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The Sci Fi Channel almost had a hit with "Firestarter: Rekindled."
For those who read the Stephen King novel or has seen the 1984 movie version of the novel with Drew Barrymore, stop right where you are. They have taking a HUGE liberty with both. In the novel, there were only 3 remaining subjects of the Lot 6 program (Charlie's parents and Richardson). This version has an agency that is bumping off the original participants by promising a cash settlement from the program. Danny Nucci plays Vincent Sforza, working for the agency in finding these people, although her doesn't know what happens once they're found. One of the people on the list is Charlie McGee, now a young woman (Marguerite Moreau). Seems that Charlie has some issues of her own. Whenever she gets "excited," she gets VERY hot, so hot that things catch fire (In one instance, she smolders an entire hotel room). She's also been living her life on the run ever since her parents were killed by the government agency known as The Shop. One of their operatives, Rainbird (Malcolm McDowell), wants Charlie, even after she turns him into a charred lunatic. He wants Charlie bad enough to kill (And he likes using a pencil as a weapon!). He's also done something else with the Lot 6 experiment: 6 boys with individual powers (One is an energy vampire, another with a killer voice)that are being used to create an ultimate weapon.
A lot of questions were left unanswered: What happened to The Shop and the Manders? There are a lot of plot holes: Are we supposed to swallow the fact that Rainbird who, in both the novel and 1984 version was burnt to a crispy critter, yet manages to survive without looking MORE disfigured? And what's the thing with Richardson(A bored looking Dennis Hopper)? He doesn't really serve any real purpose other than to claim that he knows what's going to happen. They recreate Charlie's early story rather than use the footage from the original to keep the story in balance, also changing her parent's fate.
If you could get over these problems, then you could really enjoy the film on a decent level. If you're a purist of the novel and the 1984 version, then you are going to spend all of your time picking the film apart. The saving grace is the 6 boys. They don't know the real story behind Rainbird, that they could possibly end up in the same situation as Charlie.
Originally airing as a Sci-Fi Channel original movie/mini-series,
"Firestarter 2: Rekindled" is the only sequel to "Firestarter," a
little horror movie from 1984 that was based on a Stephen King novel
and starred a very young Drew Barrymore as the title character.
Arriving 18 years later and stretched out to nearly three hours,
"Rekindled," re-writes history, re-making the previous film through
flashbacks as it goes along. To say it takes liberties with its source
material would be an understatement.
Since this is 2002, and Drew Barrymore has better things to do, the role of Charlie McGee has been re-casted with Marguerite Moreau, who will certainly ring a bell to fans of "The Mighty Ducks." Malcolm McDowell of "A Clockwork Orange" fame steps into the shoes of George C. Scott and looks even less Native American as John Rainbird, the manipulative megalomaniacal psychopath who exploited Charlie in the past and who, like Sam Loomis in "Halloween," can't shake his past obsessions, no matter what cost it comes at. Aside from spending the first half catching you up in case you didn't see the first movie (and offending you by assuming you are stupid if you have), "Rekindled" finds there to be more survivors of the "Lot 6" program, which used human beings to test mind-expanding drugs, which had an adverse effect on their psychological well-being. It's the job of Vincent Sforza (Danny Nucci) to track these people down so they can receive the rewards of a class action lawsuit (a.k.a. a brutal and swift cover-up death) and once he realizes something is awry, helps Charlie once again escape the clutches of Rainbird and his cronies, as well as fending off a group of genetically engineered "Super-Kids," who serve merely as plot devices and filler. Also, there's Dennis Hopper as a tortured psychic who was obviously only written into the script so that his name could appear in the credits, possibly lending credibility to this sequel.
All these little sub-plots do well enough to pad out the length of the "film," but for the most part, it follows the same "fox on the run" formula of the first. The flashbacks which serve to remake the first movie tend to bog things down and, in the end, are unnecessary and unfortunate. The fact of the matter is, for this movie to exist, nothing in the first movie needed to be re-written. The flashbacks were unnecessary because not only did they not add to the narrative at hand, but also because anyone watching a TV-movie/sequel should have at least seen the first movie or read the book. Thankfully, though, for a TV-movie, it's actually quite entertaining, despite some cheesy moments and obvious padding. There's a good hour that probably could have been cut from the flick, and it would have been all the better for it. On the upside, Marguerite Moreau is a nice replacement for Barrymore, even if she looks and acts nothing like her. Malcolm McDowell hams it up a bit, but at least gets into his role enough so that you believe he is truly insane. Dennis Hopper shows up, reads his lines and drives off, but his presence is still noteworthy. For a fan of the original "Firestarter" who doesn't mind seeing it violated just a bit, "Firestarter 2: Rekindled" serves as a nice way to kill a rainy afternoon. View it with a grain of salt, and you will find that despite its limitations and short-comings, it's actually not all that bad for a TV-movie. Truth be told, if they had billed the movie simply as "Firestarter: Rekindled," dropping the "2," the results would have been less offensive and it would be suitable as more of a remake than it is a sequel. Think of it as an overblown piece of fan-fiction on the small-screen, and it has its merits.
What the heck was this movie?? A rejected script for X-Toddlers?? That is
the only thing that i kept asking myself through out the long duration of
this horrible thing.
I must admit that i have never read the book, but i am a fan of the original film. This film ALL but erases the existence of it. Let's change the entire ending of a movie and make another and call it a sequel. That is exactly what has happened here. With the additions of the little village of the damned mutant children making it so far out there it was borderline comedy. The two good things out this film were the actress who played Charlie who was actually a good actress, just the wrong film for her. Danny Nucci was good as always. But they could not save this horrid thing.
Stay away from it or you will wish you were set on Fire.
Being a huge Stephen King fan I recently read the book Firestarter, and
today rented Firestarter 1 and 2 at Blockbusters out of curiosity.
Firestarter 1 was good, it stuck with the book's plot, it changed a few
minor details and cut a few scenes as expected but much of the actual
dialogue was just as the book word-for-word.... however when I put
Firestarter 2 in the DVD player, I was cringing at every detail, the
information isnt accurate, it's made a complete mess of the original
the flashbacks to "what happened" were totally different, everything from
the way her mother was killed to what happened at the Manders
If you've never read the book or seen the first movie, you'll probably like it, but once you've read the book and gotten attached to the characters, you'll find this movie a huge disappointment.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Could've been better, but could've been worse. I'd say my interest in
and longtime hope for a sequel to "Firestarter" made me enjoy this
film. I wasn't totally disappointed, but my biggest pet peeves were
that the flashbacks didn't match up with the events of the first film
(Manders Farm, Vicky and Andy's deaths) and the fact that Rainbird was
supposed to be dead.
Could've been a lot worse though and for a miniseries this wasn't bad. A lot of the new characters make you wonder, though, and I could see why Drew Barrymore decided not to do this miniseries. Marguerite Moreau had some big shoes to fill and she didn't do too badly imo.
I wonder though if things would have been different if this had been planned as a feature-film instead of a miniseries.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A Minor Spoiler
In the 80's, Stephen King's Firestarter was a successful movie in Brazil, with the lovely Drew Barrymore. However, this sequel is horrible: bad actors, senseless screenplay and a waste of unnecessary special effects. The name of Malcom McDowell in the credits is a synonym of a bad movie. Remove the wonderful 'A Clockwork Orange', 'Cat People' and 'Star Trek Generation' from his extensive filmography, and what rests? Danny Nucci keeps a dummy expressionless face along the whole story, no matter what he is doing. Charlie (Marguerite Moreau) seems to lose control of her power only when having sex. And why destroy the whole town in the last scene? Wouldn't it be enough to kill her enemy John Rainbird? Dennis Hopper keeps his arms down in the most of his scenes. Does he have a problem with his arms? My vote is five.
Title (Brazil): "O Jogo dos Espíritos" ("The Spirit Game")
How can a mini-series be so good for the first half and be so awful for
second? The first two hours pick up where the Stephen King novel and
associated movie leave off, only ten years later. Character development is
generally good, and Marguerite Moreau is both easy on the eyes and the
But-- the second half of the show is terrible. Pointless dialog, nonsensical action and plot holes you can drive a truck through. Don't even bother with part 2, just watch the first part and learn to live with the cliffhanger ending.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In both the book and the first movie, John Rainbird is quick-fried by Charlie...old boy is deader than Dubya's chances of re-election! The book also describes Rainbird as a Native American; correct me if I'm wrong, but neither George C. Scott (in the first movie) nor Malcolm McDowell (in the second) struck me as even trying to look Native American!!! Now, are we to believe that you can look like the guy who played Patton, get quick-cooked, and come back looking like the guy that killed Captain James T. Kirk? Are we also to believe that you can have an accent of one who hails from Wise, Virginia, get roasted, and suddenly have the accent of one raised in Leeds, England? Just how MANY Native Americans raised on the reservation have British accents, anyway?
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.)
Firestarter II is about the adventures of psychic Charlie McGee
(Marguerite Moreau, Drew Barrymore's character from the first film) who is
pitted against the evil John Rainbird (Malcolm McDowell) and his band of
evil psychic children. Unlike the first film, this one deals primarily
"Evil Corporation With the Sole Purpose of Murdering People" rather than
"Government Conspiracies With the Sole Purpose of Killing off Government
The film is not as special-effects heavy as you might be led to believe from the previews, and pretty much all the special effects used are of fire, and generally fire making things explode. In one scene, fire even knocks bullets out of the air. Go fire.
Tension "Develops" between Moreau's and McDowell's characters through about three dozen identical standoffs. You'll be able to guess the dialogue for each one after the first. Also, the writing of pretty much any scene in the movie with Dennis Hopper is a horrifically bad attempt to back-fill plot holes. Fortunately, these scenes aren't very long. The only really memorable performances are Vincent's (Danny Nucci) limping around acting clueless and Malcolm McDowell's shambling around scowling at things.
The ending of the miniseries seems almost solely purposed to leave this WAY open for any sort of sequel(s). This might seem like an odd treatment for an 18 year old not-particularly-popular film, but it IS the Sci-Fi channel.
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