|Year Of Production||1998|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (47:59)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Dean Semler|
Twentieth Century Fox
|RPI||$19.80||Music||J. Peter Robinson|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
Firestorm is a generic B grade action film. The plot is simplicity itself. A group of convicts escape custody during a work release assignment to clear forest undergrowth in Wyoming National Park. The escaped convicts disguise themselves as firefighters to pass undetected through a now-blazing forest in search of thirty million dollars in cash. Fire Chief Jesse Graves (Howie Long) confronts the desperate cons amidst the inferno, but can his training save himself and female hostage, ornithologist Jennifer (Suzy Amis)?
Helmed by Australian cinematographer turned director Dean Semler, Firestorm attempts to cash in on ex-footballer Howie Long's new-found stardom thanks to his supporting role in the action blockbuster Broken Arrow. Unfortunately, the screenplay by Chris Soth is clichéd and unoriginal. This is not to say that the film is a total turkey. The location work is quite stunning and the special effects are first rate. There are also some genuinely unique and well-staged action scenes, however these are few and far between.
The performances range from mediocre to poor. Howie Long comes across as fairly wooden, however his lines are perfunctory to say the least. Scott Glenn does what he can with a small part and Suzy Amis handles the token female role well enough. Thankfully, William Forsyth steps up to the plate and delivers an engagingly wicked performance as the sociopathic head con. Forsyth always plays a great villain - his role here is a combination of earlier heavies such as the drugged-out maniac in Out For Justice and the homicidal biker in Stone Cold. In fact, this film is very similar in tone to the far superior Stone Cold, which also attempted to launch the career of another ex-Gridiron player in Brian Bosworth.
At the end of the day, Firestorm is one of those dime-a-dozen action films where the brain switches off, the pizza and beer flow, and at the end of ninety minutes it's all harmless but forgotten fun.
Firestorm is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2:35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions.
Sharpness levels are largely excellent, with minor edge enhancement blemishes scattered throughout the print. Shadow detail levels are good, with strong blacks and fine details. There was no grain or low level noise interference.
Colours were strong and beautifully captured the stunning locations.
There were minimal film artefacts, and the ones that were there were not distracting.
There is a well-placed RSDL layer change at 47:59.
This is a fine transfer for a budget release. Nice work by Twentieth Century Fox.
There are five audio tracks present on this disc. They are all Dolby Digital 5.1 and are in English, German, French, Spanish and Italian.
Dialogue is always clear and never lost amongst external sound effects. There are no audio sync problems other than ADRed changes to dialogue recorded in post production.
The film's musical score is fairly nondescript, but manages to make itself fit the on-screen drama and never becomes overly intrusive.
Surround channel usage is first rate. Directional effects are plentiful and give the rear channels quite a workout.
The subwoofer adds a strong bass element to all the pyrotechnical marvels.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 version of this DVD is not 16x9 enhanced, but does have a Theatrical Trailer present. Nonetheless, the 16x9 enhanced Region 4 version is clearly the version of choice.
Firestorm is an undemanding action film, full of clichés and generic plot contrivances. It does manage to entertain by sheer perseverance - just don't expect to use your grey matter. The disc looks and sounds great.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||LG 76cm Widescreen Flatron Television. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Sony HT-K215. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||fronts-paradigm titans, centre &rear Sony - radio parts subbie|