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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Storms of the Century: 5 Disaster Movie Set'
(William Phipps, Vincent price, Victor Jory, Christopher Lee / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2015 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Storms of the Century: 5 Movie Set - Flood, Flood A River's Rampage, Killer Wave, Tidal Wave No Escape, Tornado!

DVD Verdict: In 'Flood' (2007), Robert Carlyle, Jessalyn Gilsig, and Tom Hardy, a storm of epic proportions hits the Thames Barrier, the largest fixed tidal defense in the world. When the Barrier is overwhelmed by the immense and terrifying surge, water flows into London causing panic in the Underground and submerging the city's landmarks. Eight million Londoners are about to become heroes or victims as they struggle to survive the biggest disaster Britain's capital has ever faced.

Unfortunately, Flood probably marks the low point in the history of this sub-genre. Robert Carlyle is undoubtedly the star of the movie, even though screen time is split between different locations and characters. He gives a barely decent performance. As well, Joanne Whalley is very uneven. Veteran actor Tom Courtenay (he played in Doctor Zhivago for heaven's sake) is particularly bad. I mean, his timing is completely off most of the time and his characterization is extremely poor. What an embarrassing performance for that man. The rest of the cast ranges from decent to really bad with one exception: Jessalyn Gilsig, whom I thought might be there as a plot device/eye candy gives by far the most convincing performance. Doesn't mean much considering how bad everybody else is but still nice to see that she cared!

In 'Flood - A River's Rampage' (1998) starring Richard Thomas and Kate Vernon, the people of a small farming town in Missouri, struggle to stand their ground against the uncontrolled fury of a raging Mississippi River when a violent flood races towards town. In the life-or-death struggle, it is up to one man who must make the ultimate sacrifice in a desperate, last-ditch effort to survive one of nature's most awesome and overwhelming forces.

Constant raining is causing the Mississippi river to rise faster and higher than it ever has before. A female engineer is assigned to a small town to build a levy to protect most of the town. We find out she was once 'engaged' to Herb, a local farmer who helps rally the townsfolk to build the levy. As the movie progresses we discover that the estimations made by the higher ranking engineers are wrong. I think their estimates increase about 3 or 4 times throughout the film, just so we can have more footage of people sandbagging! This is by no means brilliant! It's not even really good! Or good! This is just an average 'made for TV' film.

In 'Killer Wave' (2007) starring Angus Macfadyen, Jarine Vanasse, Tom Skerritt, and Stephen McHattie, massive walls of water are terrorizing towns from coast to coast ... and the worst is yet to come! Renegade scientist John McAdams (Angus Macfadyen) and Sophie Markeay s (Karine Vanasse) suspicions about the crushing waters are right, when they find man-made cataclysms triggered the mysterious tidal waves that could wipe out half the world! But as the earth rumbles and the waters rise, it may already be too late.

Oh dear ... in truth, there are deadly dull moments, far too many of them for the genre. Nobody coordinated accents, so while it seems it might be taking place in Canada most times (it's not supposed to be, but the news reporter they keep flashing to in cliché shots is clearly Canadian), every accent was different than every other one. Hire a dialog coach! You know a "thriller" movie has lost you when you start thinking "Why am I watching Tom Skerritt peel a tangerine, and why can't he peel faster?" And some of the cuts and angles on faces are very weird - did they think that would disguise that we were watching five minutes of talking heads?

In 'Tidal Wave: No Escape' (1997) starring Corbin Bernsen, Julianne Phillips, Gregg Henry, and Harve Presnell, raging tidal waves are threatening coastlines around the world, striking without warning and swallowing everything in their path. Scientist John Wahl (Corbin Bernsen) and Jessie Weaver (Julianne Phillips) rule out the forces of nature and Pe into the mystery of the treacherous tides to save the California coast.

This made-for-TV drama is near being a disaster itself. The story line is just not believable enough to get very excited about. The CGI tsunamis look cool, but not fearsome. When destructive tidal waves put the coast of California in harm's way; retired weapons expert and Nobel Prize winner John Wahl(Corbin Bernsen)is suspected of instigating the peril. Oceanographer Jessica Weaver(Julianne Phillips)is about the only one in the scientific community to feel differently and offers to help Wahl prove his innocence.

Bernsen does the best he can; and Phillips is definitely nice to look at. The two are just not enough to make this movie any better than it is. Rounding out the cast are: Harve Presnell, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs and Gregg Henry, who is so easy to dislike. The surf may be up; but the urge to hit the beach is just not there!

The last film in this new collection is 'Tornado!' (1996) starring Bruce Campbell, Shannon Sturges, and Ernie Hudson, Dr. Branson (Ernie Hudson) and Jake Thorne (Bruce Campbell) are storm chasers with an invention to track and predict future storms. Six years into the project, Sam Callen (Shannon Sturges) is sent to shut down the project, but together they witness a tornado destroy a small community. While helping survivors, Sam begins to understand the importance of Dr. Branson's work.

In truth, the effects in 'Tornado!' aren't brilliant. Not even good, in fact. They're very low quality and don't even come close to the lovely effects in 'Twister.' The effects here are mostly just tease stuff; there's wind and people shouting, but rarely do we see a tornado, and even when we do it's usually a cut from a real tornado, as opposed to an actual effect. This is good in a way, but bad in another; as although it's more realistic, it loses credibility as it means that we don't get to see the tornado ravaging houses and cars etc. The story of 'Tornado!' is really rather dull, as it tries to draw parallels with the current global warming situation. Perhaps the worst of the bunch here, but then again, that said, none of them are stand out, quality-riddled masterpieces! These are all either Full Screen or Standard Presentations (1:33.1 to 1:78.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

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