Reviewbr> "It's another beautiful spring day in down town Hobart" - Radio Announcer.
Jack Tate is a super brilliant maverick meteorologist who isn't so good on the home front. In fact Jack's Doctor Wife Emma has brought in the legal mob to settle the marriage into history due to Jack dragging Emma and daughter Naomi around the globe in the sort of international life style that all meteorologists enjoy. Making matters worse Jack has completely forgotten Naomi's birthday, with Naomi getting a case of the shits that is normally reserved for ankle biters. Apparently teenagers don't mature as quick in Tasmania.
Naturally Jack is a maverick and not about to play the corporate game, even though same game has led to the divorce proceedings due to Jack wanting to hive the family off to China. When a hole develops in the ozone somewhere south of Tasmania super chill air comes flooding down from 35 miles up in the mesosphere. What's cool about our cold front is that it blast freezes everything in its path, said path naturally leading via Tasmania to mainland Australia. Jack warns his boss Winslaw, who of course doesn't believe him, that there's a chill in the air. Things come to a head when other holes in the ozone develop threatening World capitals. Can Jack find an answer to thaw out the situation, and can a log fire dispel the climatic danger advancing across Oz?
It's not every day that you run across an Aussie disaster movie, and better yet an Aussie disaster movie directed by Downunder genre legend Brian Trenchard-Smith. Judging by Arctic Storm there's a good reason for that, we might be just a tad crap at making them. Okay I'm not saying there are stand out disaster movies out there, judging from the Sci-Fi channel's back catalogue Oz isn't alone in cinematic disaster happenings, but why on earth someone decided to green light this expedition in dodgy science remains a mystery. There's a disaster unfolding, and it's not just confined to the plot of this movie.
Things open promisingly enough, we get a voice over that sounds more Cockney than true blue, Trenchard-Smith poking his tongue at all those yank flicks where they get the accent completely wrong, the lead is introduced and we have a research vessel down in southern waters. Like all good disaster movies things start slowly, our research vessel is blast frozen like a packet of peas, and Jack is focusing on a meeting with his wife and her lawyer. Drop in some snappy dialogue of "the lawyer is a white pointer" variety and we're good to go. Naturally the pace picks up as an isolated Island is next on the cold front's list of victims and Tasmania hoves into front POV. Naturally Jack's daughter, the thoroughly irritating Naomi has headed to an isolated beach, his wife is holed up in an isolated house with her parents, and Zoe (the blonde climatologist) comes down with a diabetic blood sugar issue. The fact that Tasmania and large parts of mainland Australia join the frozen ice age is irrelevant as Jack springs into action, surprisingly showing super human abilities as he keeps crispy warm while all around him turns into a winter wonderland. Got to love the movies where even the most bookish lead dude could give Indiana Jones a run for his money. If only Writer Jason Bourque had of thought to include Nazis!
Trenchard-Smith has a problem with Arctic Blast, how to make what amounts to a fog bank look terrifying, rather than being a CGI meteorological phenomena. Sure John Carpenter got it happening in The Fog (1980) but he had bloodthirsty revenants, M. Night tried, and I believed failed with wind during The Happening (2008), Trenchard-Smith falls more into the M. Night category here. Simply put, a rolling fog bank Is never going to get the chill factor happening for audiences, why I believe James Herbert's The Fog has never been made into a movie, regardless of inherent malevolence. Though I must admit Hobart getting blast frozen was cool, no pun intended. If only Writer Jason Bourque had of thought to include space alien revenants!
Standard disaster flick of the Sci-Fi channel variety that doesn't try for anything new.
Not helping matters is the loose interpretation of what effect the fog bank from the mesosphere will have on possible victims. In a scene indebted to The Day After Tomorrow (2004) the crew of the research vessel at the start of the movie fall victim to the encroaching coldness, similarly a couple of fisherman and their dog get turned into popsicles as the fog closes on Tasmania. However if in an isolated house in rural Tasmania just put a log on the fire to avoid freezing, or indeed you can simply pop outside and immediately start your car, anti-freeze not required yo! Say good bye to anything approaching building tension, scribe Jason Bourque doesn't worry about internal logic in the movie.
Naturally we have to have some family commitment in Arctic Blast, cause, well I don't know guess we can blame Dennis Quaid's trek across frozen America to save his son in Emmerich's ongoing attempts to destroy New York. Anyways Jack's wife is threatening divorce, his daughter is acting like a spoilt little bitch, and no doubt his dog even thinks he's a merkin. No prizes for guessing what happens in Jack's various relationships as come the time come the nerd. Pretty much Script helmer Jason Bourque has left no stone unturned in his never ending quest to write a movie that touches base with every disaster cliché out there. If only he had of thought to include a meteorite crashing into earth!
Arctic Blast is pretty noteworthy for one thing, Stargate SG1's Michael Shanks headlines in one of the worse decisions of his career. If only Jason Bourque had of thought of including Anubis in the movie. Shanks is cashing a cheque here, but stands head and shoulders above the other thespians, term used loosely, on display.
So I had this idea I might actually enjoy an Aussie disaster movie besides which Arctic Blast apparently "offers an on the edge of your seat storyline" according to one Downunder muppet who clearly saw some other movie called "Arctic Blast". Like most ideas I get when the tequila bottle is running low this wasn't a good one. We're talking atrocious acting, a bland script that simply recycles from other disaster movies, and it has to said, more plot holes than a season of Boredwood epics. No recommendation, though I did get a sort of perverse entertainment value from Trenchard-Smith's latest epic.