Quite frankly a confused and bizarrely delivered disaster movie from the late 70’s see’s a Cyclone wreak havoc on-screen and pull out every filthy trick in the book to cause disgust and distastefulness in a way you’d maybe not see so much these days.
Release Date: 1978
Running Time: 100 minutes
A cyclone takes out a plane, a boat but strangely not a tourist mini fishing boat and the survivors from all three mini disasters come together on a floating time bomb whilst the sharks scratch their chin waiting for dinner.
The Disasters Faced
A cyclone, a plane crash, a sinking ship, shark attacks, dodgy dinners, a yappy dog, being offended with strangely delivered dialogue throughout and a lot of water!
Cyclone is filmed using a lot of Mexican actors. As a result the first thing you’ll notice is that the line delivery is … somewhat … stilted?! Some actors fare better than others but most of them have either a perfect English or use intonation in the completely wrong place. It certainly places a slightly comedic effort on the entire film which over the course of the two hours (not 100 minutes as stated on the box) slowly descends into a pick them off one by one fest as it crams lots of film homages into its mix. It’s first third is strictly disaster movie. The second third is a bit Cast Away / Lord of the Flies and the final third resembles Alive. The true story had only just happened and it’s not really given the powerful justice it deserved. Oh and there’s a Jaws finale! The result of cramming all that in is that Cyclone is utterly uneven with half the main cast barely talking at all and the other half pretty much dying – usually over a really inappropriate freestyle jazzy rock soundtrack. This film could not remind you any more vividly it’s the late 1970’s with strange hair, flurries of facial hair and interesting music choices. It also has a problem with jarring jumps in time too but that’s more down to a bizarre inconsistent plot that makes the ability to track time on the film quite difficult.
Now to Cyclones strengths, the effects aren’t bad at all! CGI lightning is its worst crime and a few shots of stock footage that do not even remotely have the same colour palette as the rest of the film. However the plane crash set in particular is well done and the actors spend a lot of time being washed around and swimming in a pool. You can tell when its a pool as sometimes in the underwater cameras you’ll see the water is utterly still. Elsewhere there’s plenty of Nat Geo shark work too but it at least is in keeping with the rest of the film.
Why Its Worth Watching
Cyclone’s fact it is its own worst enemy in many ways makes it watchable. See children die. See various main characters get eaten by sharks. See the dog get put in some rather dubious situations. See how low the posh woman will go to get some extra water. Listen to the wonderful delivery of like “Study the oceans? You… can’t even…… SWIM!” The drinking game here is taking shots whenever you get a really close panning shot of someone whose barely spoken all movie looking sad or pensive. Take a double shot if its Tanya whom doesn’t actually speak all movie yet makes it almost all the way to the end. Which brings me to the ending. That ending. Cyclone saves the massive cast casualties right until the last part where one by one cast members get eaten up by sharks. It gets a bit confusing. You assume the surviving children have made it but you never know because they show almost everyone else who survives boarding the plane but then they aren’t shown eaten either… and this film would have loved you to know they were eaten. It’s a mini assessment of the film as a whole – unfocused frenzy.
There’s only one character that actually has a personality really so I’ll go with Carroll Baker’s Sheila, with Christmas her dog “He was born the same day as Jesus!!!” (actual line). We are scraping the barrel here.
There is such a comical mix of languages and accents, have a swig for each time someone doesn’t quite get the tone of their voice right for the line of dialogue they are speaking.
**SPOILER** I think it has to belong to Christmas the dog. This film breaks the golden rule – animals always survive. Oops.
Aside from everyone going nuts for food and not doing things like making sails or anything after what looks like 8 days, I’m going to hand the most poorly delivered line of the film as the weirdest moment. Upon rescue on a tiny boat, the captain says he’s sent some planes to help the rest of the survivors be rescued. Cue the most sarcastic and irritable “Thanks… THANKS A LOT!!” I have ever seen committed to film.
There are two versions of the film that have varying degrees of violence and also a different colour palette. The original film has a weird green marine tinge to everything but that has gone in the alternative “international” version which is distributed now.
Cyclone is utterly indefensible in its shortcomings. The script, timelines, acting and pacing is so off that you stay fixated watching the film and laughing at it. One of the more dumbfounded obscure entries into the genre. See it for a laugh.