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Charlie McGee is a young woman with the unwanted and often uncontrollable gift of pyrokinesis, lighting fires by mere thought. Charlie has been in hiding for nearly all her life from a top-secret government fringe group headed by the maniacal John Rainbird, who wants to find and use Charlie as the ultimate weapon of war. Vincent is a young private investigator unwittingly sent to look for Charlie, and evenutally tries to help her escape from Rainbird, who has formed a group of young boys from other research projects -- each with different special abilities -- in a plot to take over the world. Written by
I've seen worse . . . and I've seen better. It's actually a decent sequel, especially considering it came almost 20 years after the original, but still it's far from perfect.
My biggest gripe would have to be the continuity flaws in the flashbacks; instead of flashing to footage from the original film, they shot some scenes to custom tailor to this film's needs . . . I can kinda understand the reasoning and wanting to be consistent with style. But the flashbacks don't always line up with the story told in the first film (at least, what I remember of the first FireStarter film).
Next, despite being 4 hours long, you never seem to get close to the characters. The narrative too frequently jumps from character to character to get the plot across that it never seems to stick long enough to make you sympathize with anyone, and when we do see them it's filled with lots of plot/character cliches that we expect from your typical story. It's really a shame since the cast seems very capable of diving much deeper.
Hopper's character is seen least, and interestingly was most memorable and deep in my mind. His quirky personality and looped speeches about the illusion of choices given in an almost ominous, allknowing (but reluctant) way . . . as good as the other actors are in this film, Hopper makes the best of the screen time he's given. His character has the Oracle essence that the Matrix films so desperately need.
Mixed feelings about the children . . . I do like the idea of the experiment on children and especially Cody's power. I didn't like how they felt like the little freak-show gang waiting to have a West Side Story brawl with Charlie. I think it would've been more effective with just Cody, or Cody and one other. The rest of the Children didn't add anything significant to the story line and just took up valuable development time.
The ending I didn't much care for either. Though the inferno was fine, the build up was all wrong. They could have pulled that ending off if some key changes were made, some key people surviving. I thought it would have been more interesting in Cody's obsession with Charlie's power threw a wrench in the works of Rainbird's plans and his own obsession.
In the end, I think it suffers from trying to do too much, cover too many characters, and really fails to convince us that what does happen can happen. (Charlie's sex life, for example). I think a few critical cuts and development changes would've made the climax work much better.
That's not to say Firestarter 2 is bad, it just doesn't quite hit the mark. The cast does well overall, the music is several notches above the first (as much as I like Tangerine Dream, this one's better.)
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