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9/10
One Of Steven Seagal's Best
hackraytex7 July 2017
As has already been said, this is one of his best and it is well written and well acted. The production values are also very good. The movie also avoids stereotypes that happen in a lot of these movies. Also, he made it clear to the guys running the pot field that he had no issue with them so that is an element showing that he was focused on his mission. A good Steven Seagal movie all the way around.

A interesting thing other bad guys who make the mistake of taking on Steven Seagal, never start a shootout in storage area full of drums of toxic waste. It never ends well.

Granted that this movie was made 20 years ago and I am still after all of these years a fan of Steven Seagal. I hope that he can get himself back in the shape he was in. In his later movies, he seems to be carrying excess weight and seems to not be able to move like he did. Granted that age is a factor but I hope that he understands that his fans love him and only wish the best for him.
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8/10
Classic Seagal
Richard Dominguez20 May 2017
Classic Steven Seagal Action Movie ... Back When Steven Did His Own Fight Scenes And Not Break A Sweat ... A Terrific And Strong Story Line With Beautiful Scenery Shots ... Always A Pleasure "Harry Dean Statton" As Always Turns In A Marvelous Performance ... Kris Kristofferson Is Terrific As The Rich Industrialist That Just Doesn't Care And The Way He Sees It Has Nothing To Lose ... Like All His Movies From This Era The Action Is Fast, Furious And Beautiful To Watch ...
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2/10
fix my porch, big boy
AliasPseudonym26 March 2017
This film can be looked at in one of two ways:

1. Sober, or in the unfortunate position of having paid money to watch it.

This is indisputably one of the worst films the 90s ever produced (and it had plenty of competition). The acting is beyond wooden, the plot is laughable, and it's no wonder it was nominated for 4 Razzies.

2. Very drunk, with equally drunk friends.

This is quite possibly the best film in the world. Seagal can do anything - play guitar, fly a plane, save the world, build a porch - but all you will be able to do is stare in fixated disbelief at his hair. Is it real? How does he make it blacker than the 2001 monolith? Is that a ponytail, or a real tail? Do they form some kind of symbiotic crime-fighting partnership that gifts Steven his amazing powers?

Overall, 2 stars for making "you can fix my porch" one of my favourite movie euphemisms of all time.
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9/10
Seagal's last great movie
Leofwine_draca15 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
A latter-day beat-em-up starring action man Steven Seagal in the midst of his environmentally friendly persona, this is actually better than one might expect and it turns out to be one of Seagal's best movies. Certainly, the direction, supporting cast, action, and script are a lot better than one would expect from the straight-to-video genre and Seagal puts in one of his most commanding performances in recent years, even if he does insist on wearing silly looking clothes. Fine photography of the setting and a foot-tapping bottleneck score add to the experience and I can safely say that I enjoyed every minute of this yarn.

If you remove all of the romance, incestuous brother/sister relationships, corrupt businessmen, and porch-building interludes which pad out the story what you're left with is a basic tale of Seagal vs. a large number of bad guys. There's nothing wrong with this in my mind and the action, when it comes, is authentic if a little tricksy with the camera at times. Watching Seagal take out a gang of weapon-wielding thugs within a matter of seconds is always great fun and the violence comes hard and fast, just like Seagal's punches - it's nice to see it hasn't been toned down in what is otherwise almost a family tale, or perhaps western-based fable. Although a shoot-out in a toxic mine is mishandled, each and every other moment of action in the film is cool and worth waiting for.

Aside from Seagal, delivering once again a quietly-spoken, impassive, and eco-friendly hardman like in all of his other movies, we have some good actors turning up in the supporting cast. First up is Marg Helgenberger as the fragile love interest who (as always) puts in a decent and commendable performance. New faces like Stephen Lang (AVATAR) and Brad Hunt (a wimpy kid) give interesting turns whilst the heavy stuff is left to Kris Kristofferson. Then there's old-timer Harry Dean Stanton (who sings!) putting in a sympathetic role as, well, an old-timer, and some decent heavies for Seagal to go up again.

The action-focused plot moves along quickly and offers up plenty of incident in its running time. There are car chases, an amazing stunt of a tanker crashing over a cliff, shoot-outs, bar-room brawls, and plenty of other cool bits for genre fans to enjoy, all performed stylishly and exciting. Yet, crucially, the story itself would work well without these so they can be enjoyed as added bonuses rather than carrying the film along as in so many of Seagal's lower-budgeted productions. A crime that decent action fare like this is relegated to the straight-to-video market when the bigger-bucks brainlessness of UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: THE RETURN still makes it into the cinemas.
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3/10
fish out of water
SnoopyStyle16 April 2016
The EPA lost an agent under suspicious circumstances in the Appalachians. Jack Taggart (Steven Seagal) goes undercover as a carpenter to Jackson, Kentucky. Orin Hanner Sr. (Kris Kristoffersson) is the owner of Hanner Coal Company and is being paid to dump toxic barrels in the mines. Taggart faces resistance from the Hanner thugs, local cops and local criminals. He finds an ally in bee keeper Sarah Kellogg (Marg Helgenberger) but locals believe she murdered her father. Her brother Earl (Stephen Lang) has a dark secret.

Steven Seagal doesn't really blend in the Appalachians. He may as well be wearing neon as he goes undercover. He is a fish out of water and it's very strange. The man has a limited number of skills. It's fine to like his narrow types of movies, but this doesn't feel like one of those. It's funny when he's talking to the locals with southern accents. The whole thing feels more like a joke than a thriller.
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1/10
Burn This Film in the Fire Down Below.
Python Hyena15 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Fire Down Below (1997): Dir: Felix Enriguez Acala / Cast: Steven Seagal, Marg Helgenberger, Harry Dean Stanton, Kris Kristofferson, Stephen Lang: One of the dumbest films that Steven Seagal ever conjured up. He plays an agent who arrives in a coal mining town to put a stop to the toxic waste that is poisoning water. He makes a few friends as well as the expected enemies who wish not to be bothered. Boring concept followed by numerous fight scenes before concluding pretty much the same way. Director Felix Enriguez Acala is working with material that has about the same value as diarrhea. Even the production is boring. Seagal spends 90% of the film in combat where he beats up dozens of people including cops. I could only shake my head as some big lout threatens him and he beats the sh*t out him in short order as well as kicking around a bunch of his buddies. In lame supporting roles is Marg Helgenberger who clings to Seagal while he beats up her abusive brother. Harry Dean Stanton is far too valuable for this sh*t. Kris Kristofferson plays the standard villain in a role that is totally beneath him. Stephen Lang plays Helgenberger's nasty abusive brother who will end up with Seagal's foot up his ass. There is no reason to see this garbage unless one has severe anger issues that therapy cannot cure. Pointless junk that should be burned in a fire down below. Score: 0 / 10
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10/10
fire down below
Sean Payne14 August 2015
Fire down below is not a movie for the family it is definitely an adults only film first of all it is R rated for language violence sexual content it just meant for mature audiences only but if you like action films this is definitely the movie for you as there was plenty of non-stop butt kicking Steven Segal puts on one hell of a performance if you like martial arts sequences foul language then this is definitely the movie for you but I would say please nobody under the age of 16 should be watching this film a child wouldn't understand what was going on in this film anyway I would give this film 10 out of 10 stars
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7/10
Below surface, a real potent message, and only one solution
videorama-759-85939125 October 2014
This was Seagal's one last mainstream hit, if you exclude Exit Wounds and yeah.... uh Half Past Dead. Again here's another good actioner, with one hell of a message, that will have minds, questioning the value of human for the sake of some millions. We really get to see Steve one last time, on the screen, bust up some heads, and stomp on some toes. Like On Deadly Ground, this seems another personal project for Steven, who's attempt of a hillbilly accent can only be described as what the fu..? Should of just let it slide. He's an agent for the EPA, investigating the suspecting dumping of pollutants, which are killing the little fishee's and some of the town folk, making them very sick, prefore. Also one of his agents was shot, investigating this operation. One pretty town woman has sourly been given the wrong end of the stick, where she's not very well liked, well her protective brother is working for the baddies. It's another interesting play of background story here, in a movie better than you expect, despite David and Margaret, passing it off as: (sarcastically) "Yeah, can't wait". And really as a boss bad lead, Kris Krisoffertson, was interesting, but not sufficient. He played bad better in Payback. Some of Steven's lines near the end of the film, cracked me up too. This film really leaves no detail forgotten either, regarding straightening out Kris Krisofterson's son and the other punks, plus delivering through on a promise. For Seagal Cinemania, this wasn't a bad pic to go out on, and has more to offer, than you originally think. Seagal is still in need, of an acting tutor badly, though.
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8/10
Best Seagal movie.
Mariano Rodriguez30 July 2014
The director of this movie got it. If you have Steven Seagal, what do you do? You give him guns? You make him chase people? Do you make him a hostage negotiator?

No, you set up an endless row of big mouthed thugs to get a crash course on Aikido.

Do not let your brains get in the way and analyze the goofy plot. Enjoy the beating given to well written henchmen, experts in the art of having it coming.

Plus, Kristofersson is great and leading lady Helgeberger does a very solid job. Just like in species, a movie that should have been awful but had a great casting.

If you have an eye for violence and kicking the other cheek, you'll enjoy it.
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6/10
We're not afraid to say we thought Fire Down Below was a winner.
Comeuppance Reviews4 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Jack Taggart (Seagal) is an EPA agent with an attitude. In order to get to the truth about a large, illegal toxic waste-dumping scheme, he goes undercover as a handyman in rural Jackson, Kentucky, where the waste is said to be hidden. This toxic waste is causing the townsfolk to develop medical issues, and is even killing them. While Taggart finds friendly locals like Cotton (Stanton), Reverend Goodall (Helm), and Sarah Kellogg (Helgenberger), who he forges a relationship with, he does end up with a lot of opposition to his even being in their supposedly quiet little town. As it turns out, the sinister Orin Hanner (Kristofferson) is a corporate bigwig who is using the townspeople of Jackson as his own personal enforcers against Taggart so he can continue to make millions with his waste-dumping scheme. But Taggart vows to end this cycle of corruption and misery - by any means necessary. Will Taggart and his friends triumph over the forces of environmental evil? Find out today! You know, it's a funny thing...we've been so conditioned by Seagal's latter-day efforts, that we assumed watching this older Seagal vehicle was going to be a crud-filled slog filled to the brim with mind-numbing stupidity. But we were very much refreshed and relieved to find out...wait for it...that Fire Down Below is actually a solid, worthwhile, and entertaining movie. Yes, that seems shocking, but that's only based on the 2014 view of Seagal. Hark back to a time when he was a little thinner, his movies went to the theater, and the major studios ensured some level of professional quality. Seagal is as likable as Seagal gets, and he even smiles a few times. Plus his jackets are truly amazing fashion pieces. (Hence, we ventured a supposition that his full name in the movie was Jacket Taggart). This was in Seagal's "Environmental" phase, where he wore buckskin coats and all his movies had to be about pollution or rainforests or something. Somehow his interest in that seems to have faded, as his latter-day DTV efforts seem to have him more as an unlikable thug.

If Hard Target was Van Damme's "Bayou" movie, than Fire Down Below is Seagal's answer to that. There's plenty of banjo-pickin' country music on the soundtrack (a lot of which is by Seagal himself, with none other than Todd Smallwood of Street Knight musical fame...what an amazing team-up!), and the first image of the movie is highly reminiscent of the cover of classic SNES game Phalanx. But the idea of a butt-kicking EPA agent who becomes "Undercover Handyman" is an enjoyable idea, but the whole "classic corrupt small town" feels very familiar.

But here's the bottom line as we see it: Because this is a rural movie, which is very well-shot and has a nice atmosphere, and has a refreshing emphasis on actual characters, it seems the movie as a whole would have gotten more recognition and critical acclaim had it starred Billy Bob Thornton or Ed Harris instead of Steven Seagal. Take out some of the action scenes, and this could have worked well as a low-key drama like Chrystal, Paris Trout or Sling Blade. But because this is a Seagal movie, it ran into a dilemma: As a drama, it's not going to please drama fans, and as a straight-up action movie, it runs the risk of upsetting action buffs who have to have everything go at a breakneck pace with tons of brutal violence. We suppose the intended audience is...us, really, because we appreciate actual storytelling, atmosphere, and characters, as well as action. But we applaud Seagal and the rest of the cast for actually trying to make something respectable and not your average crud.

So set your newly-minted (and extremely warranted) modern-day Seagal prejudices aside and feel free to delve into the world of classic, pre-obese Seagal. We're not afraid to say we thought Fire Down Below was a winner.
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10/10
This is my favorite Steven Seagal film...
vleonica-44-79528023 June 2014
The only other films he's made that I like are Executive Decision & On Deadly Ground. I think that the majority of his films are not making good use of Mr Seagal's unique talents. His quite demeanor, fighting skills & good looks. He should be doing films more on the line of what David Carradine excelled in, which was his TV Series Kung Fu & Kung Fu the Legend Continues. Betwixt the two, the only obvious differences in Kwai Chang Caine & Mr. Seagal that I can discern is that Mr. Seagal does display a breaking point in regards to his temper & he likes girls. I saw him in concert in Laughlin. NV back in the 90's, my only comment was his soft speaking manner, even at the concert, I was in the front row, I did ask him to speak up. His expression was one of questionable politeness, and to mine and everyone present, he did speak a mite louder. This film displays that man, meaning the man who was giving the concert. BTW... IMDb states his role in Executive Decision to be a cameo, how can anyone refer to a part lasting nigh on 45 minutes, a cameo. In regards to the statement: "Seagal considers him to have been the most important martial arts teacher in his life." I find it hard to believe that anyone would have trouble understanding this... It should go without saying that each man/woman, for good or ill, is their own best teacher, only they themselves can make use of what another teaches them & until the individual understands this, their knowledge & skill can not be put to it's best use. Unfortunately most never do. Yes, this film is his sure-fire best. If you haven't sen it then put it on your To Do list, if you have, then see it again, it's an hour & 45 minutes well spent.
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7/10
Kind of like an Eastern version of "Pale Rider" in modern Appalachia
Wuchak10 March 2014
Released in 1997, "Fire Down Below" stars Steven Seagal as an EPA agent who goes undercover in SE Kentucky to investigate the evil deeds of a corporate mogul played by Kris Kristofferson & his minions, which includes dumping toxic waste in abandoned mines and murder. Seagal masquerades as a do-gooder helping people with his carpentry skills and living at a local church, but mogul's cronies are on to him and try to chase him away.

The plot kinda reminds me of Clint Eastwood's 1985 "Pale Rider" (which borrowed heavily from "Shane"). A lone stranger comes into town and befriends the common folks, saving them from the evil tycoon and his motley crew. The difference is that "Fire Down Below" is an Eastern rather than a Western and it takes place in modern times. Seagal may not have the supernatural overtones of Clint in "Pale Rider" but his heroics are so fantastical he comes off a bit supernatural just the same.

Seagal, of course, is a highly likable protagonist. He's ultra-confident, cool and soft-spoken at all times; and he knows how to kick some serious arse. Numerous times throughout the film he takes on multiple attackers and wins without even breaking a sweat. Unbelievable? Yes, but Seagal makes it believable. He is, after all, 6'4", dressed in cool black threads and a master of all kinds of martial arts.

Some say Seagal's a bad actor, but this isn't true. If someone is giving a bad acting performance you can tell because there's an awkward air to their delivery and you don't buy them in the role. This is not the case with Steven. Never for a second does the viewer question Seagal as the protagonist. It may be the only character Seagal can play, but he does it well.

Plus Seagal has numerous great one-liners throughout the film. For instance, late in the film he confronts his EPA colleague who has sold out to Kristofferson and says, "You're a piece of s*** and I'm ashamed of you." The line is perfect and perfectly delivered, not to mention so true-to-life. Hasn't anyone ever betrayed you, abused you or disappointed you to the point where you finally give up with the realization that they're just a shameless and shameful piece of s***?

One of the best highlights for me is the gorgeous Appalachian locations and cinematography. The picture was filmed on location in SE Kentucky -- Hazzard, Mt. Vernon and points between to be exact. I feel Appalachia is largely under-utilized in filmmaking and greatly enjoy it when films take advantage of this magnificent area of the USA.

Seagal's romantic interest is played by Marge Halgenberger, who became popular a few years after this film starring in TV's CSI. She's very believable as the local infamous woman who has a strange relationship with her brother, played by Stephen Lang.

Another highlight is the blues/country music heard throughout the picture. It turns out that Seagal wrote or co-wrote many of the songs featured and even performs one on camera. I never even knew he was a musician! There's even a country-ish Jimi Hendrix song. Plus a couple Country stars make cameos, like Marty Stuart and Travis Tritt.

FINAl ANALYSIS: "Fire Down Below" falters a bit in the final act but, other than that, I love this film. It has everything you'd expect in a film that takes place in hillbilly country -- good family folks, rednecks, poverty, coal mines, brawls, alcohol, pot farms, backcountry churches, incest and country music. The best feature for me is the genuine Appalachian locations and photography. Add likable Steven Seagal to the mix and you have a winner!

As another reviewer has stated, Seagal has a totally winning personality -- a hero with a heart of purest gold. He's certainly someone worth emulating in my book. In fact, in this film he represents all (or most) of the qualities of authentic manhood missing in our current society that celebrates effeminized and weak men (another good example would be Clint Walker in 1966' "Night of the Grizzly").

Lastly, I should warn action fans that this is hardly an all-out action film. Yes, there are action pieces interspersed throughout, but they flash by with a few blinks of an eye. "Fire Down Below" is a drama/action/thriller wherein the story plays out fairly leisurely, but with bursts of great violence.

Although "Under Siege" is technically a better film and arguably Seagal's all-time best picture, I personally favor "Fire Down Below" for the reasons cited above.

The film runs 105 minutes.

GRADE: B+
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9/10
Seagals best whensoever, a loving movie
aj-to18 October 2013
This film was a turning point for Seagal, and all the flat character fans didn't understand it. Steven isn't only a fighting machine, he also has the heart on the right place. His concern for the environment let him make a move that placed stress upon that topic. I admire the man for that. We see a story in which all things fall on the right place, with scenes, turns and music apt to create a summit in filmmaking achievement. It is your subconscious dream of doing things right. Seagal's the man here, in every way. He's handsome, strong, just, modest, devote, charming and responsible. He kicks ass when there's need for it, but is also very gentle with children and women. He plays the guitar and sings, dances and composes, and beats some thugs in the meantime. Where do you find such fellows nowadays? He should be an example to y'all. But since you didn't get it, Seagal was disappointed and got the picture himself. "I'll have to make a living," he must've thought, "and when people only appreciate sheer action without a thought, I'll give them that." So he left the line of honest messages and went for the money. I can imagine, really, but it's a shame all the same. If people had estimated Seagals move here, it would've produced more movies of such a strong nature. But the world is ignorant, and prefers flat characters. Steven got the message, and gave the people what they wanted.
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1/10
Just as bad as „On deadly ground"
Maziun11 August 2013
Here's another attempt from Seagal to send a important message to the world – be careful with the environment . And it's just as wonderful as "On deadly ground" . It's not a bad thing when you're trying to say something important. It's bad when you fail to both entertain and send a message.

The message here seems sincere , but it's too preachy just like in "ODG" . What is more important is for an action movie "FDB" sucks . The shootouts and car chases are badly edited. You can't see a thing ! Same goes for fight scenes . There is one fight scene at the beginning of the movie – Seagal fights with few opponents . He beats down one of them , then he defeats second one , then he punches the guy THAT WAS DEFEATED AS FIRST AND LYING UNCONSCIOUS ON GROUND , then he defeats the third one . Talk about bad montage… The movie also tries to put Seagal in believable romantic story , but it fails just as always. The only thing good here is the guitar music . Anyway , this is a really bad movie . Second in Seagal's "save the environment trilogy " ( The trilogy includes "On deadly ground" , "Fire down below" and "The Patriot" ). I give it 1/10.
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6/10
Just a scene: Harry Dean Stanton
chorima7520 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I watched "Fire Down Below" on a twelve-hours coach trip to Paris, in double bill with "The Sixth Sense" (go figure). Despite Steven Seagal's colourful jackets, this is actually a very entertaining action film. In my humble opinion, two things make it recommendable. The first is the heroine, excellently played by Marg Helbenberg, who brings lots of humanity to her character. It is a pity she did not have a more expressive actor to react to her (although Seagal is good in the action bits which, after all, are his thing).

The second (and foremost) is the last scene, the one with Harry Dean Stanton singing and dancing in his newly built porch. Stanton (especially remembered for "Paris, Texas")is one of those actors who have been there for ages but never became a star, whose face is familiar but whose name escapes us. The scene reminds me of that character in "The Searchers", who only wanted "a rocking chair in a porch" in his old age. It is an homage to a veteran actor, a secondary in hundreds of classic westerns and also an accomplished musician. Watching him play "Kentucky Waltz" made me wish the credits rolled forever.

A 6 for the film and a 10 for this scene.
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3/10
Not a good career change for Seagal.
DigitalRevenantX72 May 2012
Plot Synopsis: Jack Taggart, an agent working for the EPA, is shocked to discover that his best friend & fellow agent has been killed while investigating reports of people in a rural town in Kentucky getting sick. Posing as a church mission carpenter, he visits the town, uncovering a conspiracy to dump toxic waste in the abandoned coal mines in the nearby mountains by Orin Hanner, a shady businessman whose son runs the town. Faced with a wall of silence in the town & the presence of the dumpers, Jack attempts to expose the dumping & prosecute the people responsible.

Film Review: Faced with a dip in popularity during the mid-1990s, the action stars of the 1980s & early 1990s (Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Van Damme, Bronson & Norris) tried a variety of ways to continue their careers – Schwarzenegger & Stallone both tried their hands at comedy with varying results; Van Damme's popularity actually going up a notch for a brief time before crashing down so low that he became stuck in DTV land for the next decade; Norris turned to television while Bronson made a trilogy of DTV films before his death. As for Steven Seagal, the real-life aikido master, police officer (I'm serious), blues musician & actor (I was going to include CIA agent in that list of achievements but I'm not exactly sure if Seagal ever worked for the agency for real), he tried to reinvent himself as an environmental activist, making a trilogy of films in the mid-to-late 1990s that were eco-thrillers (ON DEADLY GROUND, Fire Down Below & The Patriot)… at least in basic plot thematics, that is.

Excepting On Deadly Ground, these pro-environment films almost killed Seagal's career stone dead, mainly due to being ridiculously heavy-handed – the villains are all very shrill one-dimensional cardboard cutouts & clichés; the scripts are poorly written; & the most serious flaw of all – the action scenes are poorly staged.

Fire Down Below starts out in a way that seems to indicate that Seagal is planning to forsake his customary martial arts sequences for some good old fashioned investigative skills. Not counting the short scene where Seagal stumbles onto a cannabis hydroponics farm, there seems to be a lack of anything that even remotely resembles the sort of brutal martial arts fights that Seagal's early films had showcased.

But shortly after it starts, the film degenerates into a muddled blend of one-dimensional stereotypes, tepid car chases & poorly-choreographed fight scenes. There are two things I hate while watching films – having my intelligence insulted & being preached to (by that I don't mean social commentaries or satire – I mean films that beat you over the head with messages). Sure enough, Fire Down Below does both. I find it hard to believe that there could be a person (Kris Kristofferson's villain) so cowardly & stupid that he dumps toxic waste in his home town's mountain range. As for the acting, Kristofferson is actually a good actor, but here he has no motivation for his actions. As for the preaching part, the film lays on the let's-look-after-the-environment message with all the subtlety of a kick to the groin.

All of Seagal's films (including the dreck that Seagal made during the 2000s) have this concept of White Hat / Black Hat characters (the White Hat is Seagal, while the Black Hat is a really despicable villain). Of course this scripting idea first manifested itself during Seagal's debut film ABOVE THE LAW & continues in this one, with Kris Kristofferson's businessman being an evil coward who spends his working hours in the company of female escorts.

The other actors are quite competent in their performances, especially Marg Helgenberger as the love interest (I kind of liked the idea to give her a shady past, but the film indifferently throws this away by making her brother turn out to have committed the deed) & Harry Dean Stanton (Brain from John Carpenter's ultra cool sci-fi classic ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK), who gives a good impression as the hick local who proves to be Seagal's greatest asset.
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3/10
Marvellous
alfiemoviegoer19 April 2012
This is a marvelous film.

The juxtaposition of a petite beekeeping blonde with a large muscular dark haired Federal good all round chap has not often been done better. Nuclear cyanide, a wimpy son and heir to a poisoning conglomerate added to the eclectic mix.

Fast staging of semi-martial arts fights with quick quips about damaged wood sticks just about sealed it for me.

Sadly I watched this film for the first time on the day that Levon Helm died. He died in the film, as the preacher. I could write some great stuff about Seven Seagulls as an actor and mock the film, but won't, out of respect for Mr. Helm.
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This was Segal last decent movie.
Marcus Geebs10 April 2012
This film is different compared to Segals other films,it hardly has any action and they seem to be focused on the plot more, rather than the action.The plot of the movie is Steven segal plays a E.P.A. agent undercover as a maintenance man to investigate a corrupt company that has been dumping toxic waste in Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky. Most of the villains in this movie are country singers,Randy Travis has a cameo appearance.Segal falls in love with a woman everyone in the town dislikes named Sarah Kellog (Marge Hellenberger)because she was falsely accused of murdering her father when she was a child, it was actually her creepy brother Earl(Stephen Lang). This movie has a lot of humor and nice scenery of Kentucky.I would love to live in the south.
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6/10
Seagal Scores in an Ordinary Fare!
namashi_125 March 2012
Bad-Ass Steven Seagal Scores, Yet Again, in 'Fire Down Below'. An Ordinary Fare, that works mostly because of Seagal's charisma & honesty.

'Fire Down Below' Synopsis: An EPA agent investigates a Kentucky mine and helps locals stand up for their rights.

'Fire Down Below' is an ordinary fare. It barely offers anything new! Its a been-there-seen-that, done-with-it stuff, that doesn't even intend to leave its view spell-bound.

Jeb Stuart & Phillip Morton's Screenplay is fairly engaging. Félix Enríquez Alcalá's Direction is passable. Cinematography, Editing & Art Design, are decent.

Seagal's an Eternal Bad-Ass & 'Fire Down Below' nods that fact right! His charisma & sheer honesty, is the sole reason to view this film. He's the scene-stealer here!

On the whole, 'Fire Down Below' will work for Seagal Fans.
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4/10
Needed action to be a good action film
Rodrigo Amaro26 August 2010
The usual in Steven Seagal's movies take place in "Fire Down Below" too. He's the good guy again; the hero again; he's never got punched but he kicks and punches lots of guys with the little help of the editor who makes his moves even faster. This movie resembles "On Deadly Ground", so here we have Seagal saving the Earth of the bloody hands of powerful and corrupt business man who are destroying rivers, oceans and trees and all. The major difference between "Fire Down Below" and "On Deadly Ground" is the quality of the movie (for some reason I like "On Deadly...") and the violence/action. While action is dumb and so non breathtaking here, on the previous film was something great, although at times badly used or excessive, especially towards older people, it was literally no country for old men (e.g. the old friend of Seagal tortured and killed in 1994 film). In "Fire Down Below" the same thing happens but it is only implied, nothing is shown on screen and other times it's only a threat.

In the story Seagal is a Environmental agent who goes to a little town in Kentucky investigate the murder of his friend who discovered that a powerful company, owned by Orin Hanner Sr. (Kris Kristofferson), is being paid to dump toxic waste into an abandoned coal mine shaft. With the assistance of a Reverend (Levon Helm) and a woman (Marg Helgenberger) and some other residents Segal is gonna find the truth and kicks some villains.

The lack of action ruined this movie. The lack of violence ruined this movie. The lack of someone able to kick Seagal on the face ruined this and almost all Seagal's movies. The great vantage of this against "On Deadly Ground" is the quotes delivered by Seagal, funny things and for incredible as it might sound these quotes are not unintentionally laughable, they're there for the purpose of being funny. The scene in the casino when Seagal takes down 4 security guys trying to arrest Kristofferson is amazingly funny.

I'll not say this was Seagal's worst film, but perhaps his performance was not good enough and the whole supporting cast was very effective and good compared to him. Marg Helgenberger was great, her part was very interesting as the forsaken woman of the town; Stephen Lang plays his usual sinister figure in a twisted character; Kristofferson was quite good and funny; and Levon Helm was the best on scene. The movie includes some bad acting from Brad Hunt (he plays the son of Kristofferson) whose presence is annoying, and some wasted acting by Harry Dean Stanton and Richard Masur (who appears in the beginning in some flashbacks), seriously they deserved a better flick to appear.

Again, it is a movie to wait and wait again for action and it will be a few good things in it. Director Felix Enriquez Alcalá made better with the TV film remake of "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three". 4/10
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7/10
Seagal in good form here
disdressed128 June 2010
love him or hate him,you have to admit,Steven Seagal's movies pretty much follow the same tried and true formula,which basically involves Seagal ending up on someone's bad side,and then proceeding to show off his martial arts prowess by beating up everybody in sight.well not everybody.just the bad people.this movie is no different.but hey,it works.it's nothing new or original.but if you're a Seagal fan,this should quench your thirst.like his previous movie,On Deadly Ground there's an environmental theme here too.Marg Helgenbberger(CSI Las Vegas)plays the love interest and does a good job with her character.Harry dean Stanton is also very good.There are also a lot of country stars in the movie,including Kris Kristofferson,who is very impressive.there are nice fight sequences in this one.for me,Fire Down Below is a 7/10
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1/10
Flush this down below.
The Bronson Fan27 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
An EPA agent Jack Taggart (Seagal) is sent to go "undercover" in eastern Kentucky to find out who's responsible for dumping toxins in the ground. Of course in a film like this, there's a friend of Taggart's who's dead, so he has to avenge him. The locals, mostly poor are too afraid to make much noise about who's doing it for fear of reprisals. So Taggart strolls into town and starts doing odd jobs for a church fixing up some local's porches, playing the fiddle and then meets the female lead Sarah Kellogg (Helgenberger). It's just as bad as it sounds. I like to the scene where he grabs the rattle snake lighting quick, I guess I'm not the only one who saw "Hard Target". Pretty soon he gets into fights with the local trash and as always dominates and finds out that Orin Hanner Sr. (Kristofferson) is the guy behind the whole operation. Taggart goes after his spineless son Orin Jr. (Hunt) who runs the business locally and eventually takes it to the top and sends Sr. to the big house in an anti climatic ending.

This is one of Seagal's worst movies in my opinion. Even in films where the script was bad, Seagal usually would come through with some good fight sequences but even these are fairly lame in this. More often you are waiting for some action to actually happen, but rather you get to see Seagal glad hand the locals, sing, play guitars, square dance, give an environmental speech and do routine maintenance for the poor. Can you say stupid? The movie is boring and Seagal supposedly undercover stands out like sore thumb with those silly jackets. With the few action scenes you get, all are vastly inferior to those of his past greats and what kicks he had are very poor indeed. By this time in his career he was not in great shape and this may have affected the scenes in general. The best action scene in the film actually involves a big rig chasing him in truck like Red Fox's. To add to this, there is very little killing in this, not only does he push the environmental message, but he kills very few people. I mean come on, the staple of a film like this is the showdown at the end and the bad guy bites it. But no Seagal wounds the guy and arrests him. And don't even get me started with the gas station and the flare, didn't want to hurt any bystanders I suppose. WEAK!

There are plenty of fine actors in this film, not really sure why, who also come out looking thoroughly awful. Nobody usually expects fine acting from a film like this, but good actors can only do so much with a terrible script and this proves good actors can be totally wasted on poor writing. Harry Dean Stanton is great and he has such a weak hillbilly role in this, along with Helgenberger. And of course Seagal speaks as always painfully low toned and silly, like he's on depressants. If your fan of The Punisher look for Mark Collie playing a hick who can't fight. Also once Seagal started putting into his films too much of an environmental message the movies began to go down hill. Believe me, I'm for the environment, but it has very little place in these films and Seagal looks like a fool doing speeches on the subject, remember On Deadly Ground? This is worse.

There very few bright spots, one being the location shots. OK nice, but I came to see action not Kentucky. For country music fans I would imagine this is a gold mine, with lots of music and stars making appearances in the films. Again, didn't come to see that. With a few one liners that are OK, there is nothing much more to say that is good. Surprisingly this was released in theaters and I can see why it was one of his last. Overall a very poor action film, with no nudity to speak of equals 1 out of 10 stars.
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Not much of a movie, but nonetheless amusing
Samiam316 February 2010
I got what I expected from Fire Down Below, (maybe perhaps a little less). There is punching, kicking bad acting and low-budget amusement. The problem with Fire Down Below is that Seagal does more talking than he does fighting and of course he is not very good at that. He gets a lot of one liners (many of which he probably improvised) but he doesn't deliver them very well. Because Seagal can take out any number of bad guys regardless of the time and place, there is really no conflict in a movie like Fire Down Below and ergo, no sense of even a moments tension. This is why the movie is neither thrilling nor riveting or any synonym, it is just amusing, at least it is enough so to make it worth watching if there is nothing else on.

Seagal is Jack Taggart a fed (and a carpenter) who is sent out into the Kentucky hills to investigate the possible dumping of toxic waste by a crooked mining corporation. Because the locals are getting payed off, they don't really want Taggart around. Can he persuade them to make a stand or is he gonna have to bring down the big money single handedly.

I can't say the fight scenes are very inventive or elaborate but the sound mix is surprisingly effective. Even though it is comprised mostly of stock sounds, it delivers a punch, especially in one sequence which is taken right out of Duel where a diesel truck goes over a cliff. Seagal's guitar in the background is nice every now and then, but the soundtrack otherwise is badly mixed.

Steven Seagal movies are dumb, but they can also be fun. I suppose this could have been worse, but it is one of the Seagal films that I'd recommend.
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5/10
Steven Seagal Versus Hillbillies!
zardoz-1317 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Steven Seagal movies are truly an acquired taste. These zero-risk melodramas boast an invincible champion, slime ball villains, and disposable bystanders. Zero-risk because you know the villains are going to be vanquished. Seagal never loses. The Seagal hero kicks butt and leaves little behind. That is the problem with this soft-spoke martial arts master's epics. Everybody around Seagal dies, while our invincible hero tiptoes through the mayhem as if he were weeding a garden.

The typical Seagal hero is a career lawman or military intelligence spy who may be temping at another job, like the cook that he played in the immensely entertaining "Under Siege." Seagal has perfected an acting style that can only be described as minimalist. His range of expressions is limited to that of a Cyborg. Seagal heroes are strictly one-dimensional. When he fights, he never moves from his position any farther than it takes to toss an adversary. Taggart is a flesh-and-blood version of a Terminator. The only thing that makes Jack stand out in a crowd is the colorful coats that he sports, neatly buttoned up to conceal his gargantuan girth.

Worse, the Seagal hero has no Achilles heel. All of the best heroes possess one, and this makes them vulnerable, sympathetic and believable. It is the chink in his armor that makes him more interesting than the villains. Plus, the villains have a legitimate chance to kill him like Superman with kryptonite. Usually, however, Taggart emerges without so much as a scratch. Seagal is as inexorable as fate when he descends upon his enemies.

The villains in "Fire Down Below" are about as dirty as dishwater. Truly memorable villains in beer & pizza actioneers must be slime balls, without a shred of humanity. As the chief villain in "Fire Down Below," Orrin Hanners (Kris Kristofferson of "Convoy") spends most of his time on the phone in his executive office in his own skyscraper cheating on his spousal unit. When he does come out to tangle with Seagal, the fight is one real yawner. Hanners presents so small a threat to Taggart (Seagal) that he does not even bother to kill him in the end.

Marshal Jack Taggart of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency wings his way into a tiny, isolated hamlet in the rolling hills of Kentucky to find a hidden toxic waste dump as well as the murderers of a friend and colleague. Yeah, there is toxic waste in them thar hills! The Jeb Stuart & Philip Morton screenplay has bad guy Hanners making a millions by stashing toxic chemicals in abandoned mines. Sadly, the Kristofferson villain is not as much fun as the Michael Caine nemesis that Seagal took down in his previous environmental-thriller "On Deadly Ground." All Kristofferson gets to do is snarl at his grown-up, knuckle-headed namesake Orrin, Jr. (Brad Hunt of "Blow"). Yokels come after Taggart disguised as Federal Agents, one of them is none-other-than country music crooner Randy Travis. These villains, however, topple like ten-pins in a bowling alley. Taggart even defies the local constable Lloyd (Ed Bruce of "Public Enemies") who threatens to summon 300 federal lawmen.

Predictably, Hanners tries to trap Taggart in the mine with the toxic chemicals. This rates as one of the better plot ploys for the slimy villains. Even if they cannot deliver (kill Taggart), at least they have a grand scheme. All villains should have grand schemes. So "Fire Down Below" preserves the invincible Seagal hero, but the villains are strictly vegetables who are slashed from the vines. They are not as well-armed as the villains in the "Under Siege" movies. Most of the time, Taggart delivers a brutal punch in the guts or takes them by their hands and brings them to their knees.

One of the disposable bystanders is Sara Kellogg (Marg Helgenberger of the CBS-TV show "C.S.I."). As Kellogg, Helgenberger is an outsider in the community. Her reputation was ruined years ago during a murder trial; it seems that she was accused of killing her father. This is a big subplot in "Fire Down Below" and one of the few interesting things about this lackluster melodrama. Taggart is searching for a witness to bring the bad guys to justice. Eventually, he convinces Sarah to talk. His first resort is the kindly preacher Reverend Bob Goodall (Levon Helm of "Coal Miner's Daughter") who gives Taggart room and board in his church. Reverend Goodall qualifies as the sacrificial goat in this movie. When he finds his civic backbone, the villains break it. Actually, the villains are good only when they have complete advantage over the weaker. Helm gives one of the best performances in "Fire Down Below." As Cotton, a poor custodian in overalls, Harry Dean Stanton is another bystander who takes Jack up on his offer and agrees to testify against the villains. Naturally, the villains beat poor Cotton to within an inch of death. The filmmakers always distract the invincible hero while the slime balls do their dirty work. Nevertheless, you know that Taggart will triumph in the end. These pathetic louts are good of a couple of laughs, but even they fail to add anything to Taggart's statue. Meanwhile, the Kristofferson villain is a corporate pirate who is willing to shoot anybody down in cold blood if it serves his purpose. He does not show his true colors, however, until the last reel. Altogether, Hanners is not much of a villain because he is simply too bland.

Even by Seagal standards, "Fire Down Below" is below average. There are few good lines of dialogue. When Orrin, Jr., tells his dad that he ill take care of Taggart, his contemptuous father observes that he could not pick up take-out fast food. "Fire Down Below" contains scenery that is more interesting than the dull, routine plot. Finally, do not confuse this actioneer with the 1957 "Fire Down Below" that co-starred Robert Mitchum and Jack Lemmon. Only die-hard Seagal fans will appreciate his opus.
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