Skip to main content

Disaster Porn Saturday Night: Tornado!

Dr. Joe Branson (Ernie Hudson) auditor Samantha Callen (Shannon Sturges) and storm chaser Jake Thorne (Bruce Campbell) watch as a tornado hits Roseville

Dr. Joe Branson (Ernie Hudson) auditor Samantha Callen (Shannon Sturges) and storm chaser Jake Thorne (Bruce Campbell) watch as a tornado hits Roseville

With the coming of spring and the rebirth of the land, tornado season rears its ugly head and of course that always puts a damper on things, especially if you live in tornado alley.

And along with the storm clouds comes government auditor Samantha Callen (Shannon Sturges) to terminate Dr. Joe Branson's (Ernie Hudson) dream of being able to warn people of impending tornadoes with his invention of the Portable Analyzer of Technical Tornado Information (P.A.T.T.I). Sam's not impressed.

After being joined by Dr. Branson's former student, Jake Thorne (Bruce Campbell) the trio head to Jake's grandfather Ephram's (L.Q. Jones) farm, where Dr. Branson and his graduate student Oliver (Aaron Izbicki) have set up their "command post."

Since the farm is way, way, way out in the country, Jake tells Sam that she's welcome to stay at the farm, but she wants to head to a hotel and when she learns that she'd be miles away, decides to stay with them.

She ditches the corporate wear and settles into a fine Texas cowgirl outfit just as Jake's fellow storm chaser Tex (Bo Eason) and his girlfriend Mattie pull up for some barbeque. Introductions are made and after dinner, Dr. Branson takes Sam and the others out to the barn and introduces them to P.A.T.T.I.

He technically tells them everything about the metal object and what the purpose is and after enough tech talk, they head off to Jimmy Jack's for some dancing and shots of tequila.

Jake and Dr, Branson explain weather patterns to Sam and just as she and Jake are about to do the two step, Jake's rival, Richie Cochran (Charles Homet) introduces himself to Sam and after telling her that he's a meteorologist invites her to the National Weather Service the next day. He's doing a piece on it and thinks she'll enjoy it.

The next day, and nursing a hangover, Jake tags along with them as Richie interviews married experts Andy and Margie Ward (John Mansfield and Jeannie Fitzsimmons) as they explain weather and lack of funding.

Following the morning of the tour, Jake and Sam are invited over to Mattie's for a homecooked dinner and the next morning, Sam has decided that she's seen enough and packs her bags to head back to D.C.

As Jake drives her to the airport, he subtly pleads the case for funding and while waiting for her plane, he gets a call that the atmosphere is ripe for some tornadoes. Sam decides to get in on the action as they head back to the farm to pick up the crew.

Scroll to Continue

Ephram uses his tornado senses and communicates with his eyes to Jake that they're going in the wrong direction and after getting to the coordinates, the clouds break up, but they don't give up just yet.

With his tornado telepathy, Ephram spots some menacing clouds, and a huge twister is ready to hit the town of Roseville.

This is where it gets kind of funny, because the movie shows a neighborhood street with everyone out enjoying the day, while Marty (David Stokey) and his wife are washing dishes. At the beginning of the movie, a mother is washing dishes also before a tornado strikes.

Jake calls Margie to issue a blast for Roseville since the CGI tornado is ready to hit the town and no one is outside. Once the blast sounds, everyone comes out onto the street running around panicking.

And what about Marty and his wife? They head toward the window as a branch flies through it.

Following the destruction of Roseville, Richie is interviewing Marty, who can't find his wife and after the interview, Jake scolds him about journalism ethics and Richie tells him that its his job to bring the people the story.

The next morning, Sam can't bring herself to terminate the project and later that night a storm wakes her up and she has a shot of whiskey with Ephram. She goes back to bed and he puts it out there for the tornado to come and get him.

It does.

Because of his telepathy with tornadoes, he was able to predict where it was going to strike and since it's heading straight for the farm, Dr. Branson doesn't have to worry about dragging P.A.T.T.I out. He'll get his data which will eventually allow tornadoes to be predicted and allow people more time to prepare.

With Sam now out of a job, she can hang around for Tex and Mattie's wedding (with Jake as her date) and out of tragedy, she doesn't have to worry about Jake becoming a farmer since Dr. Branson offers him a job.


Related Articles