Unabashedly taking the concept of Michael Crichton's novel Prey, Sci-Fi Channel original Path of Destruction is a bland little $2 million movie. It has moments, but the biggest problem is the catalyst. The nano-bots are hardly a significant threat, and they're never shown to as brutal as the movie makes them out to be.
Let loose during an oilrig experiment, these nano-bots do little damage by themselves, relying on the storms they cause for most of the devastation. The CG used to create them is obvious, but solid throughout. There's little explanation about what exactly these little robots are, why they were created, and what they can do. Any science discussion is swept to the side.
There's an enjoyable sub-plot involving the film's lead, Danica McKellar, accused of terrorism by the lead villain, David Keith. It turns into a fun chase sequence around the half way point, and then it simply is dropped. There's little mention of the character being a terrorist after this, even though the film begins to go down this path early.
Memorable Animal House star Stephen Furst directs and puts himself in a supporting role for this outing, still with his comic timing in place. It's hard to look at him without seeing him in the classic role of Flounder, and any of the comedy is likely his idea. It makes the film jumpy, switching in tone, but proving none of this should be taken seriously.
As far as ripping the plot, Crichton's Prey kept the threat confined. Path of Destruction lets it loose, leading to some exciting sequences for a low budget thriller. Crichton's story also made far more sense with his trademark scientific babble. Path is obviously more content to just move along slowly, developing light characters instead of showing budget consuming CGI.
That's what causes Path of Destruction to fall into average-ness. It's funny, the moments when it works are enjoyable, and there was some small potential in the early going. It just descends into a typical movie from Sci-Fi, utterly forgettable without doing much wrong. The threat just isn't there from an enemy that barely shows up on screen.