August 8, 2014 at 1:00 am

Tom Long

Review: Best wait for 'Into the Storm' to blow over

Nathan Kress, left, Richard Armitage and Max Deacon star in 'Into the Storm.' (Ron Phillips)

As disaster movies go, “Into the Storm” is fairly disastrous itself.

Not the special effects, understand, although the tornadoes here aren’t that much of an upgrade on the tornadoes featured in 1996’s “Twister.” Still, director Steven Quale, who was a second unit director on both “Titanic” and “Avatar,” knows his way around CGI and action sequences.

No, the problem with “Into the Storm” is the nonstorm stuff. Screenwriter John Swetnam puts a long and corny frame around the action material that involves two teen brothers amassing found video footage, a high school crush, a couple of drunken dingleberries and some end interviews about how folks just help folks out when times get tough and isn’t that heartwarming?

Uh, no, not really. Especially when the film glides right over the conditions causing these tornadoes (global warming is vaguely alluded to) and gives no indication as to the practical mission of the scientists studying the storm.

And, of course, there are scientists chasing the tornadoes, just as in “Twister,” but without the personality. Guiding them is Allison Stone (Sarah Wayne Callies), who duly leads them to a small town — the film was mostly shot in Macomb County — about to be hammered.

Living in that small town is Gary Morris (Richard Armitage), high school vice-principal and father to the teenage boys (Jeremy Sumpter, Nathan Kress) who will conveniently record bits and pieces of the mayhem to come. One of the boys will end up trapped beneath rubble with a girl (Alycia Debnam Carey), offering up a classic (tired?) rescue scenario.

There are no real surprises in “Into the Storm” — the fun mostly comes from watching people get whisked off to their death. If that’s your idea of fun.

'Into the Storm'


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

Running time: 89 minutes

More Tom Long