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METAL TORNADO
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Reviewed by: Ammon Gilbert

Directed by: Gordon Yang

Starring:
Lou Diamond Phillips
Greg Evigan
Nicole deBoer

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
A team of scientists, under the eye of a money-hungry corporation, use technology to suck energy from solar flares, thus capturing the world’s cleanest source of energy to sell to the highest bidder. Things go wrong, however, when a tiny fraction of that energy is lost, creating a destructive magnetic cyclone (i.e., a metal tornado) that rages through the countryside of Pennsylvania and parts of France. Destruction on a massive scale and Lou Diamond Philips ensues.
Is it good movie?
Made for TV / SyFy Channel movies of the week are never really “good”, but some are more entertaining than others. And they seem to possess one of two themes: they’re about giant mutated monsters attacking cities, people, and each other, or they’re about weather gone epically wrong. Obviously, the case of METAL TORNADO is of the weather / disaster variety, and while many miss the mark of entertainment, METAL TORNADO is about as entertaining as one could ask for from a flick like this.

While the plausibility of the story is somewhat ridiculous (a man-made magnetic tornado ripping apart the countryside while sucking anything metal up in its path), they handle it with such seriousness that you almost believe that it could happen. Don’t get me wrong, everyone in the movie knows what kind of movie it is, but they don’t treat the audience like we’re stupid—they handle it well for playing up to what the movie demands of them without edging into the realms of uber-cheesiness. And it’s that lack of cheese that sets this one apart from the rest.

Lou Diamond Philips is also a rock star as the film’s lead scientist—he’s the hero who figures out what’s wrong and how to stop it. The guy is still as good of an actor now as he was when he was a “star” back in the 80s, and he actually gives a solid performance here. Surprising, but true. He carried this movie better than most C-grade actors who show up for the SyFy Movie of the Week. I can’t say the same for the rest of the cast, but honestly, none of them were that bad, adding to the entertainment factor of it all. That is to say, I didn’t hate everyone and their acting didn’t have me hitting myself in the face.

Even the effects, while all crappy CGI and done for cheap, were actually pretty decent, all things considered. Sure, there’s plenty of pointless shots of the metal tornado whipping around and f*cking shit up here, and I think a few of the shots are used multiple times, but still… the destructive power of the metal tornado was fun to watch. Not as good as TWISTER, mind you, but fun none-the-less.

I really didn’t have any HUGE complaints, but let’s face it: this is a SyFy movie. So the dialog was crappy from time to time, the acting wasn’t always spot-on, and the effects were mostly cheesy bad. There are even a few characters who I wouldn’t have minded seeing being sucked up in the metal tornado and disposed of promptly, but… at the end of the day, I had a good time with it (more or less), and would recommend it to those who enjoy a good sci-fi / disaster / weather movie.

Video / Audio
Video: The flick is looking crisp and clean in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen.

Audio: Surprisingly the 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound was fairly decent, particularly during the tornado scenes. Not as dynamic as TWISTER, but it still provided enough metal-crunching effects to satisfy.

The Extras
The only “special feature” is the film’s trailer. And as weak as that is, what more could we have possibly asked for here? Not much…
Last Call
It’s a odd to see Loud Diamond Philips in a direct to TV SyFy Movie of the Week, but the guy delivers a solid performance in METAL TORNADO, giving the flick a little more of an edge over other sci-fi weather movies. The story wasn’t bad, the acting could have been worse, the script was bearable, and the effects (while super cheesy bad) were effective—mix all that up together and you have yourself one slightly above average SyFy flick that’s (more or less) entertaining from start to finish.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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Vergara, Sofia