Into The Storm
  Roger Ramgoolam
September 2014

Front Row: The Paradise Pulse Movie Review


Director - Stephen Quale
Main Cast - Richard Armitage (Gary), Sarah Wayne Callies (Allison), Matt Walsh (Pete), Max Deacon (Donnie), Nathan Kress (Trey)
Classification - Action/Thriller
Rating - PG 13
Running Time - 89 minutes


Into the Storm was a summer release in the United States, and is part of the genre that is infamous for churning out insipid offerings to holiday moviegoers. This film, while not an exception to the norm, does provide enough rollercoaster thrills and cheap laughs to keep the viewer entertained. It is crucial however, that the moviegoer enters the theatre with lowered expectations and at least a modicum of a sense of humour.


In a nutshell, Into the Storm is a bit like the idiot brother of its spiritual predecessor Twister (1996); the brother that irritates you but also makes you laugh because of his penchant for audacious hijinks. Admittedly, the movie never tries too hard to take itself seriously. One thing which it convincingly does however is to reaffirm to us smug humans that nature is really in charge.


Into the Storm achieves this by its marvellous use of computer generated special effects which unreservedly convey nature’s majestic fury. The viewer is left with the distinct impression that the tornado, not the quivering humans, was the real star of the show (Shades of the sinking leviathan in Titanic (1997)?)


In this movie, little attempt was made to moralize or to teach any profound life lessons. When such an attempt was made (for example, live every day like it’s your last!) it sounded feeble and almost contrived. A measure of a successful film is its ability to create a bond between the audience and its main characters. By this measure, Into the Storm does little to encourage the individual to care what happens, to really feel hope that the “good guys” in the movie will find a way to survive.


A fumbling attempt was made to build the “human element” into the story. There was the mother’s painful separation from a young child, the single father’s anxious and touching concern for his two teenage sons in the face of accusations of parental ineptitude (“Dad, you‘re so easy to talk to!”) and even a stab at the well-worn high school romance.


Perhaps the strongest emotional element was the selflessness shown by the character “Pete” who seemed at first to be a callous individual who was fiercely driven (reminiscent of Captain Ahab) to capture footage of the “storm of a lifetime”. Later on “Pete”, in an act of self –sacrifice, helps to save others who were in mortal peril. His demise is spectacular; the scene with his character sailing high into and then amazingly above the storm to enjoy for an eternal moment a burst of golden sunlight and azure sky, only to plunge earthwards, was one of the highlights.


I confess to being hooked from the first scene, in which the frenzied shrieking of the wind harmonised with the blood curdling screams of the doomed teenagers and the rending of glass, made for a satisfying melange of B-movie kitsch. Straight away I was reminded of the B-movie classic, Snakes on a plane (2006).


After this kind of introduction, everything else seemed to fit in with the movie’s slightly tongue in cheek aura. There was the ATV jumping into the pool of fire, and then there were the ebullient antics of the alternate pair of storm-chasers which culminated in them being strung up in a tree, miraculously unhurt.


The first 20 minutes of the movie were otherwise forgettable and it was with a sense of relief that we got to the fabulous hailstorm shower which preceded the arrival of the star of the show, the computer generated tornado. Other memorable scenes were the jumbo jets “taking flight” without the influence of the human hand and the flaming cameraman Jacob, who was sucked up into the vortex of the tornado. “Jaw dropping” and “worth the price of admission” could scarcely describe the emotional rush which accompanied these scenes, as well as the previously mentioned scene portraying “Pete’s” tragic demise.


And what of the acting? Richard Armitage’s performance was unconvincing and stilted. He did not come across as fatherly, but as an elder brother.


Sarah Wayne Callies was sadly underutilised. She has genuine acting ability (The Walking Dead (2010- present) but was given too few lines given her role in the film.


Matt Walsh did not come across as the driven near obsessive storm chaser as the story suggested but rather as a buffoonish caricature of the real thing. His character only evoked any depth of feeling when he heroically tried to rescue his compatriots.


Max Deacon and Tony Kress were underdeveloped and hackneyed characters who, due to their vapid acting, did little to excite much interest.


Ultimately, while Into the Storm is shorn of solid screenwriting, it has plenty of wow factor in the special effects department. This latter feature, when taken with its quirky brand of self-effacing comedy, makes for an enjoyable if not cerebral movie going experience.


Paradise Pulse Front Row Rating 7/10









By: Roger Ramgoolam | COLUMNS-REVIEWS | September 2014

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