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Firenado Movie Review

Written by Kat Albrecht

Released by Uncork'd Entertainment

firenado poster large

Directed by Rhys Frake-Waterfield and Scott Jeffrey
Written by Tom Jolliffe
2023, 117 minutes, Not Rated
Released on January 3rd, 2023

Starring:
Sian Altman as Anna
Daniel Godfrey as Pierce Moore
Toby Wynn-Davies as Devlin
Nicola Wright as Helena

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Review:

I cannot lie. When I heard the title Firenado, my brain immediately said, "This is going to be stupid, excellent."

When I watched the trailer for Firenado, it became apparent this is not a silly disaster comedy-type movie, rather it is a serious one. In and of itself, this is not a bad thing. However, evaluating a sincere film called Firenado is a different sort of project than reviewing an absurd film of the same name.

Not to be confused with 2015’s Fire Twister, Firenado has some good ideas that make it generally enjoyable to watch. It overachieves in its setting, with some genuinely aesthetic set pieces and a reasonably good render of the titular firenado. Several of the stars offer engaging performances. As Anna, Sian Altman does a good job playing serious against a couple of quirky scientists in Devlin (Toby Wynn-Davies) and Helena (Nicola Wright).

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The film also has a strong opening, giving us a group of lovable storm-chasing scientists highly reminiscent of the Scooby-Doo gang (plus an intern, minus the ascot). It also sets up a potentially fun premise where a group of armed robbers decides to rob a house directly in the path of the firenado. This absolutely sounds like a set-up for a comedy disaster version of Home Alone, but it isn’t.

Where the movie loses some momentum is in the actual plot. The science of creating a flaming tornado is fun, but the science of solving the problem is just fiddling with a device in the background for a minute while driving. Similarly, the robbery sub-plot doesn’t have much depth and moving from location to location is just ‘doing the same thing in a slightly different place’ rather than substantive plot progression.

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The firenado itself is also not consistent over the course of the movie. Okay, I know. On its face, that is a very silly sentence because of course the firenado is not consistent. However, this film plays itself as a sincere disaster movie, which calls for a different type of internal consistency than one that isn’t trying to have a plausible plot.

For example, the scientists make a big deal out of having exactly 5 minutes before they get torched by the fire-y twister of death. However, the film then gets lost in the armed robber subplot, 7 minutes go by, and our firenado is nowhere to be seen. Dr. Devlin precisely quantifies a distance of safety (300 meters) and then the movie just...ignores it. The tornado flies through a gas station and catches fire, but rather than assuming a body of water will turn it into a tornadic waterspout (yes, I Googled that), the firenado will apparently just poof away into the void. Another way of describing this problem is that Firenado decides to have rules, then just sort of pretends it doesn’t.

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The romantic subplot is another weak point because Anna and our mob-accountant Pierce Moore (Daniel Godfrey) have about as much chemistry as plastic aquarium plants. You get the vague sense that Anna thinks he’s sort of awkward and feels bad for him because he’s bleeding, rather than actually being romantically interested in this man. When it came to the armed robbers vs. Pierce Moore conflict, I was rooting for the firenado to end it all.

I was very taken aback by the ending because it just...ends. When it became clear that we had begun the process of resolving storylines in earnest, I actually looked at how much time was left. Surely, they are not going to completely tie up every subplot plot from a ~117-minute movie in two minutes? They surely did.

The first 35 minutes of this film get four stars for some fun camera work, a good gang of characters, and a nice setup. The remaining 82 minutes get two stars for being boring and inconsistent. In my final consideration of Firenado, I split the difference and award it a begrudging 3/5.

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Grades:

Movie: 3 Star Rating Cover
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