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Wellington Daily News - Wellington, KS
  • Review: ‘Into the Storm’ a disaster pic done in by blandness

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  • Giving credit where credit is due — and there’s not much credit to go around in “Into the Storm” — this is a movie that wastes no time getting down to business. We get a rainstorm, lightning, a tornado, and four teens in a car sucked up into the funnel and dashed to their death, all before the title pops up on the screen.
    Then the time wasting begins, and it’s our time.
    It’s the next morning, and the team of professional storm chasers who have been on the road for three months looking for some good tornado footage, but finding none, are distraught. Damn! We missed another one! We never know where to be with our armored vehicle (it’s called the Titus, and it has lots of cameras and a set of grappling claws) and our truck filled with fancy equipment!
    Bunch of cry babies. We don’t care about them. Let’s visit with some of the locals in the suburban, Midwestern Silverton, where brothers Donnie and Trey (Max Deacon and Nathan Kress) are making video time capsule pieces for their high school because that’s what their assistant principal dad (Richard Armitage — yeah, the guy who plays Thorin in the “Hobbit” movies, slumming here) has ordered them to do.
    Hold on, there’s also the gaggle of local goofball drunks, the “amateur daredevils” who call themselves Twista Hunterz, getting video of everyone and everything, as weather reports start suggesting that some bad storms are on the way to Silverton.
    There are a lot of people with cameras in this movie. There are more cameras in “Into the Storm” than there are guns in an Arnold Schwarzenegger film. There are also too many characters with too many uninteresting issues. Let’s see, Pete (Matt Walsh) owns the Titus, and is a demanding boss who really wants to know what the inside of a tornado looks like (Why doesn’t he just order “Twister” from Netflix?) Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies) works all of the electronic stuff for Pete, but can only think about her 5-year-old daughter, who she dropped off with Grandma and Grandpa three months ago. Donnie and Dad aren’t getting along, Trey accuses Dad of being the perpetrator of the problem, Donnie is head-over-heels for down-on-her-luck classmate Kaitlyn.
    There are plenty more people and problems, but that storm front is coming, high school graduation is about to start on the (wide open) football field, Donnie and Kaitlyn decide to visit the old abandoned paper mill where there are “chemicals and hazardous materials,” hail starts falling — big hail, REALLY big hail — a wall cloud forms (Google it!), then a vortex drops from the sky and someone shouts, “It’s headed for the school!” All of this goes down just before someone else shouts, “A second cell is coming!”
    Page 2 of 2 - And then Silverton becomes Tornado Town. “There’s another cell on the way!” “We’ve got multiple vortices touching down!” And, of course, unbeknownst to anyone who’s at the school or in the Titus or might be slugging down another beer or three, there’s peril at the paper mill, where Donnie and Kaitlyn are trapped and — I can’t believe I’m about to write out these words — the water is rising.
    The tornadoes are everywhere, and they are among the cheesiest-looking ones ever committed to the screen. The tornado in “The Wizard of Oz” blows any of these away. The effects folks cheaped out in creating the big funnels but (warning: some words of praise) the rampant destruction, from cars flying through the air to buildings exploding, actually looks quite good.
    But that ray of brightness is dimmed by bad dialogue, badly delivered. “This is the biggest tornado I’ve ever seen,” says one guy. But he doesn’t shout it. He says it calmly, as if was reading it off a page rather than experiencing pandemonium.
    This all becomes part action movie, part soap opera, and morphs into a story of storms chasing storm chasers instead of storm chasers chasing storms. The effects get bigger, the music gets louder, and it all feels kinda boring.
    INTO THE STORM
    Written by John Swetnam; directed by Steven Quale
    With Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh, Max Deacon, Nathan Kress
    Rated PG-13
    ——
    Ed Symkus covers movies for More Content Now.

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