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Unless you live under a rock, you know that conditions during and after Hurricane Katrina were not good. Besides the storm itself – and the government’s poor job handling it – there were reports of looting, rape, and even murder. True or not, I do not know. There were a lot of claims and a lot of retractions too, so it’s tough to be sure.

This is a movie though and luckily movies – unless they are documentaries – are not bound by things such as facts and truths. This movie tells the story of some of the more horrible things that could have happened during the aftermath of the hurricane.  It’s not based on real people, but tells the story of some of the rumored horrors that went down during the aftermath.
Nolan and Abigal Hayes (Genesis Rodriguez) are about to become parents for the first time. This is usually a good thing, but considering it is five weeks before her due date and just hours away from Hurricane Katrina, you can imagine how this can quickly turn what should be a good thing into a bad one.

The baby is born, but is not strong enough to survive on her own. She is placed in a machine that looks like an incubator, but I believe they said it was a ventilator, because I remember the doctor saying the baby could not breath on her own.  Not that Noah (Paul Walker) can really do much – the baby has to simply stay in the machine until she can breathe on her own – but Abigal is not able to even be there for emotional support due to a difficult labor. Nolan is – for all intents and purposes – alone.

He is about to be on his own in the literal sense too. As the storm worsens, the hospital is evacuated. This is a major problem, because the doctor (Yohance Myles) informs Nolan that the unit his daughter is confined to until she can breathe on her own is not portable. Dr. Edmonds promises Nolan that he will stay behind with him and his daughter, but first he has to help evacuate the hospital.

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Some time goes by and the hospital loses power. The backup generator kicks in, but that eventually conks out too. Nolan begins to roam the hospital looking for the doctor, but he can’t find him. He meets a nurse (Kerry Cahill) who informs him that the doctor was forced to leave by the authorities. She is about to get on the last helicopter leaving the hospital and says she will go get help and return to get him and the baby.

Nolan starts to search the hospital for food (for himself) and medical supplies for the baby. He raids some vending machines and finds some IV fluids, as well as a hand generator for the ventilator. It’s only a band-aide though, because the hospital is flooding and the hand generator only recharges the unit for a few minutes; meaning he has to crank it every few minutes.

If you think that sounds bad, just wait until what you hear happens once the storm actually passes. Some people did not make it out of the city before the storm hit and we all know what happens when society breaks down and people are forced to fend for themselves. Nolan begins to encounter some of these people as the days go by. They are looking for food, medicine, and other supplies – and are willing to do whatever it takes to get them.

This isn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen, but I thought ti was a fun thriller. If you can get past just how much happens to Nolan and his newborn baby – there are times where it seems like every possible thing that can go wrong does for this man – it’s a thrilling ride. It’s thrilling because of the variety of problems Nolan faces. First, it’s a disaster movie, similar to The Impossible. It’s about survival against a faceless enemy. Then, once the dust settles and the storm moves on, Nolan has to deal with the lowest of the low. These are not simply hungry people. These are hungry people who are dangerous and will do anything for good. These are criminals looking to loot and profit when society starts to rebuild. Even if Nolan didn’t have a child, that would be tense, but the stakes are just about as high as they get when he’s trying to care for an infant.

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This movie also has a motivation/heart factor too. Once his child is born, Nolan gets cold feet. He sort fo rejects the baby, similarly to how animals in the wild do from time-to-time. But once the storm hits, he has to man up and he does. Paul Walker (RIP) had a daughter in real life – and if I am remembering correctly – he was not close to her until later in life. I swear I remember reading that she lived with her mother for several years before seeing him for the first time in years. I think he and the mother did not get along too well and unfortunately he didn’t get to see his daughter as a result of that. Luckily, they got close in the last several years. So given that, it’s touching to watch Nolan go from disinterested in being a father to doing anything he can to assure she lives.

It’s safe to say Paul Walker is most well-known for the Fast & Furious franchise. I liked some of the earlier ones quite a bit, but they have turned into a total joke in my opinion, which bummed me out. I am glad he made this movie, because I think it is not only entertaining, but a touching way to remember him.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on March 14, 2015.

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