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The 100




Firestorm
(1998)
Reviewed by Chris Badgley
Rating: 8.5 Beans

n his first lead role, the former football great, Howie Long (Broken Arrow) plays the part of Jesse Graves, a smoke jumper. The smoke jumpers are this elite firefighting corps that are stationed on the borderline of the state of Washington and of Canada.

William Forsythe, who has appeared in "Out for Justice" and more importantly in "Chips" and "T.J. Hooker", plays the role of the brilliant mastermind criminal, Randy Earl Shaye.

The plot is about as thin as smoke. Randy Earl Shaye is in jail for the murder of 17 people and for stealing $37,000,000 in a train robbery... yes, a train robbery. This criminal genius stashed the loot until he could formulate the perfect escape plan and recover the booty. Of course he would need assistance for this devious task. The mastermind's lawyer (Terry Kelly) somehow manages to have a fire started in a very dry wooded area with the help of a mysterious figure. Once the master criminal realises the opportunity he volunteers to help fight the fast-burning fire. That is to say, he kills an inmate, disguises himself as that inmate, and assumes his place on the firefighting detail. Oh, the killing of the inmate is somewhat funny... while the inmate is shaving, Mr. Mastermind stabs him in the neck with a shank, the inmate falls to the floor. There was no blood. Just before the scene ends, syrup-like blood is seen going down the sink. I suppose that it jumped out of the neck and thickened on its 3 foot ascention. Oh, well.

Randy Earl has hired four convicts to aid his escape... he promises each $5 million for their services. Anyway, the criminal genius begins his other devious plan: the elimination of the other convicts so that he will not have to share the stashed loot. He shoots two of them when the other two are not looking and blames it on a dead police officer and on a dead fireman. Brilliant! The other two actually believe this flimsy lie. Also, they have to take a hostage. Actually they did not have to, but it was done anyway. Much of this film made no sense whatsoever.

At this point Jesse Graves dutifully assumes the role of the hero. He jumps into the forest fire to save some wandering Canadian firemen. Unbeknownst to the hero, these are the criminals in disguise. Graves, after nearly being killed by the group, realised that they are not really firemen... they are criminals. He rescues the woman hostage, Jennifer, played by Suzy Amis ("Titanic"). The criminals pursue them.

During this pursuit, the brilliant and profound criminal mind is masterfully at work. He pushes a convict off a cliff. He tells the remaining convict, "He, he slipped." Wow, another stroke of genius! Oh, the remaining convict believes him.

Oh, Randy Earl Shaye by the end of the movie has killed the other convict. Suprise. Well, the only thing left to happen is for Jesse and Jennifer to kill this maniacal escapee and to live happily ever after. It happens just like that. Cookie-cutter action films are very easily predictable and are not very good at all. This movie met those criteria.

Okay, to sum this up (forgive me)... if you pay to rent "Firestorm" you will get burned.






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