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Fire Down Below (1997)

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Environmental protection agent Jack Taggart is fighting big business types led by Orin Hanner who are dumping toxic waste somewhere in the Kentucky hills region. They also killed his fellow... See full summary »


(as Felix Enriquez Alcalá)


(story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Earl Kellogg
Orin Hanner Jr.
Orin Hanner Sr.
Cotton Harry
Reverend Bob Goodall
Alex Harvey ...
Ed Bruce ...
Amelia Neighbors ...
Edie Carr
Phil Pratt
FBI Agent #2
Walter Carr
Yvonne Pollard ...
Mrs. Carr


Environmental protection agent Jack Taggart is fighting big business types led by Orin Hanner who are dumping toxic waste somewhere in the Kentucky hills region. They also killed his fellow agent and are killing the nature of the region. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


One Man. One Secret. One Chance in Hell. See more »


Action | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

5 September 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alerte sous la Terre  »

Box Office


$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$6,073,094 (USA) (5 September 1997)


$16,148,906 (USA) (24 October 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


It took about two weeks to film the scene where Jack was being chased by the coal truck. See more »


The sign on the side of Taggart's truck changes from Hanson Mining to the sign for the church, and back again, on both sides of the truck. See more »


[first lines]
Frank Elkins: I'm going to Kentucky to check on a case. When I'm back, we're gonna go hunting. Do some fishing. We'll get away from all this stuff.
Jack Taggert: I appreciate the friendship. Means a lot to me.
See more »


Mannish Boy
Written by Melvin London, Bo Diddley (as Ellas McDaniel) and Muddy Waters (as McKinley Morganfield)
Performed by Muddy Waters
Courtesy of MCA Records
By Arrangement with Universal Music Special Markets
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User Reviews

The Good & Bad Of 'Fire Down Below'
8 January 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Since I haven't seen this since the turn of the 21st century, it would be interesting to see again just to see Marg Helgenberger. I really wasn't that familiar with her when I saw this movie a couple of times in the late '90s, although I had seen her before. However, now she's a very familiar face thanks to the hit CSI television show.

Anyway, the movie was a typical Steven Seagal film in that he's the likable hero, you had despicable villains that were easy to hate, and every action scene is Rambo-like in which Seagal never misses injuring his foes.

One big difference in this film from his earlier efforts: an emphasis an aesthetic cinematography. This had some beautiful rural scenes of Kentucky and in particular, a church on a top of a hill, in which a number of scenes take place. Not only is the country scenery nice but there are some good country songs in here and better yet - blues guitar music in the background throughout the movie. All of this was different for a Seagal film. Of course, the nice scenery was probably due to the fact Seagal played an Environmental Protection Agent ("Jack Taggart").

Also different was the fact that Helgenberger ("Sarah Kellogg") was not the typical gorgeous young sexpot normally paraded out in these martial arts films, but was rather plain with no makeup. She wore conservative clothing and showed no skin. (Contrast that to her CSI roles the past six years) Then again, Appalachia being the setting for this story, her dress and manner was appropriate and realistic.

Language-wise, most of the hard profanity comes from Kris Kristofferson's villain character, "Orrin Hammer, Sr.," in the first hour.

How they treated "religion" in this film was bizarre. Good, bad, good, bad - like watching a tennis match. The country reverend was the typical Hollywood wishy-washy minister: the kind would NOT see in this area in real life. The screenwriters are so clueless Seagal called him

  • a Protestant minister - "father" - as if he was a Catholic. Anyway,

the wimpy reverend does "come around" at the end.

More examples: good-guy Seagal bows his head in prayer at church but also tells Helgenberger that "I don't hand out bibles." He also mentions UFOs and Zen to a sick little boy but also mentions "God's work" other times. He covers all the bases, I guess, from occult to the real thing. The bad guys attend church, but then they burn it down! Harry Dean Stanton tells someone that "church people talk down the others," but the next scene something positive is shown. I'm telling you: the theology in here would make your head swim.

Seagal plays a smug kind of guy but his smugness doesn't translate into an offensive jerk, perhaps because his character is so soft-spoken and he is, after all, the good guy. Every action scene in here is a Rambo imitation in which Segal beats up his opponents no matter how many of them are against him. It's ludicrous. Yet, most of the time it's enjoyable enough to watch and the sound-effects on those fights are actually entertaining, almost humorous.

About the film, I still like the blues guitar and the Kentucky scenery the best. The rest of it is pure Seagal nonsense....but entertaining.

24 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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