“NYC: Tornado Terror” Movie Review

By Ruth on October 28, 2014 in movie, review

nyc caseIf  you have followed my blog for any considerable length of time, you may very well have noticed  that I am rather selective when it comes to reviews . Generally, in the case of reviewing  books (or movies in this case), I do not review science fiction. In fact, I do everything within my power to avoid this genre. I may dabble with the occasional dystopian novel or story, but genuine science fiction does not sit well with me.  All too often, the stories are too bizarre for me to take them seriously.  My daughter, on the other hand, could probably watch science fiction morning, noon, and night.

When I was growing up, I was “forced” to watch Star Trek (yes, I know, apologies to all the “Trekkies out there). I endeavored to engender some enthusiasm, but I could not muster up the interest. I do somehow remember watching the old Battlestar Galactica series.  My memories are quite sketchy concerning that, but I know it was another tolerated series.  The only science fiction franchise that ever engrossed me was Star Wars. Go figure–I know.

I will be completely transparent here (as I always am). When I realized that my new actor friend, Sebastian Spence, had worked extensively on science fiction, I cringed. There was no way on God’s green earth that I was ever going to watch, buy, rent, let alone review one of his science fiction films. After all, I truly didn’t have to support everything he did, right?

Call me loyal or brainless (or a bit of both), I did finally purchase this particular film I am about to review (When will I ever learn to not say that I am never going to do something? I’ve made myself out to be a liar far many more times than I care to name.) Yes, I purchased the film and buried it beneath other movies that intrigued me. After all, there was no haste in viewing this film. One can only watch so many films (even films by my favorite actor).

In a weakened condition one evening, I grudgingly pulled this movie out and put it in my machine. I’m sure I had many choice things going through my brain that may not be able to be repeated here. Why on earth was I doing this to myself? It wasn’t like I was assigned this movie. But there were three of his science fiction movies listed on Amazon, and this one had the best reviews. So I took a chance, and I was about to see if those reviews had steered me wrong.

Well, dear reader, at first, I made the decision not to review this movie.  It is extremely arduous when the leading man is a friend of yours and you as the reviewer do not find the movie on your top ten list. In fact, I hadn’t planned on even finishing the film.  It was a dilemma that churned in the back of my mind for a couple of weeks.

Once I did complete the film, I knew this was a movie I had to review.  Why? Because it was a challenge, and if there is one thing I truly enjoy, it is a good challenge. In fact, on more than one occasion in my life, I have been told something could not be done, and I proved that person wrong. There are even times when the person saying it couldn’t be done was yours truly–always fascinating when you end up proving yourself wrong.

So without further ado, here is my review.  If the thought has ever crossed your mind that I always review Sebastian Spence films in the most positive light merely because of my friendship with him, I invite you on this unorthodox journey.


The deputy mayor of New York City and his meteorologist wife race to save the Big Apple from a series of devastating tornados created by global warming in this made for television disaster film. The upper and lower atmospheres have split, giving birth to towering tornados and unpredictable electric storms. When an enormous jet-stream vortex fills the skies over Manhattan, numerous twisters emerge from its center and send towering skyscrapers crumbling to the ground. Just when it seems that all hope is lost, Deputy Mayor James Lawrence (Sebastian Spence) and his wife Cassie (Nicole DeBoer) realize that in order to stop the storms, they’ll have to innovate. But time is running out, because at the rate the storm is building, the entire city will be completely leveled in less than 24 hours. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

nyc tornado terror1My review:

From the opening scene of the film, I determined in my mind to go into this excursion with an open mind. Perhaps this would be the one science fiction film with which I would connect and enjoy. Perhaps this film would be so believable that I would recommend it to all my family and friends. Perhaps this would be…back to reality.

It is first of all imperative to point out that this was a made-for-television film, and one should not be expecting earth-shattering special effects. All too often, we expect cinematic marvels on the small screen, and it is just not to be. Some of the effects that were supposed to be serious and spine-tingling fell rather flat. (When you find yourself trying not to laugh over the misery, death, and destruction going on, it really does strain the reality of the film.) As the film went on, the effects did get better–happy to report that.  Keep reading, and you will know exactly what I mean. I would say the first thirty to forty-five minutes are tame as far as intensity goes. But don’t give up. It does improve.

Syfy_NYC_Tornado_terrorAbout the time I thought my daughter would be able to watch this,  I was proven wrong.  Without warning, the intensity increased nearly to the breaking point.   And there are some vividly intense scenes. Add a bit of profanity (not too bad, but I always want to disclose everything to my readers), and I knew this was not for my daughter. Maybe when she is in high school.  This was when the movie finally managed to seize my attention.  I was still somewhat skeptical, but I realized that I had possibly underestimated this science-fiction flick.

nyc tornado terror3

This subplot was something I could have done without. I am fully cognizant of the fact that the damage and its aftermath are somewhat plausible, but the acting and writing in this portion of the film was sub par, in my opinion. I will not spoil (as if I could–this part was already past its pull date–really bad joke, I know) the plot, but this just seemed too far-fetched, and the way those loose ends were tied up was far too tidy. I also was not a fan of the mayor.  What happened to him was pure poetic justice.


008NTR_Nicole_De_Boer_002For me, this is the duo that carry this tenuous film and make it a worthwhile venture. Sebastian Spence and Nicole de Boer play the extraordinary couple that work against all odds to bring this nightmare to a close.  Whenever they were on the screen either individually or together, I had no trouble finding them credible in their respective roles.  Their chemistry and interactions were remarkable, and they were worth any mental anguish experienced while viewing this film.  And her character’s solution was absolutely genius.

008NTR_Sebastian_Spence_001Well, since you know me, dear reader, you now that this is the entire reason I chose to watch a movie I would never have watched otherwise. And I’m honestly not complaining. Sebastian’s performance in this film was just as good as any other.  He has a unique ability to be able to immerse himself into whatever role he plays, and he does it with the same passion, plausibility, and finesse that he does every role. Even though I cannot always recall his character’s name in the movie (he will always be Sebastian no matter what role he plays), I never doubt the veracity of his part. He doesn’t act in films just for money and notoriety (both essential, true), but he acts because he genuinely loves what he does. It is rare in today’s world to see someone who genuinely embraces whatever role he is given. I have yet to be disappointed in that area.

008NTR_Sebastian_Spence_002Now to the entire reason I would recommend this movie, even to those who abhor science fiction as much as I do. I will not give anything away, but for thirty minutes of this film, I was completely enraptured!  (Wouldn’t you know it was just this point that I had to pause the film and put my daughter to bed?) There is a scene in which a frightening evacuation is imminent. This evacuation is led by none other than Sebastian’s character, and he was dazzlingly brilliant in his role. Finally, I saw the man I’ve come to know over the past few months. I yearned for the rest of the film to be as intoxicating. This is the scene that convinced me I could write a review in spite of my misgivings concerning the plot, other actors, etc.

I would love to be able to say that the ending of the film was just as fabulous, but alas, I feel they pulled a “Jumanji.” So what is that, you might ask? Although this particular word will not be found in the dictionary, if you have seen the film that bears that name, you may understand my meaning. I think the conclusion of the film should have been a minute earlier than it was, but unfortunately, this is science fiction, and there is nothing better than leaving the viewer unsettled. And indeed I was, so mission accomplished.

So what is my recommendation concerning this movie? Well, dear reader, remember that I am quite biased. If the movie stars Sebastian Spence, there is a good chance I will eventually procure it. One thing I am is fiercely loyal. However, if you fancy science fiction films, this one is definitely for you. If you are not a fan of science fiction, there is a good chance you may not like this. But Sebastian Spence fans–definitely a must-watch (uh, was there really any doubt? Come now, dear reader, this cannot come as any shock to you.)

Find out more about this film here.

Buy the film here.

About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth
43-year-old single mother of an active 14-year-old girl Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA Entertainment Writer Available For Interviews and Reviews Substitute Teacher


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