Firestorm (1998) Poster

(1998)

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7/10
Better Than Anticipated
ccthemovieman-113 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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4/10
Good for what it was
MargoC13 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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7/10
William Forsythe rocks
ghostman162 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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put this fire out
Special-K8814 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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5/10
Just OK
jesse_beach8 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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Not bad, but not the best
crewcut612 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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"...Canadian Firefighters, eh!"
metlmike8 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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Just like the old movie serials
TC-415 March 1999
Sometimes I just want to watch a movie for its entertainment value not its artistic content. This is such a movie. There is action in every scene and great special effects. This movie reminds me of the slam-bang old movie serials which didn't make sense but were entertaining. I used to work in a prison and to have prisoners from a State Prison instead of a local minimum security prison to fight fires is stupid. Also they should have had like an old army type open truck 6 wheel drive, not a school bus to go into the woods. Suzi Amis was a perfect example of why baseball caps look great on women. I liked it a lot.
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4/10
"Firestorm" Blows Smoke
zardoz-1320 August 2009
Warning: 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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4/10
Could have been great
drzom23 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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5/10
Harmless really
Alex Brown12 January 2002
One of those films that doesn't go anywhere, is predictable in what's going to happen, but at the same time, Firestorm is fairly harmless and one to watch with a delivered pizza.

Definitely TV movie fare - whether intentional or not.

A silly story of a felon who gets a forest fire started so he can escape with $27million. Kind of like Cliffhanger I suppose then, but without Stallone.

At least it had something going for it then.
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6/10
Dumb, brainless action but fun in a way
Shawn Watson21 July 2000
This movie only lasts for barely 89 minutes. This makes me wonder if anything was cut out of the movie in the editing room. I think there was when I watch the film. It could have been so much more. What's left is a very brief and entertaining movie about a prison break. With very little Firestorm.

Many people have said that Howie Long's performance in this film is quite poor. I think that he did a fine job. I can honestly say his performance is totally adequate. William Forsythe is quite a decent villain too. Neither hammy nor campy. I'm glad he was in the movie.

But I'm not glad the film was a flop. It would have been a big hit if it was longer and had more plot. You can't call a film FIRESTORM and have only a few seconds worth of fire in it. I don't know what has been cut from this film but it has damaged it severely. Chris Soth is the only person credited with writing this film but rumor has it that Graeme Yost actually wrote the first draft but used his affiliation with the of the WGA to take if off after they hashed his script around too much.

Although it is bare-boned and anorexic it is still a cool film to watch.
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7/10
More fun than I expected
Timber Toast26 November 2017
It's pretty obvious that the director has numerous Oscar nominations for cinematography, because the visuals look pretty spectacular. This in of itself makes the movie entertaining to watch, which is OK for a film that's really only intended to be a basic action flick. Forsythe, Amis and Glen do a good job helping Howie Long through the scenes. Even though he can't really act, Howie's likability and physical prowess make him fun to watch. I could easily delve into the problems of this film (which are numerous), but if you go in with very low expectations, you may come out pleasantly surprised. Firestorm is a fun little action flick with great visuals you can watch on a rainy day. It's certainly no worse than some of the other films of the same genre.
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5/10
"You're a bird watcher?!"
mylimbo25 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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2/10
Hilarious! ****! Funniest Movie of the year!!!
money-1010 January 1999
Oh wait...It wasn't a comedy was it? Well, my friends and I came out of the theater in tears. This was one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Right up there with "The Big Hit" (Which was also really funny), and "Armageddon". Howie Long was terrible. The probability of the stunts and action was even worse, and the fact that someone actually thought up this movie was the worst of all. And oh, it was really funny how Long pulled a RUNNING CHAINSAW out of his butt. Plus, I was amazed how he could throw it through someone's windshield and then fly off a cliff with no parachute but then...had a parachute! The best actor in the movie was the axe. This is filmmaker's fecal matter.
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1/10
A house falls on Scott Glenn's leg.
Chicken-726 March 1999
This movie is truly hilarious. Howie obviously pounded his brain preparing for this role (smiling, running, and carrying an axe, and sometimes all three at once). Stupid plot, stupid characters, stupid lines ("I hate it when you jump out of my airplane!"), and a Guinness record for saying the title 14,000 times throughout the movie earn it recognition to being one of the most laughably terrible movies in years. One of the best scenes in the movie is when a house falls on Scott Glenn's leg. I mean, come on: an entire house falls on the man's leg. I've watched better action sequences in "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers", and those guys get attacked by giant purple boogers. If you intend to watch this movie at all, I suggest you get about four of your friends over so you all can just joke the beejesus out of it.
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Hokey, but still fun.
movieguy-3616 April 1999
The preview for this film is actually more exciting to watch. It's really hokey; in the mold of Die Hard, I guess you could say. But aren't they all? The dialogue is kinda interesting, yet, very expectable. The best part - the cool action sequences. Basically just a low-budget movie with a big-budget, right?
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10/10
Wow. That's all I can say. Or is it?
dragonreborn00822 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Holy Crap. Howie Long should be promoted to Master Actor. He is so good at expressing his emotions. He should teach a class about emotions at a major college. A major college about human emotions. He is a vortex, that drags all of his surrounding actors and co-workers into his world. The drama in this movie is incredible as well. The whole "firestorm" element pulls you to the edge of your seat and then drops you on your face. I wish I could throw an axe like Howie Long. When the escaped convicts pretended to be Canadian, I wasn't sure whether they were Canadian or American. And when the Bird watcher stated how she had Marine training, I could see how perfect a match those two little love birds were. I really love how the whole plot was summarized in about 10 minutes during the entire feature, this allowed for more Howie Long content. This was an incredible movie. I would recommend it to anyone. Except to pregnant women. This movie has a few side effects such as premature birth, diarrhea, and drilling your eyes out with a jackhammer. I would also recommend Fire Down Below (Steven Seagal). If I could make one wish for anything in the whole world, it would be for Howie Long to restart(or start) his film career.
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4/10
So bad that is enjoyable as a comedy
DragonflyS614 June 2005
This is one of those films that you can really get a kick out of because it is so bad. It is almost like someone took "Cheesey Movie Making 101." The casting is surprisingly good, the acting itself isn't bad, but script is humorously appalling and the characters are incredibly predictable and shallow. We actually had a very good time predicting characters' next lines with an amusing amount of success. The opening scene is hilarious (small dog included, I kid you not). Speaking as someone who has worked in the wildland fire the movie is completely unrealistic, particularly the beginning and end, the movie has nice symmetry that way. (To name a few errors, you light a backfire to eliminate the fuels-not the oxygen, we do not fly aircraft at night, and, trust me on this one, EVERYONE wears sunglasses.) This is actually quite successful as a satire on action films. Unfortunately for the film makers, I don't think that is what was intended.
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fun
bunny-148 July 1999
I enjoyed this. I wasn't expecting too much just a shot 'em up flick but Howie Long surprised me. His performance was good. The main spot where I had a problem was where you were supposed to figure out that Scott Glenn was the bad guy.The dialog there just didn't work. I've seen it several times and it still never made sense, but if you can forget that it makes a great beer and popcorn movie.
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10/10
Fun Action film for the Fans
Peter Katzman2 February 1999
Firestorm is one of those movies in which the moviegoer should be able to have fun watching this movie. Firestorm has good special effects, excellent action scenes, and a star who in my opinion is one of the coolest men in America. Firestorm may not win any academy awards, but that's not the intention of the film. Firestorm has good actors, such as Scott Glenn and William Forsythe, who have the experience to make a meaningless character much more than that. Howie Long does an exceptional job in Firestorm. It's pretty apparent that the movie is catered around him. Howie Long combines the tough-guy persona with a likeable charm. He shows in Firestorm why he is where is today. Hopefully, we'll be seeing a lot more films with Howie Long.
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"You just jumped out of a perfectly good airplane!"
billybrown4127 July 2001
Well, I had a fun time laughing at this one. Just knowing that Howie Long was actually trying is enough. The script itself makes you wonder why there are so many struggling writers in hollywood while people are actually paid to write bile like this. I was a little saddened to see Scott Glenn in such an underwritten role. Honest to god, the man does have talent. I've seen it. Here, he only pops up long enough for you to forget about him, and then, to pop up again for some sort of "suprise" plot twist (anyone ever see Backdraft?). Aside from the movie's unforgivable flaws (bad script, weak melodrama, PLOT HOLES, half hearted acting, etc.) it does have a redeeming factor or two: the fire scenes were extremely well done, and I really enjoyed the mountain scenery. I think that if there were a decent actor in the lead and had the script been tweaked just a bit (or a lot) this film might have been better. Oh well, all in all, this isn't a bad way to kill an hour and a half of a sleepless night. When you aren't enjoying the scenery, there is still plenty to laugh at.
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Very uninspiring Cliffhanger rip-off
davideo-215 September 2000
STAR RATING:*****Unmissable****Very Good***Okay**You Could Go Out For A Meal Instead*Avoid At All Costs

Firestorm is an intently dire actioner,which worst of it's many hinderances are it's cliched,tacky dialogue ,and listless,nigh on gormless,acting.Howie Long hardly has a Dolph Lundgren future in action movies,William Forsythe is hardly at his Out For Justice best here,whilst Scott Glenn merely reflects himself as a grumbling old timer,and Suzy Amis is placelessly over bearing as Long's birdwatching sidekick.

Concoct into this lame brained mix a leadenly cardboard story,picketed from the least involving aspects of Stallone's Cliffhanger,and some from The River Wild,and it's all the more frustrating just to see an involving and intriguing premise about forest fire fighters,and the terminology involved in their jobs,wasted on such clunky fodder as this.Not worth watching.*
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3/10
Did Jerry Bruckheimer Do This ?
Theo Robertson14 May 2003
Warning: Spoilers
!!!! SPOILERS !!!!

I couldn`t help noticing that this film was done in a dumb , spectacular Jerry Bruckheimer way . The two heroes save a little girl by throwing a blanket over themselves ! What`s wrong with that ? Nothing , except that the firestorm would have suffocated the trio by using up all the surrounding oxygen . The makers could have been forgiven for including this factual error by doing it the once , but screw up by drawing attention to it a second time during the climax where the hero correctly states the firestorm will use up all the oxygen outside the boat . So much for internal continuity .

Maybe I shouldn`t be so harsh because FIRESTORM isn`t a film that`s supposed to make you think . It`s one of those dumb Summer blockbusters that concentrates on spectacle and FX rather than logic , fact or characterisation and I`m slightly surprised that it didn`t do better since I never knew it existed untill I saw it on TV last night . It`s slightly similar to being a cross between TWISTER and CLIFFHANGER and is fairly enjoyable in a dumb blockbuster way , but I would have enjoyed it more if the criminals on the bus got fried . That`s the problem with these type of films - The hero saves everyone
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5/10
Howie, you're fired!
Bogmeister4 August 2005
Firestorm is a rather standard action yarn with the hero (H.Long) one of those fearless firefighters who specialize in parachuting into the danger zones. Why this aspect is emphasized in the ads and intro I'm not sure - at one point Howie does parachute in during a critical point in the story and nearly kills himself in the process. All that shows is he should have walked in like a normal human being.

The fire scenes themselves are pretty impressive, as the pic needs to show a forest on fire. This fire is purposely started to supposedly cover the tracks of an escaped master villain (sadistically played by Forsythe), who has hidden $37 million or so around the area. Now that I think about, no one ever did find that money, did they? The title refers to a particularly nasty type of fire; we get a glimpse of it at the end as it seems to spread over several acres in seconds. It looks impressive, but quite doubtful.

Howie doesn't come off as truly awful in the heroic role, but he is kind of bland. He's got the physical look down easily, but for some reason, he was better suited as the villain's no.2 in "Broken Arrow"(96). This was his last attempt at an action star career. Forsythe tries really hard to be the scummiest villain ever - sort of a combo Lecter and a Malkovich villain - and, in some ways, he succeeds. But, by the end, you wonder, why was he trying so hard? Barry Pepper has an early role as one of Forsythe's assistants.
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