Fire With Fire Blu-ray|
I’m a big Bruce Willis fan so when a movie comes out on Blu-ray that I’ve never even heard of I am skeptical at best. I’m not sure if this was a direct-to-home production or if my humble mid-western town didn’t make the cut if/when this made the theatrical circuit, but at least I get to see my “every man action star” back in action…or do I?
Sadly, Bruce takes a b-roll in this b-movie, playing Mike Cella, a season cop who really doesn’t do much other than lend his name to the credits and his shaved head to the DVD cover. His few scenes on screen are relatively tame, and even his dialogue lacks that certain panache we’ve come to expect in his roles. Taking up the mantle of action star this time is Josh Duhamel who plays firefighter Jeremy Coleman, a witness to the brutal slaying of a convenience store owner who must go into the witness protection program until he can testify against the shooter. As expected, the lead villain, Hagan (Vincent D’Onofrio) is two steps ahead of the police and the U.S. Marshals’ office throughout the film, putting Jeremy, and his handler, Talia (Rosario Dawson) square in the scope of hired assassins only a few months after relocating to New Orleans.
From here the movie plays out by the numbers. Jeremy finds himself in a romantic relationship with Talia who teaches him how to handle a gun before getting shot herself by Hagan's men. Jeremy then escapes his new handlers and vows revenge on Hagan and all his Russian mafia henchmen. He cleverly manipulates his revenge to look like a gang war, but Cella isn’t fooled and plans to stop his vigilante activities if Talia (who survived her shooting) cannot find and stop him first.
Fire With Fire looks good enough – it was shot digitally with the Red camera, so it looks like every other similar HD feature these days. The images are loaded with detail, especially in the close-ups, yet there is a distinct lack of warmth and color throughout, despite many chances in locations like sunny Long Beach and New Orleans, which somehow always look dreary and overcast. Color timing runs rampant, as every scene seems to have been manipulated in some way to generate some sort of artificial mood.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 sound mix is surprisingly good with plenty of LFE to punch up the explosive ending as well as effectively mixing a descent score with spatial effects and perfectly mixed dialogue from the center channel. There was nice panning effects and good use of the rear channels.
I wasn’t expecting a lot of extras for this movie so imagine my surprise to find not one but two commentary tracks. The first, with Director David Barrett and Cinematographer Christopher Probst, covers all the technical aspects of shooting the film along with confirming my suspicion of color manipulation. The second commentary features actors Vincent D'Onofrio, Eric Winter and James Lesure, and is barely worth your time, especially when you factor in the long periods of silence before somebody actually says something. There are 9 minutes of standard Behind the Scenes Interviews with cast and crew along with nearly two hours of extended interviews with various cast and crew members. All of this would have been impressive if I had actually cared enough about the film to want to learn more. A trailer for the film puts a lid on this carton of extras.
Fire With Fire has a story that seems perfect for any number of existing TV crime dramas like Hawaii Five-0, NCIS, CSI, etc. There is nothing special about the movie and most of the performances seemed to be overly exaggerated for effect or “phoned in” by bored stars sequestered to make this b-movie. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the film. There were several entertaining and even exciting moments, but those are just as easily enjoyed when this movie starts streaming on Netflix. Save your Blu-ray dollars for something more worthwhile like the upcoming Expendable 2 - which just so happens to also have Bruce Willis in it.