Nature Unleashed: Earthquake,
directed by Tibor Takacs
(Nu Image, 2004)

High on the list of things you don't want to bring together are Russian nuclear plants and earthquakes -- unless you want to make a disaster film. Just make sure your writer and director understand that you want a disaster film rather than a film disaster.

OK, maybe film disaster is a little too strong of a phrase, but Nature Unleashed: Earthquake is an average film at best. I don't know about the earthquake itself, but the movie hits at least a 9.0 on the Richter scale of film cliches. Divorced husband and wife forced together to deal with an unprecedented disaster -- check; kids separated and in imminent danger if not rescued -- check; boorish, uncaring nuclear plant manager who ignores all safety measures and cares only about his own survival -- check. And let's not forget the desperate, last-minute, seat-of-your-pants, brainstorm idea to try and somehow prevent a complete meltdown of the core of the shoddily-engineered plant. As for the special effects -- well, they're just lousy for the most part, including the scenes reportedly borrowed or stolen from other films.

I could actually summarize the plot here, but it's really not worth the effort. Even if you've never seen a single film in this genre, the whole story is ridiculously predictable from start to finish. Andy Hurst's script is tedious to the extreme, and Tibor Takacs just compounds the great faults in the story and dialogue with his paint-by-numbers directing. This really isn't even an earthquake movie, as far as I'm concerned. Sure, there are tremors and finally a major earthquake that set the central events in motion, but the real story revolves around the classic Russian engineering of the Chernobyl-esque nuclear plant and the possibility of the exceedingly unnatural disaster of a nuclear core meltdown. Nature Unleashed: Earthquake is really more about man's folly than nature's fury.

review by
Daniel Jolley

5 February 2011

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