Twitter Plot Summary: Aliens are trying to invade the Earth using funky tornadoes. They’re not very good at it.
Five Point Summary:
1. Jeff Fahey! Kari Wuhrer! A fat woman!
2. Men in Black meets sarcasm.
3. Nobody believes them. Never saw that coming.
4. I’m starting to think we’ll never see these aliens.
5. Ridiculous ending. Ridiculous.
The action gets off to a start early in TV movie Tornado Warning, or the much more obvious title of Alien Tornado as it is also known (which in honesty gives the game away far too early), as a freaky looking tornado rips into the ground and causes untold havoc before disappearing as quickly as it appeared. For those who have always dreamed of a team-up between Jeff Fahey and Kari Wuhrer, this is the low budget sci-fi TV movie for you.
The focus is split between Jeff Fahey and his exposition-spouting and incredibly selfish daughter, who let’s face it isn’t all that attractive despite this apparently being the reason for her existence. That and being “sparky” which usually translates to “annoying”. Fahey’s character, as is often the case, leads a damaged existence following the death of his wife some years previously, whilst simultaneously having to contend with his frankly horrific daughter. Is it any wonder, given how moody and self-centred she is, that Fahey’s Judd can barely muster a smile in her direction? There’s also Kari Wuhrer’s scientist who starts to receive alerts about strange tornado sightings and has a sixth sense for detecting forthcoming tornados. Convenient. They’re not difficult to miss of course, the blatant CGI weather fronts clearly indicating that they are not your common twisters. Wuhrer is joined by an overweight woman who shouts a lot and is as irritating as is possible for an overweight American woman to be.
Things take a turn for the slightly silly when the feds turn up in cool black jumpsuits with a triple band of orange piping on their arms, like cut-price Spy Who Loved Me era James Bond goons. In fact, their leader looks like a cut-price Jonathan Pryce in Tomorrow Never Dies. Then it becomes apparent that the tornados are being caused by alien invaders who clearly have not learned from the “Invasion Earth 101” manual – there’s no way that the occasional freak tornado is going to result in humanity subjecting itself to alien rule.
Jeff Fahey is perhaps wasted on this material, but he puts in a solid performance regardless. Kari Wuhrer, surprisingly, also deserves better than this, and she’s a regular fixture in low budget sci-fi tosh. The remaining actors are mostly on par with the material, varying from adequate to absolutely awful. There’s a modicum of fun to be had in the slightly camp performance of David Jensen as Armstrong, the leader of the shady government men, but that’s about your lot.
Of course it’s obvious that you won’t ever get to see the alien overlords as the budget would never stretch that far – most of that probably went on hiring Jeff Fahey and Kari Wuhrer. An excuse is given for why the aliens are never seen, but it barely holds water. You can clearly see the scriptwriter crying into his breakfast cereal as half of his alien invasion storyline is left on the cutting room floor for budgetary reasons.
The plot is typical of most TV budget science fiction features – a core cast of no more than ten characters, a threat that remains mostly unseen, cheap costumes and a soundtrack that often overpowers the dialogue. Throw in a dash of badly sketched family relationship strife and a plot so wafer thin you could serve it to your guests after 8pm, and you have the complete package. Whilst the direction here remains mostly competent, that doesn’t make it a good film. It does a better job than some direct to TV efforts, but it’s limited by its budget and won’t be troubling Roland Emmerich any time soon.