Tidal Wave Sci-Fi Channel premiere

Tidal Wave is one of those movies that might have worked as a single episode of an hour-long TV show. Drug out into feature length, this 1997 direct-to-cable flick becomes a dull, uninspired mess. It's predictable, the characters are uninteresting, central logic is lost, and even the few destruction sequences don't provide much in the way of entertainment.

It doesn't take long to figure out where this is going, with some of the most unintentionally funny fake news casts of all time explaining the world is under attack by tsunamis. Most of these occur off the screen, and come out during conversations that lack a point. Only one of the giant waves showcases anything special, the minor destruction of a miniature cruise ship.

The rest of the film is padded with a pathetic mystery. The mystery can't even be considered a mystery, with the villain painfully obvious early on. Computers are hacked, civilians are killed, and the only people who seem to be investigating why millions of people are being washed away are the accused.

The ending is one of those classic bad movie finishes, where the bad guy has a perfect opportunity to kill the hero, but chooses to let him live so he can explain every intricate detail of his plot. He's also the guy (even though it's obvious whom he is) that you least expect. It doesn't even remotely make sense for him to be involved in any of this in the first place, hence some small unpredictability.

When our hero escapes, someone else with a perfect opportunity to kill him fails to do the job. That of course leads to an even more absurd twist as the final tidal wave is stopped as Corbin Bernsen faces his own fear to complete the task as hand. Cue happy ending as the new couple and their dog looks out into the ocean.

The scariest part of Tidal Wave is the stock footage used in the beginning. It sets up what is supposed to be depressingly real, though that should be the job of someone writing this. Obviously, that was beyond their skills as a scriptwriter (or beyond the production companies budget). Why the Sci-Fi Channel found it necessary to dig this one up is any ones idea.

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