Into the Storm review: A tornado and a rollercoaster walk into a bar . . .

Twister and shout: Nathan Kress chases footage in Into the Storm

Film Title: Into the Storm

Director: Steven Quale

Starring: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh, Max Deacon

Genre: Adventure

Running Time: 89 min

Fri, Aug 22, 2014, 01:00

   

So, let me get this straight. All these tornados make their way across the country, flipping up planes, unearthing trees and uprooting barns, but not one of them contains a single shark. No barracudas? No alligators? No piranhas? Well, who the hell is going to want to watch that? There’s no getting away from it. The makers of Sharknado really have made life close to impossible for their colleagues in the meteorological disaster-film business.

Anyway, if the folk behind Into the Storm have a USP, it is brevity. When such things make their way into commercial cinemas they usually go on for bleeding hours. We have to wait as a slight zephyr crosses Wyoming and gradually grows into a full-sized storm system. Massed annihilation generally comes as a blessed relief.

Steven Quale cut his teeth on the fine last Final Destination movie and, suitably attuned to unpretentious pulp, he has pared the picture down as much as possible. Into the Storm, like most American films, deals with sons and their fathers. Hobbit graduate Richard Armitage plays an assistant principal who, recently widowed, is having a hard time making friends with his two boys. Will a touch of extreme weather bring them together? We’re betting on it.

The characterisation, dialogue and performances are disappointing even by the standards of disaster pictures. Quale would have been better to lean towards the broad comedy of Final Destination.

Moreover, the half-hearted attempts at found-footage – sometimes we’re watching camera phones; sometimes the footage is filmed conventionally – suggest that certain production meetings were never allowed to come to their proper conclusions. Happily, the action sequences are an absolute hoot. Cars are flung hither and thither. The shots of tornadoes in throws of birth are properly spooky. Into the Storm not a good film, but it’s a decent carnival ride.

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