Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

You may not be aware of this, but we have an energy crisis going on in the world my friends. But just a few miles away is this big ball of fire which produces tons and tons and tons of free energy. What if we could harness that power some way, and maybe get it to produce some Cold Fusion type Super Clean energy? Well, the geniuses at Helios World have been working on just that, and with hyper-ambitious CEO Jonathan Smith (Greg Evigan) driving his team of astrophysicists, led by super smart Dr. Michael Edwards (Lou Diamond Phillips), it’s about to become a reality. Yeah… right. Actually they are about to create a ‘Metal Tornado’ or two and it’s about destroy Philly, Paris and some trailer parks. Maybe the world. Obviously Hot Fusion Super Dirty energy is still the way to go.

The way this thing works, Helios World has deployed some wacky space satellite solar panels in outer space to capture solar flares, which in turn send the energy back to earth in their little energy containment chambers, which in turn powers my toaster oven. The problem is that there is a scientist who used to work for Helios World who is convinced that the technology is flawed, but does anybody listen to this guy? Of course they don’t. To prove his theory, this cat has recreated the solar capture experiment in his basement… don’t know where he got the sample solar flares from… and he has created his own mini-metal tornado which sends a jagged edged PCB board at his jugular.

Since this guy is dead and can’t warn nobody no further, the experiment is a go, and it is a success. Michael is a little concerned since 2% of the energy captured can’t be accounted for, but Mr. CEO tells him to shut up and celebrate. Besides, Michael has to tend to his colleague and girlfriend Rebecca, as played by actress Nicole De Boer, who didn’t seem to be all that fired up to be in this movie. Seriously, one look into Nicole’s crystal blue eyes, and all you will see is sad regret compounded with benign disinterest.

Anyway, that unaccounted 2% has turned into a metal tornado… duh… and it’s causing a ruckus, picking up metal stuff, and getting bigger and bigger. Now our Astrophysicist and his disinterested girlfriend have to track this thing down and find a way to stop it before it’s too late, but first they have to find it. You would think a giant swirling metal

tornado sweeping across the plains of Pennsylvania would be easy to spot, but you’d be WRONG! If we could see it, then we’d know there was a problem, and then the French division of Helios World would’ve canceled their test. Say goodbye to Paris.

But we don’t care about Paris, only Philadelphia and their angry sports fans which is in grave danger, and the ginormous Metal Tornado, which we have finally found, is knocking on Philly’s door. But we have a plan. The science behind this plan is suspect at best, but that’s probably not going to keep it from working.

Director Gordon Yang’s ‘Metal Tornado’ is a fairly standard, run of the mill, reasonably competent disaster movie that does very little to separate itself from the Sci-Fi Channel’s litany of disaster movies, but it’s also not as bad as some of those same movies. What does that mean? It means that this movie is mediocre. Average. Middle of the road. We don’t like average, mediocre, middle of the road movies here at the FCU because it doesn’t give us a heckuvalot to talk about, thus forcing us to dig for bullet points to bring up in an article, which stresses my brain.

We could mention that LDP, unlike Nicole de Boer, seemed all into his role of the astrophysicist dealing with a potential international disaster, a disobedient teenage son, and a girlfriend who really doesn’t like him all that much. That last part was inferred. We do kind of wish these disaster movies would do away with the family drama, but we recognize that family drama is cheap where eviscerating major metropolitan areas costs money. We could also mention that the special effects, sparse as they were, weren’t all that bad for a Sci-Fi original. Sure, they weren’t the most complex effects around, but we’ve been championing for these production companies to lower their ambitions when making these movies to a level in-tune with the effects budget, and ‘Metal Tornado’ did just that.

One thing that was a little different, maybe not in a positive way, was that the evil greedy CEO wasn’t really an evil greedy CEO. Greg Evigan’s character what basically just a guy trying to save the world who screwed up. Kind of hard to root against that guy. Plus, I like these movies when they are a little dumber, since a metal tornado isn’t a real oppressive villain, I like to see terrorists and ninjas and stuff thrown in the mix. Ninjas PLUS metal tornadoes usually makes for more fun, as dumb as it may be.

‘Metal Tornado’ is competent, it’s marginally entertaining, it’s reasonably well acted by most of the cast… it’s… average.

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