Tuesday, June 9, 2015

BACKDRAFT (1991)

New fireman William Baldwin (oh god...I'm already bored) lives in some big shadows.  His father was a legendary firefighter who died in a fire that ended up on the cover of Life Magazine and his older brother (Kurt Russell) is the toughest, manliest firefighter since John Wayne clubbed a oil well fire to death with his penis in HELLFIGHTERS. Even worse...he's been stationed to the same firehouse as his brother.  All kinds of predictable brotherly competition and firefighting ruggedness happens next. There's even a musical montage!

It's mildly entertaining and actually more fun to laugh at than it is to take serious, but then something interesting happens and we're introduced to a mystery arsonist who's killing people using a technique called "backdraft".  It seems that the fire is somehow held inside a room magically and then when the victim opens the doors the fire backdrafts all up in their shit and punches them like 50 feet through the air.  It also makes a howling noise like a dragon having sex with an iceberg.  Fire investigator Robert De Niro is sent in to investigate the murders...and that's the best part of the movie.  While De Niro was onscreen, rambling about how fire is an actual living thing I was totally into it.  It was silly as fook, but still compelling.  His scenes with firebug Donald Sutherland were the highlight of the film.  Unfortunately though, these scenes only make up a small portion of the film.

Overall, BACKDRAFT is very dated, the story is in dire need of a re-write, the special effects are alright, the firefighting scenes are unbelievable, the entire thing looks like a movie, the acting by an impressive cast (not Baldwin) was above average (...I especially liked Sutherland.  He was doing some serious Hannibal Lecter from THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS channeling).

Not the greatest thing I've even seen, but it was an interesting ride and a fun look back at early 90's big studio action/dramas.  We also get to see the guy from IRON EAGLE's pubes!!!

Update: Just watched the 2006 DVD release of the film and I noticed that the dude from IRON EAGLE's pubes are now missing! Weird, huh?