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Case Number 06935: Small Claims Court

Buy Twisters at Amazon


VCI Home Video // 1996 // 95 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // June 3rd, 2005

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson lives in New England, where the only life-threatening disaster he has to worry about is the awful driving of Massachusetts residents.

The Charge

Cary Elwes–free tornado hijinks!

The Case

VCI has unearthed this hour-long tornado program from 1996 and repackaged it as a kinetic real-life documentary trumpeting real tornado footage, ride-alongs with storm chasers, and some tornado survival tips.

The feature is hosted by an Ohio meteorologist named Jim Giles. Giles also narrates through some of the footage and provides the educational segues into the storm-chaser segments. Speaking of educational, that's the first thing that leapt to my mind while watching this: It plays like one of those documentaries you'd get in your junior high earth science class. And in my opinion, that's the ideal use for this video—to show it to a bunch of hapless kids in lieu of more book work.

That's not to say Twisters is a subpar DVD. It's not. It delivers exactly what it promises. It's just that the blurbs on the case's cover could have used a lot less exclamation points and action-packed phrases like "spectacular footage" and "the adrenaline-pumping excitement of actual storm chases." Cool? Sure. Adrenaline-pumping? Well, not so much. Nearly getting into a car wreck is adrenaline pumping. Watching violent weather on TV is interesting.

There's plenty of twister action here. Most of it's like RealTV footage, but the sequences with the storm chasers are pretty intense. Watching these crowd-pleasing super-storms form in front of your eyes, while some yahoos drive toward them…hey, that's not too shabby. And the kids will like it.

Finally, the capper to the program is the list of life-saving tornado tips, which is, essentially: Look out for the telltale signs and haul ass. (I particularly enjoy the description of these tips in the disc's synopsis: "You will also be given life-saving safety tips…that just might save your life.")

In the extras bin, you'll get: even more twister footage! That brings your total amount of unbridled tornado awesomeness to 95 minutes. Yowsers!

Okay folks, there's not much else I can say here. You want an hour plus of real tornado footage, moderated by a Midwestern weather man, here's the disc for you. Again, I think this would be best utilized in a classroom setting, so you science teachers out there, consider it, especially for the ultra-low price it's being offered at.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 80

Perp Profile

Studio: VCI Home Video
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 1996
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Documentary
• Instructional

Distinguishing Marks

• Twister Damage
• Bonus Tornadoes


• None

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