Do You Remember? #171: Firestorm

Remember when somebody thought it would be a great idea to have Howie Long lead an action movie? Oh, what a horrendous mistake that was. Firestorm, baby:

Firestorm is a 1998 action thriller film directed by Dean Semler, and starring Howie Long, Scott Glenn, William Forsythe and Suzy Amis.

Firefighter Jesse Graves has to save ornithologist Jennifer and other people caught in a forest fire, which was set up by the lawyer of convicted killer Earl Shaye, who escaped from the prison with several of his inmates posing as firefighters to recover thirty-seven million dollars in stashed loot.

The screenplay for the film, written on spec by Chris Soth as his thesis for the MFA Screenwriting program at USC, was originally purchased by 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 on the picture. Graham Yost did an uncredited production polish on the script, which was also rewritten by four other writers on the way to production.

AND what you see is what you get, your typical January bad action movie, this was released on January 9, 1998 by the way, with Howie Long, which just because he was in Broken Arrow, Fox decided “yeah, go ahead, let’s get him his own movie for the bit part he had in Broken Arrow, he can carry a movie.”

Yeah, spoiler alert, he couldn’t carry the movie. You see why the NFL On Fox crew to this day still make fun of Long for making this garbage. That’s what this movie is, it’s garbage.

It’s a lazy combination of Die Hard and The Fugitive with a disaster flick mentality by having it take place in the middle of a wildfire with lousy unlikeable characters played by actors who should know better and a cinematographer making his directorial debut because hey, Jan De Bont just directed Speed four year ago and he started his career as a cinematographer so clearly, anybody can direct a movie.

The result speaks for itself, Firestorm is just a lazy poorly made and really lousy action movie that tries way too hard to be too many things instead of actually telling a legitimate story and providing some good action and it just doesn’t work at all, it’s a lousy action movie, it sucks, plain and simple.

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