DVD Review: Metal Tornado / Cert: 15 / Director: Gordon Yang / Screenplay: Andrew C. Erin, Gordon Yang / Starring: Lou Diamond Phillips, Nicole de Boer, Stephen MacDonald, Greg Evigan / Release Date: June 11th
Metal Tornado has been knocking about on the Syfy Channel for some time now and is finally unleashed on DVD aimed, I can only assume, at an audience with absolutely nothing better to spend its money on. If Syfy excels at anything at all (and the jury’s still out on that one), then it’s on schlocky so-bad-it’s-good monster movies generally involving giant sharks and/or octopi. Certainly Syfy is rarely interested in making any actual… er... sci-fi, any speculative fiction with some merit or purpose. Metal Tornado, sadly, has even less to recommend it than your average Mega Shark or Crocosaurus… at best it’s an absolute crock of something else entirely.
“This is getting scary!!” gasps Nick (MacDonald), rebellious son of top scientist Michael Edwards (Phillips) whose experiments in harnessing solar flare power and storing it to provide a useful energy resource have gone a bit haywire. Frankly scary is absolutely the last thing it ever gets. It seems that 2% of the collected power has gone rogue, setting off on a frolic of its own in the form of a weakly-animated tornado which wobbles around the countryside attracted by a vein of underground iron ore, sucking up anything metal in its path. Shiver in fear as cabinets rattle! Shriek in terror as bits of metal fly about the place! Laugh like a drain as cars and caravans are whipped into the maelstrom courtesy of the miracle of bad CGI! Fight the urge to yawn as you realise that, actually, real tornados might be a bit scary if you’re in the path of one but this one, spinning around with random bits of metal caught in its eye, is about as terrifying (and interesting) as Lou Diamond Phillips’ eyebrows.
Metal Tornado is hellishly dull stuff. There’s nothing dramatic going on at all. Edwards’ naughty son does nothing worse than skip his father’s detention an hour early, there’s an invisibly-thin subplot about Edwards romancing his colleague Rebecca (de Boer) and the usual gubbins about Edwards’ boss trying to cover up the results of the experiment. Ultimately the metal tornado threatens to destroy some Hicksville town but Edwards stops it by firing missiles at it. Over in Europe a similar tornado is on the rampage but, as we’re sombrely told after Edwards does his stuff and Saves The Day in America, “Paris wasn’t so lucky.” Never mind, there’s always time for lots of smiles and a special celebratory dinner at the end of it all with not a thought for all those mangled Parisians.
Hapless and hopeless, Metal Tornado is about as dire as TV movies get. You’ll make no alloys if you choose to waste your time on this one, at the very least it’ll test your mettle and… ('Alright, alright, we get the picture' - Ed). Avoid. Ore else.
Special Features: Don’t be silly.