Plot: Kelly (Stacey Asaro) has just gotten into another argument with her father Judd (Jeff Fahey), as she wants to leave to start college, but he wants her to remain home to help with the family farm. But before the debate can get resolved, a massive tornado touches down and unleashes rampant destruction, but this was not a normal weather event, not even close. Gail (Kari Wuhrer) is a climate expert and she heads to the farm as soon as it clears, to look into the mysterious tornado, which happened to be charged with electric energies for some reason. Her interest isn’t alone however, as government agents also swarm to the farm and soon, it begins to look like some kind of conspiracy or cover up is involved. What is the truth about the strange tornado and will Gail unravel the secrets around the unusual weather event?
Entertainment Value: I like these disaster themed b movies, especially ones with wild concepts, but Tornado Warning just didn’t hook me in. I like the general premise, which involves natural disasters, government conspiracies, and even aliens, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. The narrative is rather dull, opting to focus on the less interesting elements of the recipe, which leads to a slower pace and much of the potential sapped out of this one. I don’t mind a serious take on this kind of material, but in that case, it just isn’t fleshed out enough to work with that approach, while the lack of b movie vibes lessens the entertainment. In other words, it is too boring to be taken seriously, but not fun enough to deliver camp thrills, as it evades even unintentional humor in most sequences. A few scenes have some mild fun involved, most due to over the top performances, but Tornado Warning just doesn’t have enough to offer to earn much of a recommendation.
I had high hopes for this one at first, as Jeff Fahey’s take on a downtrodden farmer had some b movie appeal, but that trails off after the opening sequence. Fahey brings some star power to Tornado Warning, but while passable, his performance is rather routine and forgettable. Which is a shame, as those early scenes make it seem as though he is going to embrace the cheese and dial things up, while he comes off as restrained in the rest of the movie. But a mediocre effort from Fahey is still good enough to be one of the best turns here, so there’s that. Kari Wuhrer is also likely to lure in some viewers, but again, she is held back by the material. I think she tries to make the best of the weak script, but she can only do so much. The cast also includes David Jensen, Stacey Asaro, and Marcus Lyle Brown.
The Disc: As part of the It Hits the Fan quadruple feature from Mill Creek, Tornado Warning looks fine here. This is a DVD, so the image shows competent detail, bright colors, and accurate contrast. No one will mistake this for high definition, but it is a solid treatment. The four movies are split over two discs and as the title implies, all involve an apocalyptic theme of some kind.
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