MOVIE: Metal Tornado (2011)

Oh, MAN, am I ever behind on book and film reviews for 2012!  I’m going to try to crank out as many as I can this week to get caught up, and then will post my annual “Best Of” lists as soon as that’s taken care of!

And then, come hell or high water, the Boyfriend of the Week write-ups, after a year-long unofficial hiatus, should be returning!  I quit writing them last January so I could focus on some personal projects, and I think I’m finally ready to get back to work, with tons of Boyfriends parked on my to-do list, waiting to be exposed to the world (in a PG-13 kind of way, though calling it a “to do” list and threatening to “expose” them may make it sound slightly more X than I intend.  Hi, Mom!).

THIS movie, though, is one I saw a couple of months ago with my mom (obviously!), and of all the movies on my list to review, it was the first one I wanted to work on for you guys because, as always, the good-bad movies are the most fun to write about.

Metal Tornado, as insanely dumb as its title makes it sounds, is actually an awesomely bad sci-fi disaster flick that follows all the rules for awesomely bad sci-fi disaster flicks.  To wit:

  • Corporation trying to profit off something the world desperately needs?  Check!
  • Scientist who realizes something’s not quite right with the project and warns the Mayor of Amity character a deadly disaster is nigh?  Check!  (For those not paying attention, “Mayor of Amity” is a reference to Jaws and is our shorthand for referring to the ubiquitous character in disaster movies who ignores the scientists and nearly causes the end of the world as we know it.)
  • Mayor of Amity too focused on profit to care what the scientist says?  Check!
  • DISASTER?  CHECK!
  • Mayor of Amity begs for help from other scientist now that he’s in deep doo-doo?  Check!
  • Earth saved by SCIENCE (bitches!) at last possible moment?  CHECK!  Woo!  Whew!

This time, the project is called “Helios,” and it’s been designed to harness, store, and distribute energy from solar flares.  Hmm, interesting idea, no?  The problem is the containment system doesn’t appear to work quite right, and when the inventor tries to tell the Helios CEO he’s found a dangerous flaw — the day before the project’s big launch party — he’s ignored and then killed by his little mini-version of the project.  Which he’s been working on in his garage, of course, because that’s such a great place to hang out monkeying around with THE SUN.  (??!)

Anyway, even after the scientist’s wife tells the CEO his mini-Helios doohickey (technical term) killed him, the CEO refuses to give a hoot, launch day arrives, disaster strikes, and the next thing the Mayor of Amity knows, he’s unleashed a huge magnetic vortex, attracting metal from everywhere in the vicinity, ripping apart cars, silos, buildings, and anything else in its path.  People are being crushed. People are being chopped up by chainsaws sucked in and whooshed around.  IT’S A METAL TORNADO, PEOPLE!

Luckily, another scientist on the project, Michael Edwards (Lou Diamond Phillips!), has a theory on how to stop the tornado — and fix the design flaw.  The only problem?  Paris has just launched Helios Part Deux, and if Dr. Edwards doesn’t figure out what to do fast, most of Europe AND the US could be destroyed!

Heavens to Murgatroid!

I know, I know, it SOUNDS terrible.  But I never get tired of these kinds of movies.  The only time they’re completely unwatchable (for me and my mom, anyway) is when the science is beyond hokey and the acting is insufferably bad.  The science here, while not all that solid, at least made a noble attempt at a new idea (first metal tornado movie I’ve ever seen, anyway!).  And Lou Diamond Phillips and co-star Nicole de Boer both do a solid job with their roles.

Fans of good-bad disaster flicks?   This one’s kid-tested, mother-approved.  Litrilly!

[Buy it | Netflix it (available for Watch Now)]

Genre: Disaster!
Cast:  Lou Diamond Phillips, Nicole de Boer, Stephen Macdonald, Greg Evigan

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4 Responses to “MOVIE: Metal Tornado (2011)”

  1. RogerBW Says:

    It. Must. Be. Mine.

    Lou Diamond Phillips has his acting moments – he’s solid in Longmire – but his name in the credits is usually a good sign of Grade A Cheese.

  2. Liz Says:

    Knew the “Mayor of Amity” reference! Reminds me of my “Zach of the Week” reference for “Bones.” I always thought “Murgatroyd” was spelled with a “Y” (as in Gilbert &Sullivan).

  3. Anonymous Says:

    metal tornado is like my favorite type of tornado now ..believe it or not , I love metal tornado better than Twister. Mostly because of how this metal tornado rips everything apart….it attracts metal and its fun to see how metal objects get consumed and how people are panicking. Good Movie, really.

    However, there is ONE thing I don’t like about this movie. The ending!..It totally sucked! IT WAS TOO SIMPLE! I wish the tornado at least touched one of the high buildings in Philidephia and at least get it a bit destroyed. Oh, well.

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