Doctor Molly Martin (McKenzie Westmore) is passionate about the environment. Molly is always putting up a good fight or taking people who continue to abuse the Earth to court. After her most recent appearance in court, Molly is greeted by a close friend who advises her that she has received approval and funding for one of her projects in Hawaii. Molly’s hard work and research are about to pay off significantly. Thanks to Molly, Hawaii will now have a monster processor and a supercomputer containment unit, both of which can read various temperatures. It’s a system that can run simulations to predict when the next natural disaster will occur. Molly goes to Hawaii with her two children to oversee the setup.
While everything in Hawaii is exciting for Molly, she soon becomes less than impressed when she discovers who her benefactor is. The benefactor is one of Molly’s most disliked individuals. She believes people like him are responsible for most of the climate change and environmental issues the world continues to struggle with. However, for Molly, a harmful benefactor is the least of her worries. Soon, Molly and the team around her receive alarming new seismic activity data. A volcano is predicted to have a massive eruption sooner than anyone could anticipate, and there isn’t enough time to evacuate the popular locations or the people of Hawaii. Building trenches and clearing paths may reduce the damage, but it won’t be enough. Molly’s husband, Eric (Grant Bowler), eventually meets her in Hawaii and becomes aware of the new threat. Now, Molly and her family, along with the skilled team known as R.E.A.C.T., need to act fast to try and stop the volcano once and for all. But this isn’t any ordinary volcano; it’s a super volcano!
Super Volcano is another release from Asylum, best known for many B-grade titles and direct-to-TV hits such as Sharknado, 3 Headed Shark Attack, Ice Sharks, Jungle Run and many more. As you might expect, Super Volcano carries the same vibe. It’s highly cheesy with cheap visual effects that are perfectly suited for TV, best enjoyed in the midday. The film itself is family-friendly, and if you are watching hoping to see a high body count or loads of violence and gore, you’ll be disappointed. The plot contains plenty of volcano jargon and scientific explanations that might make audiences roll their eyes for most of the runtime.
As for the plot, I appreciate the premise of a threat far superior to any other volcano the world has ever seen, along with some environmental themes. However, this film primarily focuses on a group of people talking. The world, which should feel vast, feels extremely small. Some locations include an airfield and a command centre where the main characters speak, argue, and debate. At no point does the film convince me that it’s set in Hawaii. The performances are over the top, with line delivery that feels more suited to a children’s network. The most likable performance on-screen comes from actor Grant Bowler as Eric, who has a few enjoyable moments and manages to liven up the screen at various points. Those expecting to see actor William Baldwin will be disappointed by his lack of on-screen presence- he only delivers a few lines of dialogue on a television screen during one scene! (Well-played marketing team, well played.)
One area where this film succeeds is its visual effects. At times, I was rather impressed by them, and the opening scene, where someone is shot into the air from volcanic activity, gave me some hope for an enjoyable ride. Sadly, even though some visuals are acceptable, the actors’ facial reactions don’t contribute to accuracy and realism.
Overall, this is a weak TV movie that’s aimed at being family-friendly. The plot is packed with lots of volcano babble and scientific jargon. As you may expect, the CGI and visual effects look cheap and fake, lacking realism at various times, but please admire the effect here. For some, the laughable fun the film offers from start to finish will be enough. Super Volcano is no Dante’s Peak; however, it still provides a brainless time for those seeking some escape, plenty of outrageous yet painful scenes, or some more B-grade from Asylum Picture.
Super Volcano (2023) is Available on DVD & Digital from July 5th!