into The Storm is a unnatural disaster and not because the worst tornado of the century smashes into a helpless town in Oklahoma but because the performances and dialogue are so dire. Sadly, all the best special effects in the world can't save a truly stodgy script.

For the first thirty minutes, the only wind that I could catch was the tumbleweed blowing across the cinema. We are introduced to what must be the dullest characters ever created, from a pair of nauseating teen brothers, to an annoying pack of storm chasers, to a couple of redneck jackasses. Incredibly, all these goofs are armed with their own cameras to record their silly antics and inane conversations.

The eye of the storm is centred on the city of Silverton, where the local high school is conveniently staging their annual graduation. "It's headed for the school" declares metrologist Alison (Sarah Wayne Callies). Cue mass mob panic as well as plenty of no-expense-spared shaky cam. "I've got to get my son. He's out there" says the Vice Principal (Richard Armitage) "After his mum died, I kind of lost it for a while". After The Hobbit, I think Armitage has kind of lost it for a while too. Back in Middle-Earth, he was the brooding charismatic presence, here in the Mid-West he's a shallow hapless parent.

Clearly Director Steven Quale got his knickers caught in the twister as plays no attention to the wooden performances all around. I'm a big fan of disaster movies having watched endless TV repeats of The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure. But what those films had in abundance, regardless of dodgy effects and corny lines, were truly great actors; Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Gene Hackman and Shelley Winters. No such luck here.

The screenplay is so bad it's embarrassing, full of hot air and lacking gusto. "This is crazy man! A truck near fell us on us" says one of the moronic storm chasers. While one of the tiresome teens trapped under a building gushes "Live every day like your last, as one day it will be. I love you Dad."

Strangely, the most exciting thing that happened during this screening was the digital print, like my brain - freezing. Of course I welcomed this brief interlude for the reboot, allowing time to consider the sheer dramatic destruction I had just witnessed. When the movie eventually restarted the majority of the audience were clearly cheering the twister to sweep this nonsense into another state.

What is billed as an action packed thriller is anything but. Yes, the devastating tornado ripping through an airport is an explosive sequence but any excitement is soon deflated by another dreadful line of dialogue. Into The Storm blows hot but mainly cold, my advice is stay indoors.

Into The Storm (Cert 12a) is now on general release.

© UTV News
B. H. Martin
B. H. Martin

Brian Henry Martin is an accomplished documentary filmmaker and UTV's resident film critic, appearing regularly on UTV Live Tonight.

No matter what the film, there's a good chance Brian has seen it.


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