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Genre: Drama/Action
Starring: Thomas Gibson, Diane West, Nancy Mckeon, Randy Quaid, Brian Dennehy
Director: Dick Lowry
Rating: PG
Year Made: 2004



- Trailer



Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Chinese
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen 16:9
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Running Time: 2 hrs 54 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Blue Max




Nature strikes out with unfathomable fury as the unimaginable becomes a terrifying reality in Hallmark Entertainment's action-packed miniseries!

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 dangers.


One 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 big-budget blockbuster.

And you’d 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.

But do not be put off by the premise of this miniseries just yet, because it is really not that bad a production.

The plot 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.

What we 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 others.

You may 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.

Who cares if these roles are stereotypes typical of television dramas, at least they are well acted.

And the 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.

After 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.

Interestingly, 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.

And 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 titles out.


The 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.



Review by John Li




Other titles from Blue Max:

. Wedding

. Single Again

. December Fever

. The Next

. Dinotopia

. Azumi

. Vampire Hunter D



This review is made possible with the kind support from Blue Max

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