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A formulaic but watchable low-budget disaster flick,
This review is from: Metal Tornado [DVD] (DVD)
There's nothing like a good low-budget disaster movie, and Metal Tornado acquits itself fairly well in this regard. The acting is pretty good, the storyline holds up pretty well (as long as you accept the fantastical premise to begin with), and the special effects are plentiful and fairly decent. Unlike most films of this type, the CGI never became laughably ridiculous. Even my dislike for Greg Evigan and Lou Diamond Phillips didn't get in the way of me sitting back and enjoying this film to some degree.
Metal Tornado follows the basic low-budget disaster formula: scientist discovers design flaw, greedy boss refuses to listen and barrels ahead with the project, all hell breaks loose, and our hero is compelled to somehow save the day before more people are killed. Helios, Inc. is ready to implement a plan that would harness the power of solar flares and store that power in the equivalent of ginormous batteries. We're talking free energy, the ultimate solution to the world's energy crisis. (Amazingly enough, the traditional power companies have done nothing to sabotage the project or kill its scientists.) The initial test is seemingly a success, and company head Jonathan Kane (Greg "B.J. without the bear" Evigan) doesn't give a flying fig about a 2 percent energy loss during the transfer - just as he refused to listen to a former team member's warning of a design flaw. Only project scientist Michael Edwards (Lou Diamond Phillips) and coworker/girlfriend Rebecca (cute little Nicole de Boer from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's final season) are concerned - and that concern grows as reports of strange occurrences come in from the surrounding Pennsylvania countryside. There's a giant magnetic tornado going around sucking up everything metallic. Hmmm, do you think this could possibly be related to that magnetic anomaly experienced during the energy transfer from Helios? Nah, no one believes that except Michael and Rebecca. In fact, the schedule for the next energy transfer (to take place just outside Paris) is actually moved up.
As far as Syfy channel original movies go, Metal Tornado is definitely somewhat better than most. Sure it's sort of hard to believe a gigantic funnel of electromagnetic particles and metal objects can hop all over Pennsylvania for more than a day without someone picking up on its existence. It's also hard to figure out why the handful of people who actually see the thing for themselves tell authorities they saw nothing. On the other hand, the story moves along pretty steadily and is quite watchable. I really don't think the movie is all that bad compared to many others in the genre.