The mechanics of a film like 'Firestorm' are pretty basic. It isn't
like you would expect a brainstorm of ideas to revolve around such a
simple and mundane premise. Therefore, you have to count on the film
having a well executed blend of stunt work, editing, photographic
expertise, and it should, at the very least, have a brisk pace.
'Firestorm' doesn't have any of these elements in the proper place. In
a somewhat shameless and pitiful way, it passes itself off with the
trademark elements of a television movie. The shaky camera angles, an
obviously low number of takes, murky photography and cheesy special
effects are all presented in a protracted and scattershot manner and
many of the movie's bland action sequences are clumsily executed and
in a movie involving fire, you almost need a magnifying glass to see any
of the important moments.
Former NFL celebrity and present day football analyst Howie Long stars
(barely) as a wilderness firefighter who confronts a renegade group of
escaped prisoners, disguised as firefighters, who are using a forest
fire as the perfect cover for a getaway scheme involving the recovery of
millions of dollars hidden away just before their leader was caught and
sent away to prison.
William Forsythe plays the villain leader (barely) who enlists the aid
of other prisoners to help him recover the money but kills each one of
his helpers along the way so he doesn't have to share the loot with
them. Tagging along for the ride is a nature photographer (Suzi Amis)
who becomes embroiled in Long's fight against the bad guys after Long
rescues her from Forsythe's gang after she's kidnapped and tells Long
during their hike through the forest that she's the daughter of a
tough marine and learned a lot from her old man. Where's the
incredible hulk when you need him? Rounding out the cast is the veteran
actor Scott Glenn who is completely wasted as a colleague of Long's in
the fire fighting game who suffers a career ending injury and has to
make an embarrassing sacrifice during the film's climax.
'Firestorm' is unbelievably anaemic and has some of the worst computer
enhanced gimmicks so far in the technology of motion pictures. It's
credibility is strained by so many phony fire related elements that
you'll wish you had a little device with you that's marked "break glass
in the event of boredom". There are countless scenes where some of the
cast members would have become overcome by smoke inhalation and died
long before they get out of their entanglements and other scenes that
depict debris landing on them, in front of them and around them would
have been equally fatal in a real scenario.
Copyright © 1998 Walter Frith