Force of Nature, by Cameron J. Czaja

Much like the movie Capone that I reviewed a couple months ago, Force of Nature was another film that was supposed to go to theaters but went straight to video on demand and Redbox. I was somewhat curious about this film, mainly because I feel like I have hidden interest in survival films where regular people go up against natural disasters. Some films that I’ve enjoyed in this vein were Twister, and a more recent entry, Crawl.  I was somewhat curious to see if this could be as enjoyable as those films mentioned. Was is it, though? As usual let’s find out. Also, mild spoilers ahead.

Set in Puerto Rico before and during a hurricane, Force of Nature follows two police officers, Cadillo (Emile Hirsch) and Jess (Stephanie Cayo), who are stuck on a shift while the storm passes. Not too long into their shift they get a distress call which leads to assisting someone by the name of Griffen (Will Catlett) back to his apartment complex and to help evacuate someone that Griffin is taking care of. When they get there, the two officers notice a few people still there: a Doctor by the name of Troy (Kate Bosworth), her father Ray (Mel Gibson), and another neighbor of theirs. This should be a smooth procedure, but a criminal by the name of John A.K.A. John the Baptist (David Zayas) and his men infiltrate the apartment complex for something valuable and it’s up to Cadillo and Jess to get the civilians out of harm’s way while facing a soon to be category five hurricane.

Given to a competent director, Force of Nature could’ve been a fun escape film about people not only going up against criminals but mother nature as well. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case as it not only a bad film, but it’s got to be one of the worst films I’ve seen this year. And yet I’m glad I saw it because it’s a fascinating bad film that was never dull (and I mean that in the worst way possible), and there were certain scenes I had to laugh at because of the obscurity of it all. 

For those who don’t know, I live in Central Florida (specifically the Tampa Bay Area) and every so often we would get hurricanes. The last one that we got that put us in a perilous state was Hurricane Irma in 2017. I recall getting supplies and boarding up the house a day before it actually hit. The reason I’m bringing this up is because that scenario was going through my mind during the first ten minutes of the film because any logic for preparing for a hurricane approaching such a huge area was not present whatsoever. The beginning of Forces of Nature has a scene where it cuts to black with a text saying “eight hours earlier” where it showed Puerto Rico in a completely normal state with people acting like it’s just a regular day. They even show the criminal John going to a bank and it was busy as ever. It’s one thing to be a bad movie, but when you don’t even acknowledge how threatening a hurricane could be until it’s finally here then all sense tension (for me at least) is gone. 

So you’re probably wondering to yourself “OK so the logic here is dumb, but did the the movie use the storm to a great effect?”  Sadly no. Unlike TwisterCrawl, or any other better natural disaster film that makes use of the elements, Force of Nature doesn’t use the potential of an intense hurricane that the characters face. The only thing that showed signs of a hurricane was heavy rain and even that effect wasn’t convincing me. There was a little damage outside of the apartment complex, but other than that I was disappointing we didn’t get to see the intensity of a category five hurricane that these people had to deal with. Such wasted potential of the elements when your movie is called Force of Nature

If I had to squeeze any positivity out of Force of Nature, it would be Troy and her dad Ray. At a first glance Troy would be a damsel in distress with her dad serving no purpose. However, as the movie went along the two characters did serve a purpose and have a genuine father and daughter moment when Ray was on the brink of death after he gets shot. I thought to myself that if there was any heartfelt emotion, it was in that scene alone. Unfortunately, the movie didn’t take long to get back into dumb territory and have predictable plot elements that I saw a mile ahead. 

As you can tell, Force of Nature is not a film I would recommend due to the dumb logic and wasted potential that it had. By no means is it the worst film that I have seen this year because there were some moments that were so bad that it was entertaining, and I was able to find some elements that I briefly enjoyed. I know I keep on harping on the movies such as Twister and Crawl, but those were natural disaster movies that I enjoyed and took advantage of the environment that they were in. Hopefully one day we’ll get another fun natural disaster film, but until then take shelter from this one.


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