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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Legend of Michael Shanks., 9 Dec 2011
This review is from: Arctic Blast [DVD] (DVD)
The marketing department for film distribution company Lionsgate deserve a healthy bonus in their wage packets at the end of this month. Their cover art for this TV movie of the week `Arctic Blast' promises famous monuments such as The Golden Gate Bridge caked in crippling snowfall, the surrounding civilization petrified with freezing temperatures, telling of an epic tale for survival against the odds on the scale of The Day After Tomorrow.

What you have instead is Stargate SG1's Michael Shanks tearing around coastal Australia pursued at various times by a budget CGI Ice Storm and a man standing just behind the camera with a surplus of dry ice that he is desperate to make use of. Our intrepid hero Jack Tate(Michael Shanks), an expert in his field and a maverick in his career - constantly at odds with his immediate supervisors - believes he has a theory to explain the baffling occurrences of an extreme drop in temperature that have cropped up around the globe. The meteorological authorities dismiss his interpretation of the data and proceed with their own investigation despite Jack's pleas. The senior department's ignorance conveyed via veteran actor Bruce Davison wandering around a plot of rented office space with a cell pressed to his ear.

Jack is further burdened by impending divorce proceedings (!), alienation from his teenage brat of a daughter (!!) and his diabetic co-worker having forgotten to bring her spare supply of insulin to the office that day (!!!). Can Jack Tate traverse the sudden catastrophic plunges in temperature? Rescue his marriage? Restore his daughter's respect for him? Acquire the last vial of insulin from the chemist?...and...(gasp!) finally convince the government to accept that he is a flawed genius and try his plan for salvation instead??? To answer these knife-edge conundrums would be telling. But it is vaguely amusing that the safety of the entire world momentarily hinges on whether Jack can fix a backup generator in the basement!

Despite the conveyor belt of clichés this is actually incredibly good fun. It is kind of sweet to see Michael Shanks in another role. I have never actually seen him in anything other than Stargate, so to see him so confidently handling the leading role was most welcome. Hopefully he will get the chance to shine again before too long. The acting is fine throughout and the action sequences and visual effects do convince, even if they are often stock footage of famous landmarks overlaid with TV CGI effects and library archived sound effects downloaded and used again. I think I even detected the Willhelm Scream in there somewhere. The direction (by Brian Trenchard-Smith) is fine and a good time was had by all. The director even finds time to squeeze in a bitter-sweet line regarding mankind's neglect of planet earth just to drag even harder on the heart strings. Arctic Blast 2? No doubt Michael Shanks will be available but the rest of should just watch The Day After Tomorrow instead.
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