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‘Into the Storm’ a meaningless cloud of special effects

The special effects steal the show in the new movie “Into the Storm.”

“Into the Storm” plays like a special-effects demonstration in search of a movie, but you have to give it to the filmmakers: They take no half-measures.

The film, which, among other things, follows unlucky storm chasers as they hunt for tornadoes, doesn’t just stop with one twister. No. Where’s the fun in that? There are follow-up tornadoes, defying the odds. There is the biggest tornado of all time.

Sure, fine, whatever. All very impressive, all very intense. But you know you’ve really gone over the top when you see THE FLAMING TORNADO.

Why not?

There are actually strands of several stories scattered throughout the film, which is comprised mostly of fake found footage from various sources, but director Steven Quale and screenwriter John Swetnam are smart enough to know who their real star is: the funnel cloud.

Pete (Matt Walsh) is the aforementioned storm chaser. He has developed a tank-like vehicle that will withstand winds of up to 170 mph; he wants to film the eye of a tornado as it rushes over top of him. He has a crew that includes Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies), a meteorologist who, despite having a van full of equipment, seems to get all of her information from the Weather Channel.

They need a big storm, because they’re in the middle of a year-long dry spell and the money people behind the film they’re making are threatening to pull the plug if they don’t find something dramatic, and fast.

Meanwhile Gary (Richard Armitage), an assistant principal, and his sons Donnie (Max Deacon) and Trey (Nathan Kress) are getting ready for graduation day at their high school. Gary has enlisted his sons to make video time capsules, so there are plenty of cameras on-hand.

Richard Armitage and Sarah Wayne Callies appear in a scene from “Into the Storm.”

Donnie gets sidetracked helping Kaitlyn (Alycia Debnam Carey) with a video project at an abandoned industrial site. So we’ve got desperate storm chasers, a high-school graduation in the middle of an open field and a couple of kids isolated in a dilapidated building. Toss a couple of nitwit redneck would-be stuntmen (Kyle Davis and Jon Reep) with smartphone cameras (the only smart thing about them) into the mix, and you have plenty of tornado fodder.

There will be sacrifice and loss and heroism, in the manner of disaster movies. But mostly there are really strong winds. Remember in “The Wizard of Oz,” when the twister hit and Dorothy saw all manner of things going up in the funnel (including mean old Miss Gulch)?

Imagine that, except with jets and tractor-trailer trucks being sucked in and tossed around like toys.

The story is just filler. Really, the effects are the only thing about “Into the Storm” that will blow you away. (Sorry.)

‘Into the Storm’

Rated: PG-13 for sequences of intense destruction and peril, and language including some sexual references.

Star rating: ★½

Written By

Avi Adkins is a seasoned journalist with a passion for storytelling and a keen eye for detail. With years of experience in the field, Adkins has established himself as a respected figure in journalism.

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