Nature strikes out with unfathomable fury as the unimaginable
becomes a terrifying reality in Hallmark Entertainment's action-packed
Three twisters descend upon Las Vegas leaving a neon wasteland
in their wake. Hurricanes tear through the Gulf Coast wihtout
warning. Record high temperatures scorch the northeast. One-hundred-mile-an-hour
winds tear across the south. Lightning storms ignite the sky.
Wildfires blaze out of control. For Amy Harking, a budding Chicago
anchorwoman looking for her big break, the fear of these weather
anomalies is second only to the dread of the inevitable repercussions:
rolling coast-to-coast blackouts and the dwindling sources needed
to revive them. With the worst power breakdown on record looming,
an overload could cripple the nation and leave the entire population
in the dark, without communication and vulnerable to unthinkable
look at the DVD cover and you’d be inevitably be wondering
whether this is a rip-off or cheap imitation of another better-known
disaster flick The Day After Tomorrow (2004) starring Jake
Gyllenhaal and Emmy Rossum. We don’t blame you, because
the cover art suspiciously echoes the movie poster of that
be further guffaw at the world of coincidences if we told
you that this Hallmark feature is made in 2004, the same year
as, surprise surprise, the Roland Emmerich-directed movie.
not be put off by the premise of this miniseries just yet,
because it is really not that bad a production.
is standard gets standard disaster-movie treatment. Twisters,
hurricanes and blackouts wreak havoc in Chicago, creating
mayhem and chaos in the otherwise peaceful state. Throw in
a few human stories, and presto, you have a computer effects-laden
feature interspersed with some affecting human drama.
like about the 174-minute feature (which was shown in the
US over two parts) is the earnest performance from the cast.
Although not spectacularly stunning, the ensemble delivers
some down-to-earth acting, with no one particularly overshadowing
not recognize faces like Thomas Gibson and Nancy McKeon, but
their roles as a states spokesman and a truth-seeking journalist
will engage you. Similarly for others, like the inquisitive
intern, the noble mother and the adolescent daughter, these
are well-written characters that you and I can identify with.
if these roles are stereotypes typical of television dramas,
at least they are well acted.
effects rendered in the feature aren’t that bad either.
One can tell that effort and budget are put in to make this
miniseries a decent one.
an impressive opening sequence that takes place in Las Vegas,
viewers may feel the slowing down in pace as the feature takes
its time to introduce the many characters. In its final hour,
those hungry for action are pacified again with storms, hurricanes
and other perilous life-threatening moments.
The feature clocks a total runtime of almost three hours,
and that may be too much for the patience level of an average
viewer. But break it up into a few segments, and you’d
find yourself more satisfied than watching what local television
has to offer on those boring nights.
Hallmark went on to produce a sequel named Category 7: The
End of the World in 2005. This time, they threw in sub-plots
of terrorism to spice things up a little.
thanks to the world of coincidences, the only key character
who returns in this sequel is a tornado-chasing expert played
by Randy Quaid, who just so happens to be the brother of Dennis
Quaid, who gets first billing in, surprise surprise again,
Roland Emmerich’s The Day After Tomorrow.
This Code 3 disc contains five trailers for other Hallmark
features like Dinotopia: The Series, King Solomon’s
Mines and Arabian Nights. If local programming is boring you,
the trailers may actually make you want to check these other
catastrophes in this movie are justified by the fine visual
transfer of the disc, and options of English Dolby Digital
2.0 or 5.1 are offered.
by John Li