Firestorm (1998)

FIRESTORM isn't much of a conflagration.  Master Thespian Howie 
Long (BROKEN ARROW) plays a parachuting firefighter (AKA "smoke-
jumper"), stuck in the middle of a forest fire with four escaped 
cons (William Forsythe leading) and their tougher-than-she-looks 
hostage (Suzi Amis).  They fight, try to get out of the way of the 
fire, and then fight some more.  Bor-ing, but as a peek into the 
ultimate "extreme" profession, the early scenes are kinda cool.  
And Mr. Long, bless his limited range, has a certain giddy, gung-ho 
charm that carries the movie much farther than it ever deserves to 
go.  The rest is all ash:  bad dialogue, substandard action, and a 
nearly nonexistent wit.  (There's plenty of *un*intended hilarity, 
however.  I howled at Forsythe's first appearance, who, in tit-
length blonde locks and a beard, looks like a bad morph of John 
Malkovich.)  The "look" of the film is just right, I will say 
that-- a blazing mise-en-scene that keeps the tension current, no 
matter how dumb the action becomes.  (How many movies feature both 
a slung ax *and* a slung chainsaw?)  The film's best effect is at 
the end, when the title event occurs and, for a few, fleeting min-
utes, we're treated to colliding fires, super-heated winds, and 
exploding tree lines.  It's almost beautiful.  Directed by Oscar-
winning cinematographer Dean Semler (DANCES WITH WOLVES), making 
his feature-film debut.  (Rated "R"/~90 min.)

Grade: D+

Copyright 1997 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: In Brief (And Happy Birthday King)

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