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Firestorm
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Reviews & Ratings for
Firestorm More at IMDbPro »

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15 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Better Than Anticipated

7/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
13 May 2006

This is kind of a Class B action film and it stars an ex-pro football player (Howie Long) making his debut in the movies. Because of that, I didn't expect much.

I was surprised. It's actually a good adventure story and Long was capable in his acting. He was aided by three fine actors who usually are interesting in whatever roles they play: Scott Glenn, Suzy Amis and William Forstyhe. Glenn is the best-known of the three but had the least lines in here. Forsythe was good at playing what he does best: the nasty villain.

This movie was also well-filmed with some nice closeup and camera angles. The only complaints were some dopey dialog in spots and a little too much profanity in spots. Otherwise, for a no-name movie starring a rookie actor it was better than I anticipated.

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

William Forsythe rocks

7/10
Author: ghostman16 from United Kingdom
2 April 2007

firestorm is a cliffhanger type thriller starring Howie Long as Jesse Graves a heroic fire fighter who is up against a group of escaped convicts led by the Psycotic Randell who has kidnapped a bird watcher played by Suzi Amis and has caused a giant fire that is turning into a firestorm.now Jesse must now save the hostage stop the fire and take care of Randell. firestorm is quite a fun little thriller Howie Long was quite a good hero shame he didn't make anymore action films after this.William Forsythe was absolutely brilliant as the main bad guy Randell William normally plays decent bad guys anyway like in out for justice and stone cold.even Scott Glenn is in it. to end the review firestorm is a well made action thriller a bit clichéd but still cool 7 out of 10.

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9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

put this fire out

Author: Special-K88
14 March 2002

Hokey, instantly forgettable action movie which seems to be trying to cash in on moviegoers fascination with disaster flicks. A hardened convict escapes from prison with a group of assorted others and sets out to recover a stash of money with a blazing forest fire as his cover. What begins as the perfect plan quickly goes awry when he's pursued by a resilient and resourceful smoke jumper (Long) determined to thwart him. Another one of those movies that takes a force of nature and drives it into the ground with thin characters, silly dialogue, and routine writing. Not a single fresh or innovative idea in the entire picture, or a single plot twist that you won't be one step ahead of. *

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Good for what it was

4/10
Author: MargoC from United States
13 November 2009

I've seen worse and of course I've seen better. I enjoyed Backdraft, and I figured this was just Backdraft in the woods. It was just what I expected, a cheesy action movie, with "witty" lines and a totally off the wall villain. William Forsythe is one of my favorite "villain" actors, and he does not disappoint. There's something about him that's really creepy. Favorite line? "Heeeeeeeeeeeeey smokejumpah! You still alive?"

If you're looking for a B movie that has pretty good action scenes and bad dialogue, this is the one for you. The fire scenes were actually quite good too. Great improbable stunts too.

Too bad Howie didn't take his shirt off, I would have given it another star.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Not bad, but not the best

Author: crewcut6 from Allentown, PA
12 August 1999

When I first heard of Firestorm, I thought it was going to be a blast, but it just didn't live up to my expectations. I had to admit, the dialogue was EXTREMELY lousy. Howie Long has to start reading his lines more. He seemed like a damn zombie when it came to his talking parts! But enough about the bad parts. I think this film had a lot of great action sequences, because it all seemed pretty realistic. If he would just work at it, Long would make an excellent action hero. Though he wouldn't make it to the level of Schwarzeneggar and Stallone, he would probably equal to the level with Dolph Lundgren, Wings Hauser, Gary Busey, and Bruce Campbell. Firestorm really reminded me of a lot like Cliffhanger, because they similar plot tones. Let's face it, this film is no Ben-Hur, but if you like action films that don't require a high IQ, Firestorm is your right choice.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

"...Canadian Firefighters, eh!"

Author: Mike Sabulsky from British Columbia
8 August 1999

This movie was fun! Plain, simple, stupid fun! If you take it any other way of course it's going to become an awful movie in every aspect.

I think everyone has said their piece about this film but I'd have to say the most notable scene in the entire movie, the one scene that had me laughing my head off, was when the bad guys pretended to be Canadian Fire-fighters. I live in Canada and I'll guarantee we don't talk like that! It was definitely a funny scene, worth renting just for that scene alone! HAHAHA....

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Just OK

5/10
Author: jesse_beach from Finlandia
8 March 2002

"Firestorm" was avarage action thriller. The fire-effects were pretty nice but in some parts they looked pretty "old". Action was nice but there really wasn´t much brains in it. William Forsythe made the best performance of he actors but none of them really convinced me.

"Firestorms" plot seemed to be a mix from "Cliffhanger" and Ron Howards "Backdraft". It´s just to bad that "Firestorm" doesen´t manage to be anything like either of this good films. Don´t gett me wrong, "Firestorm" was an OK film in some ways. But in those other ways it wasn´t that great. 5/10

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

"You're a bird watcher?!"

5/10
Author: lost-in-limbo from the Mad Hatter's tea party.
25 April 2011

Toasty, by-the-numbers b-grade natural disaster action joint which has a stout-hearted Howie Long playing a smoke-jumper that has to tackle firestorms and William Forsythe's gleefully hammy bad guy persona. Forsythe is great and you know you can always expect a show whenever his on screen, as he simply knows how to play devious tyrants. Also along for the heatwave are Scott Glenn and Barry Pepper. Simple-minded writing makes sure that the bubblegum action flows with the blatant heroics coming to the forefront, which is led by Long and Glenn. Hammy dialogues (I can't remember the last time I heard someone be called a butt-munch) are filtered in and the stunt-work can get hot and heavy. Too bad some of the computer effects come off rather lousy, especially during the final climatic scenes. Director Dean Semler (who was cinematographer for such films as "Mad Max 2" and "Razorback") keeps it rugged and heightens it with some stylish shots of the woodland terrain. Disposable, but crackling entertainment.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

"Firestorm" Blows Smoke

4/10
Author: zardoz-13 from United States
20 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

You cannot see the trees for the testosterone in director Dean Semler's synthetic outdoors action saga "Firestorm," starring sportscaster Howie Long as a stalwart smoke jumper who parachutes into raging Wyoming forest fires to rescue little gals and grown-up gals from getting cremated. Any sparks that Howie ignited as an actor in John Woo's "Broken Arrow" sputter in "Firestorm" with Long's pulp diction performance. Chris Soth's one-dimensional script doesn't help Howie much as escaped convicts and flaming infernos challenge his physical prowess. There is nothing compelling about Howie's character and his charisma cannot compensate for this monolithic hero. Leanly plotted as a sapling but predictable as a plunging redwood, "Firestorm" kindles minimal excitement with its prefabricated plot and Howie's Styrofoam heroics. Of course, juvenile-minded audiences who don't demand much from their cinematic exercises may find this half-toasted tale tolerable.

What modicum of merit the movie musters lies in its premise. Ultraviolent villain Randy Earl Shaye (William Forsythe of "Once Upon A Time in America") cons his shyster lawyer (Terry Kelly of "Christina") into committing wildfire arson. Shaye wants out of the Wyoming State Penitentiary to get his $20-million. It seems that the prison dispatches short-time convicts to help extinguish forest fires. Shaye plans to use the forest fire as a cover for his escape. Stabbing a friendly prisoner on the fire detail, Shaye disguises himself as the dead man, and then sneaks out of the joint. Soth asks us to believe that a man could escape from prison based largely on a tattoo worn behind the ear.

As villains go, Shaye shows early promise as a worthy adversary, until the filmmakers contrive obvious flaws in his character that assure his mortality. Veteran heavy William Forsythe supplies appropriate plug-ugly menace as Randy Earl Shaye. When we initially see Shaye, he resembles Sean Connery from the "The Rock," with a beard and blond messianic coiffure. The filmmakers emphasize Shaye's villainy by showing not only the character of Shaye but also Forsythe's sneering face together in the same shot with the man that he kills. Driving the point home, director Dean Semler wants audiences to realize that Shaye is clearly an unrepentant sadist. Sadly, the events of the plot turn more on Shaye's sadism than on his criminal ingenuity. Shaye's comeuppance is horribly graphic but richly deserved for his murderous demeanor.

"Firestorm" follows clench-jawed Jesse Graves (ex-Raiders football star Howie Long) as he thwarts Shaye's escape. The Spartan Chris Soth screenplay tosses in a woman to liven things up. "Titanic" supporting player Suzy Amis appears here as Jennifer, an ornithologist who finds herself trapped by the wildfire blaze. Fleeing from the fire, she runs smack into Randy Earl and his armed and stupid henchmen masquerading as Canadian firefighters. You must have stupid henchmen in "Firestorm" so that they can brag about their means of escape. When Jennifer finally gets away, Shaye cannot afford to let her live because she knows his plans.

Meanwhile, when Jesse learns about the forest fire, he skydives into it singlehandedly. He stumbles into Shaye, Jennifer and Shaye's other henchmen. In other words, "Firestorm" constantly moves ahead in terms of storytelling, but with little efficiency, plausibility, or imagination. When Shaye tries his bogus Canadian firefighters story out, Jesse is neither impressed nor convinced. Matching fists and wits with Shaye's motley crew, our brawny firefighter hero sneaks off with Jennifer and they evade Randy Earl until a climactic fight on a lake about to be engulfed in a withering blaze.

"Firestorm" derives its title from the phenomenon which occurs when two fires collide and suck all of the oxygen out of the air, creating one of Mother Nature's nasty nuclear-style blasts which destroys everything in it. Soth's script contains those suitable elements that any decent he-man actioneer should boast. The effect, however, is less than incendiary. The problem with Soth along with uncredited scenarist Graham Yost of "Speed" and "Hard Target" is that their characters are a poorly developed bundle of stick figures with neither depth nor complexity. Randy Earl Shaye is supposed to be a homicidal genius who goes so far as to impersonate a prisoner (brutally killing the convict by stabbing him in the neck), but doesn't know squat about forest fires. Jennifer claims to be the offspring of a third generation Marine. Boasting that she can field strip automatic weapons like an AK-47, she fails to notice that the auto-pistol that she swiped from a sex offender isn't loaded.

"Firestorm" does other things wrong, too. A neat gimmick--ping-pong balls that explode to start fires—is lamely utilized. The first time that they use it as a trick during a ping-pong game, and the second time, Howie uses it to start a backfire to divert oxygen from the first fire. But the ping-pong balls disappear afterward, never to be used again. There is a running joke about axes that the filmmakers bungle, too. At one point in the plot, Jesse and Jennifer lay a trap for Shaye and his sex-predator henchmen that goes afoul because it is so ineptly planned with half-baked results! The only surprises in "Firestorm" are provided by rugged Scott Glenn as battle-weary smoke jumper Wynt Perkins who is crippled while rescuing a dog from a burning house. Revealing more about his role and character would cut down on what little energy "Firestorm" contrives. Sentimentality drips off the script at points, especially at the end when Jennifer learns that she has been incubating two bird eggs during this maelstrom of action.

"Dances with Wolves" Oscar-winning photographer Dean Semler makes his less than inflammatory directorial debut with "Firestorm." When he takes his cameras up for aerial shots of British Columbia, you find your breath catching in your throat. Sadly, Semler doesn't breath the same magic into the thin, adolescent storyline. The special effects of the firestorm aren't that imaginative. You feel like you're trapped by expensive looking computer graphics instead of a real wildfire.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Could have been great

4/10
Author: drzom from United States
23 November 2005

Somewhere inside this movie is another Die Hard waiting to get out. A classic exercise on what not to do when making an action epic - to wit: don't sellout your action scenes with chop sockey editing that renders your story incomprehensible. Don't try to rip off little bits of other action movies and do them with less panache.

Despite all the snark, Howie does a pretty good job and with a good director he might have made something of it. Hell, Glenn and Forsythe are experienced actors and they suck eggs in every scene- that's the director and editor's fault. I think if someone had given the raw footage to John McTiernan we might have seen a different, and decent, movie. If I remember correctly, Long was voted Male Star of Tomorrow at ShoWest 1997.

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