By Laurie Coker

Rating: D+/C-

Anyone who has ever been in or near a tornado should avoid Into the Storm, because its creators offer impressively realistic storm sequences demonstrating the dramatic destruction of these unpredictable weather phenomena.  I have only seen one in my life and have viewed these storms’ devastation. While watching director Steven Quale’s awe-inspiring multi-storm vision, I felt the intensity and fear that surround such events. That said, the real truth is everyone should avoid Into The Storm, at least at full price, because in spite of its special effects, it is a dull film that bangs on the edge of asininity like a storm door at the hands of an F5 super storm. 

Filmed in a pseudo documentary format – from the cameras of two teens and a storm chasing team – Into the Storm takes place over one devastating day, in Silverton, Oklahoma. While I felt the storm sequences captured the reality and terror of tornados, the actors were far from realistic; in fact, I saw little more than poorly represented stereotyped of characters. Richard Armitage and co-star Sarah Wayne Callies work hard to fill shoes with gaping holes in their soles. Their characters and all the others for that matter are poorly developed and are afforded little important or interesting dialogue. And the plot goes beyond asinine in certain aspects. According to the storyline, winds of the final storm exceeds 300 miles an hour, lifting semis, pulling trees from the ground and dragging the indestructible Titus storm chasing tank out of its solidly planted, stormproof anchors, but Armitage’s shirt tail never comes out of his pants, nor does Callies’ hair ever muss. This F5 terror sucks people out of a storm drain and not once sullies the lead character’s shirt or tailor –fit trousers.

If for nothing more than the value of seeing incredible special effects and terrific storm images, Into the Storm is worth maybe a matinee price, but viewers must be willing to toss all other realities out the window. Screenwriter John Swetnam gives us a predicable, paper thin, stale tale. If only he could have measured up to the power of the film’s scary storms, but alas his script is but a drizzle on a spring day in Texas – not enough to wet the disaster film lover’s thirst.

Just for the sheer tornado terror factor, Into the Storm garners a PG-13 rating and I agree, but beyond that it is predictable fluff. Like so many other such films these days, it is heavy on captivating visual imagery and light on substance. I am placing a D+/C- in my grade book. It might be lower had I not felt physically moved by the intensity of the tempests. And I enjoyed pointing out all its unashamedly apparent absurdities.

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