Category 7


Director: Dick Lowry

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

If you can't decide which is worse -- bad weather or bad movies -- here's your chance to get two for one. A sequel to the better but still pretty bad Category 6, we can only pray Category 7 isn't going lead to a trilogy with Category 8 as capper, with perhaps the Moon being blown out of orbit.

This two-part television mini-series is a mindless fantasy that relies on our insensitive clodhopper glee of watching people & monuments get torn to itsy-bitsy bits by super-storms. The tornado-magnets in this magical version of Earth are not trailer parks (though it does get one trailer park in order to seem "realistic"); rather, in this world nearly all storms head straight for stuff like the Eiffel Tower, the Great Pyramids, the Statue of Liberty & the White House, as the storms seem somnehow to know that'd look neato being destroyed. It pretty much begs to be condemned as "a monumental disaster."

Monster storms one after another target all but exclusively major cities like Vegas, New York, Chicago, D.C., Cairo, Paris, & if they do happen to vere away from major metropoli, it's only in order to rip to shreds yet another national monument, i.e., "Looky over there!" said the storm, "Mount Rushmore!"

When they throw in a sequence inspired by one of the worst s-f features of all time, Frogs, you gotta wonder if this thing is so awful on purpose, though surely not.

The problem isn't that it's all so aggressively dumb -- dumb can be fun. The problem is how the parts that pander to our heartless desire to see mass destruction is too small a percentage of the film, sprinkled far too thinly over four butt-numbing hours including commercials, & will still be too long by an hour as a DVD. In between the rather mediocre CGI images of destruction the viewer is asked to suffer through completely unbelievable characters spewing ultra-inane dialogue.

Shannen Doherty & Gina Gershon turn in performances so far below their usual mediocrity, in roles so outside the bounds of believability for hot babes, that one wishes they'd just be whisked away by the next big wind & mashed like a couple of grapes. Doherty as a storm-chaser with the hots for a chubby old man (Randy Quaid), & Gershon as the head of FEMA, are equally miscast. They are able to discover in their roles no use for their actual charms, which would've required the wind ripping off their clothes.

The loony-toon evangelists played by James Brolin & Swoosie Kurtz are almost but not quite interesting, as though the scriptwriter had been instructed not to insult Christian retards too much since they'd be the primary audience for this hogswallow. Robert Wagner as the laconic (or zombified) senator who decides to stay in D.C. because it might be good for his image to be the only politician not to flee was farcical heroics that might've passed for a marginally effective subplot if there was actually any purpose to his staying behind, but the script couldn't think of one.

There is left only one character to breathe even a tiny bit of life: Randy Quaid successfully clowns it up as an over-the-top storm-fetish wackjob who goes by the superhero name of Tommy Tornado & so probably does deserve to Get The Girl supposing she really always wanted to screw her dad. If the rest of the cast had been as interestingly ridiculous as Quaid, CBS might've had something silly but delightful. Unfortunately Quaid isn't the star & doesn't get sufficient screen time to save this dog & pony show from the rendering vat.

The script can barely decide if it wants the cause of the super-storm to be supernatural (God's Wrath Against Man) or caused by man's inhumanity to nature. The pseudo-scientific jibberish is kept to a minimum so that all we know is that when the biggest cyclone of all time hits the biggest tornado of all time, that's it folks, world ends, for no better reason than the script says so. It just barely tries to make any sense beyond "apocalyptic shit happens." By the end it's pretending to have a moral -- that humanity is to blame -- for if we'd stop driving automobiles & watching shows like Category 7 on television, it might never have happened.

The only pay-offs at any point in the film occur when none of the actors are pretending to act & the cheezy FX are all that we have to suffer through. Tom Skirrid zipping his airplane around supernatural cloud FX remininscent of the Starship Enterprise in a Proton Storm, or some poor bastard getting twirled through the air faster than a frisbee, & worldwide national monuments shredded before our very eyes, provides as much cartoon thrills as Bugs Bunny in outer space. And if it were whittled down to its twenty minutes of just that, that'd be more than long enough.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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