"INTO THE STORM" from Warner Brothers/New Line Cinema opens Friday, August 8, 2014.
STARRING: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh, Nathan Kress, Arlen Escarpeta, Jeremy Sumpter, Max Deacon, Kyle Davis, Scott Lawrence and Jon Reep.
DIRECTOR: Steven Quale
SYNOPSIS: In the span of a single day, the town of Silverton is ravaged by an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes. The entire town is at the mercy of the erratic and deadly cyclones even as storm trackers predict the worst is yet to come. Most people seek shelter while storm trackers run toward the vortex, testing how far they'll go for that once-in-a-lifetime shot.
Think back to 1996 when Jan du Bont directed and released "Twister". The outer crust of that story was that of a wacky bunch of storm chasers who wanted to perfect an early warning system for tornadoes by getting their device into the funnel. The inner crust of that story was the broken relationship between Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt with the conflict provided by Jamie Gertz. Although critical reaction was lukewarm, the film grossed $494 million while costing $92 million to make. It has since become a cult favorite.
"Into the Storm" has its share of drama but the story centers around groups of amateur and professional storm chasers who take foolish chances to get footage of nature's most fearsome storm. The story does have layers but they are peeled away as quickly as if subjected to a real tornado. The "found footage" format adds a new level of interest to the presentation but it still doesn't have the same effect as du Bont's film.
The real star of this film is the special effects that went into making the tornadoes--including (dare it be said?) an EF-6. This is explained away by pointing out that there is no upper limit to the current EF-5 category. The storm sequences are incredible and really well-filmed. Even though "Twister" has a better story, this one does have the better storm. It should also serve as a reminder of why it's better to seek shelter than to defy death for a better camera angle.