Starring Matt Walsh, Sarah Wayne Callies, and Richard Armitage
Two-and-a-half out of five stars
"Into the Storm" stars a lot of a talented and respectable -- and largely unfamiliar -- actors, and there are likely a couple of good reasons for that. First, it keeps the budget down; and two, people are going to see this movie because of the tornadoes, not the actors. And by keeping the budget down for the talent, producers can spend more on those tornadoes. Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton ("Twister") be damned!
In "Into the Storm," we have Pete ("Veep"’s Matt Walsh), a guy who’s been trying for years to get up-close and personal footage of a tornado. He has a film crew with him, a meteorologist (Sarah Wayne Callies from "The Walking Dead"), and a special vehicle he’s modified to withstand winds of up to 170 MPH so he can drive right into the eye of a tornado and film that sucker.
The other storylines include a high school vice-principal and widower (Richard Armitage) who may or may not be able to heal his fractured relationship with his 17-year-old son, and two reckless morons attempting to become famous on YouTube by shooting video of tornadoes.
And we certainly see plenty of tornadoes. They’re impressively rendered, in stunning detail like we’ve never before seen, from the storms themselves to the destruction they create. Less impressive are the story devices writer John Swetnam employs to get us to those tornadoes.
Like many, I’ve grown tired of the found-footage first-person format, but here it works surprisingly well, for about 10 minutes. And by that I mean if you combine all of the scenes in which it works well, you get a grand total of about 10 minutes of actual enjoyment. As far as the story goes, there’s nothing "Into the Storm" offers that we haven’t seen before. But the tornadoes look great, and that has to count for something.