Twister - * * *

Explosive effects-driven thriller that doesn’t try for any depth beyond the superficial, but doesn’t need to. Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt portray a married (though divorcing) couple of tornado chasers. When a rare and dangerous meteorogical condition throws a rapid succession of dangerous tornadoes across Oklahoma, the pair, with numerous sidekicks in tow, and evil black-vanned corporate (hiss) sponsored competition right behind, begin their chasing in earnest. The cause is a McGuffin-ish weather package that needs to be deployed at the heart of a tornado. The effect is a head-on collision with multiple twisters realized with amazing computer-generated special effects. Characterization and subplots are kept at a neat and tidy minimum. We know that Cary Elwes is the bad guy because he drives a black van, and accepts (hiss) corporate sponsorship. There is very little tension or thought in the main subplot, Paxton and Hunt’s relationship. We know from the outset that Paxton’s fiancee (Jami Gertz) won’t last. But you don’t go to a move called Twister and expect deep and meaningful pontifications on life. You go for the slam-bam FX…and in that department you get what you paid for.

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