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A raging forest fire sets the stage for a daring prison break in this action adventure film starring former football great Howie Long, who makes his motion picture starring debut portraying fearless 'smokejumper', Jesse Graves. When Graves parachutes into the middle of a forest inferno, he inadvertently exposes a gang of escaped convicts, disguised as firefighters. With a few tools and no back up, he must try to outsmart a cunning killer (William Forsythe) and save an innocent hostage (Suzy Amis). His friend and mentor, Wynt Perkins (Scott Glenn) tries desperately to find him, but the fire is turning and time is running out.

Review by Louise Keller:
Formulaic, contrived and predictable, Firestorm doesn't blow much smoke for Dean Semler's anticipated directorial debut. While Stephen Windon's cinematography makes the most of the stunning Vancouver scenery and spectacular fire action sequences, Semler's direction is sluggish, dull and uninspiring.

It is a shame how a film about such a passionate subject - heroic firefighters parachuting directly into the heart of raging forest fires - can end up so trite and Hollywood B grade. And trite is the word that comes to mind, about Chris Soth and Graham Yost's script which seems to voice all the cliches in the book. "Can't slow the sonovabitch down" the hero booms; "Nice work," cooes the girl, as she jumps onto the back of a speeding motorcycle which zooms away on what should be a thrilling escape sequence. Howie Long makes his starring debut as the muscly heroic fireman, Jesse, with the handsome California look and pearly whites to match.

A former football star, Long has the looks and physique to fit the plastic action-star mould: one of the principal reasons Semler took on the project is the belief in Long's potential. Suzie Amis complements him as the bird-lover with good bone structure, waterproof mascara and good survival skills. There are plenty of stunts, making Firestorm more visual flair than heart. There's no subtlety here, and like the music, which is rather heavy handed, overpowers rather than enhancing or builds dramatic tension. No adversary is more powerful than the contagious, spreading flames that devour the forests. Pity we have to pour cold water on it.

Published February 5, 2004

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CAST: Howie Long, Scott Glenn, Suzy Amis, William Forsythe, Christianne Hirt, Garwin Sanford, Sebastian Spence, Michael Greyeyes, Barry Pepper, Vladimir Kulich, Tom McBeath, Benjamin Ratner, Jonathon Young

DIRECTOR: Dean Semler

SCRIPT: Chris Soth, Graham Yost

RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes

PRESENTATION: Widescreen 16: 9

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: February 18, 2004

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