Last week, the Turkey reviewed the first part of “Category 7: The End of the World,” a CBS mini-series. In that review, I declared that this piece of trash wasn’t worth any more of my time. So, I’m back. I lied. My mendacity as a reviewer thus exposed, I’ll launch right into the review of Part Two.
We ended last week with a major cliffhanger, as the Statue of Liberty was disintegrating and its severed, torch holding arm was hurtling groundward toward two of our minor characters, Faith the Barmaid and Tornado Tommy, played by Shannen Doherty and Randy Quaid. We had to wait a whole week to learn their fate, which we no doubt intuited would be a safe escape—otherwise, we’d be missing all that they would have to add to Part Two, which is…um…well, I don’t know. Not a helluva lot.
Well, our intuition was correct. Cut to a scene of Faith and Tommy driving 50 miles south of New York City, probably on the Jersey Turnpike, which is usually more turbulent than any damn tornado. Of their close escape, Faith says to Tommy, “Lady Liberty tried to make you her torch!”
“Staring death in the face—now didn’t that git yer ticker goin’?” replies Tommy.
“My ticker works fine without mainlining adrenaline,” retorts Faith.
Sparkling dialog. Just sparkling.
Meanwhile, back at Extreme Storm Headquarters, which appears to be the second floor of a condemned warehouse, our subheroine, Melanie Chang, is looking very Chinese. She’s got that traditional Chinese hairdo with the knitting needles, but the rest of her is looking rather hot. She’s in the story because Hollywood felt the need to have a token Asian-American woman who was stereotypically smarter and shrewder than everybody in the cast of characters except, of course, our primary heroine, the harlot in charge of FEMA, Gina Gershon, aka Judith Carr.
There they are in Washington DC, where Hurricane Eduardo (cast for the role because of Hollywood’s perceived need for a token Hispanic-American windstorm) is supposedly headed after lunch. Is that after the storm stops in Richmond for lunch, or what? And why are people bothering to have lunch, anyway, if this Category 5 hurricane is barreling up I-95 toward DC? All the McDonald’ses are closed, folks.
Remember that the children of important people in Washington were being held hostage by white Anglo-Saxon terrorists. Yes, they’re still there and boy are these white guys stupid! Of course! If they were blacks or Muslims, they’d be brilliant. But they’re not, and they’re stupid as shit.
And guess what? We get to find out that the terrorists are being paid by Monty, the fundamentalist Christian man-behind-the-scenes of the televangelism money mill. He engineered the whole thing, because in the end of days the Lord’s gonna get everybody’s first-born sons. Monty is convinced that he’ll be redeemed if he hands the first-born sons over. Never mind that some of the 11 kids who were kidnaped are girls, but how the hell does Monty know that the boys are first-born? Alright, alright. Minor detail.
At the televangelist headquarters, the skinny but hot redhead reporter, Brigitte, is nosing into the affairs of Penny, aka Mrs. Televangelist. She sticks her nose into the wrong place and finds Monty arguing with—and eventually shooting—poor Penny. Monty spots the pert redhead and goes chasing after her to the catwalks over the main tabernacle, with a gun.
She gets saved by her cop boyfriend and Monty dies in the process, leaving the fate of the 11 kids in the wind because the infidel terrorists are stupidly conjecturing that Monty, duh, is not going to pay them. Meanwhile, the kids escape through the ventilation system, confounding the white guys and really screwing up the air conditioning.
Back at Extreme Storm HQ, a plot is hatched to get what turns out to be the overriding theme of Part Two: THE DATA. Everything must be sacrificed to get THE DATA. The first cut at a plan is to use a “sled” tethered to the ass end of the SR-71 flown by Colonel Tom Skerritt at mach 2.5 into a tight turn, at which point the sled will be cut loose and it will go flying into the storm to get THE DATA. The sled looks like something right out of a 1930s Flash Gordon movie, and Tom is old enough to be Buster Crabbe’s contemporary, anyway. However, at the moment of truth, CSI Eric announces from his co-pilot seat that the data stream has been lost, and the mission was for naught. They didn’t get THE DATA.
This is when Tom makes up his stubborn mind to go back up and fly himself right into the storm. All in the interest of getting THE DATA. But he won’t take CSI Eric with him. He’ll go it alone, because it is his destiny. And the world will not survive without THE DATA.
But the Doc has a new teapot inspired theory: “You can turn the trigger on, and you can turn it off, too! Take the kettle off the heat!”
Cool idea, Doc, but what the bloody hell are you talking about?
In response to that pressing question we get to hear his mispronunciation of “mesosphere” one final time: “Here. In D.C. Turn off the power. Everything: cars, electricity… We’re still going to get hit but without heat rising to meet a falling chunk of messafear [sic], it’s not going to be the end of the world.” Hmmm, Chunky Messafear—wasn’t he in my high school Spanish class?
OK, so that’s what they need to do. Pull the plug on the whole city and the big, bad storm will go away. But to convince the politicians and assorted bureaucrats in charge, they need THE DATA. So says Gina, anyway.
Of course, Tom Skerritt is going to get them THE DATA. But first, we must endure a tender scene with his daughter and his grandson, who were introduced specifically for this fleeting moment to briefly humanize Tom, who we all knew would be dying in the quest for the almighty DATA.
Tom is back in his blackbird, in radio contact with the FEMA hooker, who thanks him as he confirms that his approach to the 400 mile per hour storm is lined up. He’s going to get THE DATA and he’s lighting up the data channel. (Meanwhile, on the ground, Gina asks the Doc how the hell Tom can fly a plane in a 400 mph storm. Answer from Doc: “He can’t.”) Earth to Tom: Does he have contact? “Oh boy do we have contact!” Cut to the exterior shot of whatever model plane was being used to represent the SR-71. It’s heaving, swaying, buffeting, rockin’ and rollin’. Pieces of control surfaces are flying off. Tom has a strained look on his great-grandfatherly face as the folks at HQ proclaim, “We’ve got THE DATA!” On cue, the blackbird explodes and Tom evaporates.
With THE DATA to convince the powers that be, Judith calls the White House to tell them to turn off power to the city. Of course, the evil Chief of Staff won’t do it. Accordingly, he is accused by the formerly evil Secretary of Homeland Security of being in bed with the evil energy industry. So, the evil Chief of Staff, duly empowered by the greedy and evil President, fires the Secretary of Homeland Security, who instantly switches sides and becomes one of the good guys who wants to turn the power off. He and the President’s press secretary conspire to broadcast the message, but the evil Chief of Staff thwarts their roguish attempt to make the public service announcement. Screwed!
But Washington is falling apart and the model of the White House is disintegrating. This sets up one of those great flying people scenes that have become obligatory in storm-related disaster movies ever since Helen Hunt had to dodge a flying cow in Twister. Who gets to fly first, you ask? Instant gratification time! Bad guys don’t get to hang around long in this ridiculous non-thriller. The evil Chief of Staff is running for his life down a stairwell with a bunch of other suits when the roof comes off, but the wrath of the storm singles him out, levitating him skyward through the stairwell to the heart of the storm. So long, evil Chief of Staff! Screwer becomes screwee!
This sort of leaves us with one plot—the central one—to turn off all the power in Washington D.C. and get the temperature down below the magic number of 79.2 degrees Fahrenheit. This objective was best stated by Gina, as she leaned way forward in her low-cut sweater: “We have THE DATA. It will obliterate D.C. We have to cut off the power to the city!” The Doc responds, “I’ll give it my breast attempt!” (Not really. But such a Freudian slip in the dialog would have at least given me a laugh here.)
I said we were down to one plot. Well, I lied. I should have said almost one plot. We can not leave the kids hanging. What’s happening with the kids and their kidnappers, the mercenaries hired by the late Monty? The kids wind up predictably rescued, just in time. Better yet, we have another great flying people shot when two dangerous Christian terrorists go flying ass-first out the door into the fury of the storm. The wind, of course, is selective. The kids are unaffected.
Eventually, the power to the entire Washington D.C. metropolitan area is cut off by flipping a few 400-amp circuit breakers. CSI Eric, inexplicably flying around in an unidentified aircraft type with call sign Cyclone 2, watches the sky instantly clear as the temperature dips below 79.2, and declares the storm officially dead. “Thanks to you, Colonel!” he says, looking heavenward. (Because the now incinerated colonel got THE DATA.)
And as the rescued kids exit the water plant where they were being held, the sky is blue, a gentle breeze blows, and everything is brighter and prettier.
Oh, I guess the subplots boiled down to who was going to get laid. Melanie, the hot Chinese babe, got hotter when she let her hair down to simultaneously rescue and get the hots for Billy the Geek. The unlikely duo of Faith the Barmaid and Tornado Tommy were heading toward knocking boots on the bar. We’re left guessing as to whether Gina bangs the Doc, and if so, what does she charge? And does he leave a tip on the pillow? And what about Gina’s son and Doc’s daughter? I have a feeling that they were doing each other while in the protective custody of the born-again Christian terrorists.
So we end with a soliloquy disguised as a public speech by the hooker, “Until we undo the damage we’ve done to our environment…FEMA will be there every step of the way…blablabla. Today brought something new: hope.”
Closing shot: With destroyed model buildings in the foreground, the Washington Monument gleams in the background against a hopeful, blue sky, as a wing of fighter jets pass in formation. Fade to black.
Just for my special friend Kiki from Liverpool, let me say that the special effects were nothing special unless you like to watch miniature buildings disintegrating and miniature cars blowing up. For my money, I’d rather see Godzilla stomping on a model of Tokyo. The jet aircraft scenes were particularly ridiculous, especially when they were towing that dumbass “sled” behind a supposed SR-71. The sled itself was laughable. The tornadoes weren’t believable—they seemed to like to stick to the pavement and go straight down city streets. They were too small to have done the kind of damage they were supposed to be doing. Alas, we didn’t have any flying cows, but we did have some flying humans. And of course, flying cars that explode on impact. I think the best special effect of all was the romance between Faith and Tommy, which couldn’t have happened in real life.
Why is it that in the movies cars have to always blow up in a giant burst of flame when they hit something? Are they all carrying nitroglycerine? In real life, there are sometimes car fires, but they typically burn slowly unless they result from a Mafia hit. I once saw a movie in which a dragon is sent careening over a cliff. When it hit bottom, it blew up just like a car doing the same thing—only in the movies. In real life, as we all know, dragons can fly and they don’t blow up when they hit the ground. But I digress.
They pretty much overdid the stuff blowing up thing. In one case, a piece of debris—a car fender or something—is wind-driven into the fourth floor of a model building and it blows up on impact. No doubt, the FX people were pyromaniacs, as most tend to be. The pyrotechnic charges that were suppose to represent electrical sparks were about as believable as a hooker running FEMA.
The production was broadcast in high-definition TV, so you could practically feel the, um, wool of Gina’s tight sweater and see through Melanie’s white top. The sound was Dolby Digital 5.1, which would have been great for wind and explosions but it was never used to advantage. One good explosion to excite my sub-woofer and resonate my anal sphincter would have been redeeming for this piece of trash, but they wouldn’t even give me that! As for the dialog, no sound would have been the better bet.
I think this will be the last TV review you’ll get from this Turkey! What a first class waste of time this was!
Of course, I lied. I can’t resist commenting on trash TV! —TNT