DVD Review Metal Tornado
Directed by: Gordon Yang Cast: Lou Diamond Phillips, Greg Evigan, Nicole deBoer Running Time: 1 hr 30 mins Rating: PG Due Out: May 22, 2012
PLOT: A failed attempt to harvest energy from solar flares creates a tornado in Pennsylvania that has a magnetic appetite.
WHO'S IT FOR?: If you don't like science, this movie might be fun for you. It has tornadoes and people talking about magnets, but that's just fluff in the larger scheme of Metal Tornado. The content of the movie is fine for families, though the amount of attention it will garner from anyone in your clan is not guaranteed.
An old roommate of mine constantly tries to defend M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening as an intentional B-movie, saying that the laughably corny film was made to be just that. Apparently, this is a defense that Shyamalan has used himself.
Shyamalan's sorry attempt to cover up the stupidity of his "plants are killing us" movie is certainly humbled by Metal Tornado, a true B-movie that is as bad as The Happening, while also mixing in some Twister moments for tornado's sake (with none of the punch, to be sure). A large chunk of the movie includes scenes of people dodging things that randomly become possessed by magnetic power (a chainsaw! a trailer! a can of soup!), while the second half features a great amount of, "Oh my god, there's a tornado in my rear view mirror!" type of problems.
The film's desire to play it safe with a "PG" rating might heighten the amount of people who rent this sucker on Redbox, but it also castrates the movie from even having some simple violent thrills. Needless to say, someone getting hit in the head with a can of soup is going to be your best bet for disaster movie thrills.
There have been worse disasters than Metal Tornado, which would now make for a cutesy joke name should Stephen Merritt and the Magnetic Fields ever desire to start a metal band. Lou Diamond Phillips grits his teeth through phone calls and runs around this story like he's trying to make it work, and the editing is generally passable. The screenplay even smells like some research, which is nice to hear especially when the concept overall is so ridiculous.
The special effects do a decent job (at least to B-movie standards) with presenting the type of chaos it wishes to portray. While there isn't a moment in which such destruction looks extremely believable, what is believable is that someone actually put some time into making certain visuals (collapsed buildings, and the tornado itself, somewhat) look slightly real. Of course, as with every movie of this B-grade, the image on the cover art is more menacing than anything seen in the movie itself.
MOVIE SCORE: 4/10