For the action film in our Aiiiirrrrrbbbbaaalll!! category (films featuring/starring athletes) I’m sure most of you thought Simon Sez starring Dennis Rodman was a sure slam dunk. But sometimes BMT eschews the most common choice to forge ahead on the road less travelled… and sometimes we forget that Simon Sez exists. Wherever the truth lies, we are actually watching Firestorm starring Howie Long this week. That’s right! The Howie Long. From those Radioshack commercials (and I guess he also played for the Raiders or whatever). This should be fun. Let’s go!
Firestorm (1997) – BMeTric: 27.2
(As one would expect. As the votes steadily increase so does the BMeTric. I do wish I had time dependent data, then I could actually see how this BMeTric is changing through time. My guess is that this is in reality quite stable and has hovered in the 25 range for a while.)
Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Wily con Forsythe and cohorts have pulled off a prison escape, incinerating a Canadian forest as their “cover.” This makes the job of smoke jumpers (who parachute into difficult fires) all the more risky. By-the-numbers script is fashioned as an action vehicle for athlete Long, who suggests what Ed Harris might look like if he couldn’t move his facial muscles.
(Hard slam by Leonard. You hear that Howie? That’s your Hollywood dreams going up in smoke. This doesn’t sound enjoyable btw.)
(Anyone else f-in amped?! Yo Smokejumpaaaaaah! Howie throws all kinds of lumberjack tools around. There is terrible CGI. He’s riding a rad motorcycle. He gets the girl (duh). They say the name of the film in the trailer. It. Has. Got. It. All.)
Director(s) – Dean Semler – (BMT: The Patriot (with Steven Segal); Firestorm. Notes: Acclaimed Cinematographer from Australia known for Dances with Wolves and the Max Mad series. The second unit director for Super Mario Bros, and recently the cinematographer for Paul Blart 2. Can’t make this shit up.)
Writer(s) – Chris Soth (written by) – (BMT: Firestorm. Notes: Author of “Million-Dollar Screenwriting”, he is a prolific script doctor apparently authoring over 40 screenplays. This is his only credited work.)
Actors – Howie Long – (Known For: Broken Arrow; That Thing You Do! BMT: 3000 Miles to Graceland (seen it); Firestorm. Notes: Also known for being an NFL Defensive End for the Raiders. This will complete his BMT filmography for us.)
Budget/Gross: $19 million / $8,165,212
(Oooooooooof. In what universe does a Howie Long vehicle earn like $40 million at the box office? Who was in charge of this?)
Rotten Tomatoes: 12% (3/25), No consensus yet.
(As a stand in for the consensus I’ll just give you this: “The action movie for which the term ‘by-the-numbers’ might have been coined.” Solid. I’m up for a by-the-numbers Howie Long action bonanza)
Poster – Crazy Eyes Howie (C)
(I liked this poster because of giant crazy-eyes Howie staring into my soul. He’s seen some shit man. He’s a smokejumper. It is pretty by-the-numbers though.)
Tagline(s) – Fight fire with fire. (F)
(Is Howie Long “fire” here? Why do I get a sneaking suspicion this tagline makes absolutely no sense. Someone had a Big Book of Cliches and just picked one from the chapter entitled “Fire”.)
Notes – First cinema feature of Barry Pepper. (of Battlefield Earth fame!)
Veteran parachutist Keith Perepelkin died after his main chute failed during a stunt where he jumped from a helicopter onto “Squamish Chief” in British Columbia, Canada. The stunt was performed in violation of the Canadian filming permit. (Oh that’s sad. It is always sad to see stunt people get hurt)
The film was originally set up at the now defunct Savoy Pictures. When Savoy had the project, the film was going to be more epic in scale, with comprehensive visual and computer effects. Savoy even offered Sylvester Stallone $20 million to star, which he accepted. However, the studio went bust before the film was made. Twentieth Century Fox picked up the script from “turnaround” and fashioned it into a more intimate, smaller budgeted movie as they were looking to only spend $30 million dollars on the picture. (Oh wow, that is super interesting stuff. Now I get to watch this with Stallone in mind.)