Firestorm (1998)

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Released 24-Feb-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 85:05
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (47:59) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Dean Semler
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Howie Long
Scott Glenn
William Forsythe
Suzy Amis
Christianne Hirt
Garwin Sanford
Sebastian Spence
Michael Greyeyes
Barry Pepper
Vladimir Kulich
Tom McBeath
Benjamin Ratner
Jonathon Young
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $19.80 Music J. Peter Robinson


Video Audio
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
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Dutch
English for the Hearing Impaired
French
German
Italian
Spanish
Swedish
French Titling
German Titling
Italian Titling
Spanish Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    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.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    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.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    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.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     There are no extras on this DVD.

R4 vs R1

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.

Summary

    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.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Greg Morfoot (if interested here is my bio)
Friday, February 06, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayLG 76cm Widescreen Flatron Television. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony HT-K215. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony HT-K215
Speakers fronts-paradigm titans, centre &rear Sony - radio parts subbie

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