Category 6: Day of Destruction

Released: June 30, 1995
Budget: NA
US Box Office: NA
Global Box Office: NA

Director: Dick Lowry
Cast: Thomas Gibson, Nancy McKeon, Chandra West, Brian Markinson, Randy Quaid, Brian Dennehy

Synopsis: When a Gulf hurricane and an F5 tornado collide over Chicago, an unprecedented superstorm is created.
Best Quote: "What can I say? We were caught off guard."

Review: 1.5 stars

In spite of its terrible title and made-for-TV status, Category 6: Day of Destruction is almost a half decent movie. However, its excessive runtime and television budget keep it from getting my recommendation.

Whenever TV movies try to beat Hollywood at its own game, they are doomed to fail. There is simply not enough money, experience, or talent behind these films necessary to deliver the same level of polish, especially in an effects driven genre. With that in mind, it is no surprise that Category 6 is at its best when it dares to things a little bit different. For one thing, it is nice to see a disaster movie that doesn't take place on the coast. It gets a little old seeing Manhattan and DC destroyed all the time, so the Chicago, Illinois setting here is a refreshing change. I also enjoyed the movie's focus on the energy industry and the politics of the power grid in the event of a disaster. No doubt inspired by the California energy crisis, energy companies make great villains and open the door for interesting storylines like our dependence on electricity to get weather alerts and hurricane warnings.

Unfortunately, the execution of the film doesn't live up to the ambition of the screenplay. Though it does have that can't-change-the-channel quality so many television movies seem to possess, the characters and effects in Category 6 are extremely forgettable (the one exception being Tornado Tommy the tour guide, whom I loved). The visuals are no better than the average cut-scene in a videogame and the acting is generally terrible. I am usually pretty forgiving with crappy dialogue, but when the runtime is 178 minutes it's hard to look past. Very, very few movies deserve to be three hours long and this is certainly not one of them. In its defense, the runtime was broken up in its original CBS broadcast, but can you really expect people to pause their DVDs and come back the next day? Only the truly bored and patient disaster movie fans should pick this one up.