JOSH, 40's, a respected engineer, is asked by his company to inspect a Nuclear Power plant in Russia. He's reluctant to go, but when he discovers there has just been a minor earthquake in the region he's on the first plane out. The reason for his change of heart? His ex-wife, RACHEL, works at the plant, and his kids, DYLAN, 17, and CHERIE, 14, are living in the area. Upon arriving in Russia, he's taken on a tour of the power plant by EMILIO, the manager of the facility. He finally meets up with Rachel, only to receive the cold shoulder. She's busy checking the nuclear core after the tremor, concerned that there might be a leak in the coolant system that's causing it to overheat. That night Josh studies the readouts from the plant and discovers an anomaly. The core does seem to be overheating. He goes Rachel's apartment with the figures in hand, but again receives a cold reception. Rachel takes the paperwork from him, but shuts him out in the cold. Literally. As he walks away Josh sees his kids up at the window, looking down sadly. The next day Rachel packs the kids off to school, tells them that unfortunately they probably won't be seeing their father. He'll be leaving as soon as the job is over. At the power plant, Josh tries to convince Emilio to shut down the reactor until they investigate the possible leak, but Emilio will hear nothing more about it. He ignores Rachel's safety warnings and orders the engineers to take the plant to full power... Meanwhile, Dylan and Cherie arrive at the American Academy and talk about Josh. Cherie misses him, but Dylan puts up a front, pretending not to care. Cherie talks about skipping school and heading over to the Power plant to see him. Dylan warns her not to, but she's headstrong. As soon as the coast is clear she sneaks out of class and heads down to the subway... Josh takes a group of engineers down to the nuclear core to investigate the possible leak when...Disaster strikes...A MASSIVE EARTHQUAKE, 8.2 on the Richter scale rocks the Russian countryside. Small fires break out all around the plant's Uranium core, threatening to start a meltdown and cause an explosion ten times the size of Hiroshima... Cherie's subway train rocks violently in the quake, before becoming trapped when the tunnel entrances collapses at both ends ... And then as quickly as it began, the quake stops...And now the real stories begin... Josh discovers that the coolant lines were leaking and there is insufficient water at the plant to help fight the fires. When Emilio tries to increase the coolant pressure he ruptures the main pipeline from the reservoir ten miles away. Now no water can reach the raging inferno... Dylan discovers that Cherie did indeed skip out of school, and now it's his responsibility to find her. He races through the devastated streets on a borrowed motorcycle, trying to find a way in to the collapsed subway tunnels... Cherie extricates herself from the wreckage of the subway train and helps the other passengers caught in perilous situations... Josh finds himself locked in the containment area around the core when the plant's automatic safety measures snap into effect. He must use all his skill and ingenuity to find a way back to the surface. Time's running out as the core overheats... Thinking fast Rachel comes up with a solution: They could save the plant using the water from the reservoir. The only problem is they'll have to flood the subway system... And so begins a race against time as the core threatens to meltdown and Josh and Rachel fight their way into the subway tunnels, desperately trying to save any trapped passengers, including their children. But Nature's got one final surprise for them...Another MASSIVE QUAKE! —Nu Image
I was surprised to note that the film was released in 2004; it has a very "1960's" European feel in look and soundtrack. None of the supposedly US characters looks or sounds American; the hairstyles and clothes, again, are very retro and much of the dialog appears to have been looped--without the appropriate background noise! None of this would matter if the conflicts or characters were involving--but the action is very formulaic and the acting poor.It certainly is difficult to come up with new approaches to disaster-type scenarios on limited budgets, but "China Syndrome" and countless earthquake films have already been done. As the Bible--and Spielberg in his Oscar acceptance speech--said: "In the beginning was the word..." With or without a significant budget, there first needs to be decent script, and this one just doesn't work. If the creators of Mystery Theater 3000 were still doing their magic, this film would be a perfect candidate for parody.
- Aug 13, 2006
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