Ever since my teens I've been a sucker for big-budget Hollywood disaster films with Twister remaining one of my favourites to this very day. Still, having watched that film recently, despite the solid story and acting, the visual effects are starting to look a little dated to what is currently expected. When I saw the first trailer for Into The Storm last year the film immediately jumped near the top of my list of films to see. So what's it about?
In the span of just a few hours, the city of Silverton is ravaged by an unprecedented onslaught of the most furious twisters they’ve ever seen. 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 others run toward the vortex, testing how far a storm chaser will go for that once-in-a-lifetime shot.
Into The Storm is primarily told through the lens of the films' characters who include a couple of high school teenagers who film their events, and storm chasers who have cameras everywhere. Typically "found footage" films annoy me, perhaps due to excessive shaky-cam footage or obscured events, but in this case it makes sense. Real-life storm chasers have many cameras to capture all the events, and it gives a level of excitement and tension to this film too.
It's fair to say that the visual effects are a highlight of the film with the destruction simply jaw dropping and far surpassing that in the previous benchmark tornado film, Twister which, let's face it, was one of the first CG heavy disaster films, and still a remarkable achievement. This isn't just a film about a bit swirly bit of wind and rain, but it's the destruction of buildings that looks stunning.
While the majority of the cast, in particular the younger high school kids, are mostly unknowns there are a couple of actors that carry the film pretty well. Richard Armitage (who most wouldn't recognise due to prosthetics and makeup, played Thorin Oakenshield in Peter Jackson's recent trilogy of The Hobbit) is decent as the Vice Principal of Silverton High School, while Sarah Wayne Callies (most well known as the doctor Sara from Prison Break and Lori in The Walking Dead) plays the meteorologist Allison.
Both of these actors are fine in their leading roles in the film and while the rest of the cast rarely stand out they never have a great script or dialogue to work with anyway and, in fact, the film would be better off without some of the characters - we're looking at the drunk Jackass styled idiots Reevis and Donk who serve little purpose besides a few light-hearted, eye-rolling, moments.
We did notice what we think may be an encoding error - or perhaps a faulty disc, or perhaps a very odd editing choice. At the 37:07 mark some people are removing an old man from a car, however the video skips from him strapped in the car to being carried when outside. It's only a few frames, but perhaps deliberate, as the timestamp seems continual, but is jarring.
The Into The Storm Blu-Ray also only contains a single subtitle track - English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing which will get the job done if you need subtitles.
Titus: The Ultimate Storm Chasing Vehicle (8:23/HD): Also interesting is this featurette which focuses on real-life vehicles used to chase tornados across America, but also the Titus vehicle as seen in this film.
Fake Storms: Real Conditions (5:37/HD): The least impressive of the three featurettes on the Blu-Ray and sees the actors discussing working on a windy, rain-soaked set.
Review By: Dave Warner