Stars: Casper Van Dien, Michael Beach, Sarah Lieving, Bryan Head, Keith Meriweather, Chad Brummett, James Lawrence Sicard, Dale O’Malley, Hayley Derryberry, Alex Knight | Written by Kuang Lee, Hank Woon Jr. | Directed by Daniel Lusko
When an experiment into a new source of natural fuel goes disastrously wrong, a rash of massive hurricanes rips across North America. A scientist, originally responsible for the design of the new power plant but who has walked away from the project, must get his family to safety before the hurricanes merge, creating a “hypercane” with the power to wipe America off the map.
A ridiculous plot, terrible CGI and a former Hollywood superstar slumming it with a bunch of B-list actors… Seems like a step back for mockbuster kings The Asylum if you ask me – especially when their recent films have see the company step up production values and storytelling to craft some great direct-to-market films. Then you realise that this particular production was originally released back in 2013 and is only now, over 4 years since it debuted on DVD in the US, reaching our shores.
But then this film seems to be part of some larger Casper Van Dien resurgence here in the UK. We had Firestorm last month, 500 MPH Storm this month, and next month the fantastic Star Raiders gets its UK release (under the title Galaxy Raiders). It’s a great time to be alive if you’re a Van Dien fan, that’s for sure!
But back to 500 MPH Storm…
We all know that a lot of The Asylum’s productions are parodies of pre-existing properties: Transmorphers, Atlantic Rim, Snakes on a Train et al. 500 MPH Storm is no different. Whilst the disaster movies this film parodies came some years prior to the debut of this film, it doesn’t mean The Asylum can’t have fun with the conceits of the genre; and surprisingly the parody is much more subtle than in the companies other efforts.
For the most part the film is played like a straight-up disaster movie but somehow Daniel Lusko still manages to allude to the ridiculousness of proceedings without ever being out and out comedic in tone. Although, honestly, there are some insane moments (especially early on as the family are driving away from the storm(s); which are made all the more crazy by Van Dien, who seems be recalling the same flipant attitude he had in Starship Troopers – he obviously, like the audience, knows that this film is ridiculous but he still has fun with it and more importantly brings the fun to it too. All the while being the straight guy/hero…
Ridiculous, over the top, dumb and typically The Asylum, you at least know what you’re in for with these types of movies and 500 MPH Storm delivers. The film is out now on DVD from High Fliers Films.