Into The Storm (Cert 12, 89 mins)
Starring: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh, Max Deacon, Nathan Kress, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Lee Whittaker, Arlen Escarpeta, Jeremy Sumpter, Kyle Davis, Jon Reep.
Documentary filmmaker Pete Moore (Matt Walsh) is poised to lose his funding unless he can drive his armour-plated vehicle Titus inside a tornado. Meteorologist Allison Stone (Sarah Wayne Callies) predicts a weather system will sweep through the town of Silverton and she joins Pete on the road with camera operators Lucas (Lee Whittaker), Daryl (Arlen Escarpeta) and new boy Jacob (Jeremy Sumpter).
On the outskirts of town, the storm chasers encounter adrenaline junkies Donk (Kyle Davis) and Reevis (Jon Reep), who give chase, determined to place themselves in harm’s way to guarantee more hits on their YouTube channel. Meanwhile, Silverton high school vice principal Gary Morris (Richard Armitage) clashes with his two sons, 17-year-old Donnie (Max Deacon) and younger brother Trey (Nathan Kress), shortly before tornado sirens sound.
Shot through the lenses of crazed storm chasers and terrified residents, Into The Storm is a special effects-laden action thriller that harks back to the destruction of Jan de Bont’s 1996 blockbuster Twister. The first-person concept doesn’t always work - shaky handheld footage reduces some action sequences to a blur - but it does facilitate one excellent scene of heartbreak between Donnie and classmate Kaitlyn (Alycia Debnam-Carey). As a visual spectacle, Steve Quale’s film delivers the sound and fury we expect, including one vortex bearing down on an airport and throwing around passenger jets as if they were toys. However, in the calm before this digitally-rendered hell, screenwriter John Swetnam doesn’t spend enough time fleshing out his multitude of characters to ensure we care deeply that they survive the onslaught.