The Bock’s Office: ‘Into the Storm’ hits you hard but makes little impact | CraigDailyPress.com

The Bock’s Office: ‘Into the Storm’ hits you hard but makes little impact

After surviving one disaster, Gary (Richard Armitage) and his group look skyward to what else is heading their way in "Into the Storm." The movie is about an Oklahoma town hit by a series of enormous tornadoes.

When you're talking about a force of nature with unimaginable power that leaves behind only destruction, the first thing that comes to mind is probably the Kardashian family. A close second would be that of Hollywood and its seemingly endless supply of mediocre versions of stories that have been told many times, among them the newest disaster film "Into the Storm."

It's Graduation Day in Silverton, Oklahoma, but the only part of his future junior Donnie Morris (Max Deacon) cares about is the part that involves his crush, Kaitlyn (Alycia Debnam-Carey). Gladly blowing off his videographer duties for the commencement ceremony to assist her with a project, he assumes the worst thing he'll have to deal with is his father, Gary (Richard Armitage), who's also the vice principal.

Instead, something much worse is brewing. What started to look like a thunderstorm is quickly turning into a maelstrom of epic proportions, attracting a storm chaser (Matt Walsh) and his crew convinced that this may be the most intense footage ever captured.

Meanwhile, Gary, uncertain of his son's whereabouts, knows that no matter how big a tornado may be coming the town's way, the only thing that matters is making sure his children are safe.

Armitage's everyday appearance is considerably unlike his dwarfen alter ego in "The Hobbit," though he's getting pretty good at playing the archetype of the grouchy leader with a soft center no matter what his guise. Gary may come off as a distant father, but make no mistake, he cares about his boys, even if both Donnie and his brother, Trey (Nathan Kress), are a lot to handle.

By the way, judging by their hair, Bieber Fever circa 2010 has finally hit the panhandle!

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Walsh, known for his comedic roles, is peculiar casting for Pete, a longtime pursuer and documentarian of tornadoes, who won't quit until he's found The Big One, an example of "be careful what you wish for" — a moral that really shouldn't have to be explained to someone who wants to see a giant funnel cloud tear apart the country.

After zombies in "The Walking Dead," a tornado is child's play for Sarah Wayne Callies as meteorologist Allison. She’s bright enough to tell her boss what kind of bizarre conditions are forming, yet either too dumb or too noble to head for the hills and abandon the gang that insists on getting within an inch of this tempest, which certainly isn't going to send anyone to the land of Oz.

Let's be clear — whether you're after fame or scientific research, your motivations don't really matter when you're staring up at 100 feet of windy fury that just sucked up a fire. Distinguishing between Pete, who has years of experience and a specially designed vehicle that looks like the Tumbler from "Batman Begins," and a pair of redneck amateur daredevils (Kyle Davis, Jon Reep) who think they can conquer the big, bad storm in a pickup, doesn't do much to drive home the point that when you see 747s being lifted off the ground, you get in the cellar if you haven't already.

The found footage element here is a boon at times but mostly a bungled opportunity, with the motion of a mobile cameraperson who's part of the story taking us out of the action and unintentionally making the stunts look less impressive in their execution than they might be in a style other than the cinéma vérité that seems to be more a sickness than a trend these days.

And as you can guess, it's pretty loud.

A casual mention of how catastrophes like Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy are becoming more commonplace makes you think the makers are biting off more than they can chew in ecological commentary, but these people have to say something between the brushes with death, right?

If you wondered what could come along and make "Twister" look like a classic, the answer is "Into the Storm." A healthy salute to the survivors of such incidents makes it more well-meaning than it looks at first glance, but when you've seen one tornado, you've seen 'em all.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @TheBocksOffice.

If you go

“Into the Storm,” rated PG-13

Rating: 2 out of 4 stars

Running time: 89 minutes

Starring: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh and Max Deacon.

Now playing at Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas.