These Syfy Channel disaster movies have become routinely commonplace and filled with cheap digital effects, stock plots and faux pieces of drama. Jet Stream is oddly more likeable than most of its ilk, even if at the end of the day it still remains a formula disaster movie. You have to commend the script for having an undeniable sense of humour. David Chokachi rushes to the aid of a downed soldier and prepares to perform CPR with lines like I got this. I saw it on Baywatch (1989-2001). You can hardly dislike a throwaway film like this that comes with a tv cameraman (Harry Anichkin) comparing his work to that of Vilmos Zsigmond.
David Chokachi makes for a far more likeable hero than the usual run of former minor name stars that are cast in these films. He has a substantially stronger character arc hes the usual cliche of the discredited/disbelieved scientist who has a crackpot theory that could save the world but added to that he has also been thrown out of the university for plagiarism and is making ends meet working as a tv weatherman resenting being forced into silly ratings-driven stunts before he breaks with orders to cover a story he knows is going to happen and afterwards comes around in hospital to find he is suddenly a YouTube sensation. Not quite the same can be said for Don Michael Paul who comes across as looking like a middle-aging man who has spent far too much time doing drugs and rocknroll than he does a convincing military general.
Still, the usual cheapness of these Syfy Channel films comes through. The visual effects are sub-par. The most notable example is when we get a few cheap-looking scenes of the glass ceiling shattering at a mall in Wisconsin and people panicking, before the film cuts to two tv presenters calling it the worst tornado in history, where what we have just seen comes vastly inadequately near fulfilling such a description. There is all the usual formula scenes of sinister military, the hero coming up with a wildly improbable scheme to stop the menace, a climactic fight board an aircraft to save the world. To its credit, the film never bothers with any of the usual B plots cutting away to relatives/loved ones/friends of the heroes as they are caught up in the disaster.
Director Jeffrey Lando, often billed as Jeffrey Scott Lando, has made a host of other low-budget horror and science-fiction films, including Savage Island (2004), Insecticidal (2005), Alien Incursion (2006), Decoys 2: Alien Seduction (2007), Goblin (2010), House of Bones (2010), Thirst (2010), Super Tanker (2011), Boogeyman (2012), Haunted High (2012), Supercollider (2013), Roboshark (2015) and Suspension (2015).