HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Lucky
Matrix, The
Undergods
Betrayed
Fried Barry
Once Upon a River
Cowboys
Atlantis
We Still Say Grace
Enfant Terrible
Nomadland
Playboy of the Western World, The
Bike Thief, The
Threshold
Virtuoso, The
Here are the Young Men
Beast Beast
Labyrinth of Cinema
Justice Society: World War II
Artist's Wife, The
Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Pusher III
Palm Springs
Devil Commands, The
Oak Room, The
Pusher II
Forget Everything and Run
Secrets & Lies
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pusher
Pot Carriers, The
Black Bear
Don't Cry, Pretty Girls!
Portal
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
   
 
Newest Articles
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
   
 
  Backdraft Slain In Flame
Year: 1991
Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Kurt Russell, William Baldwin, Robert De Niro, Donald Sutherland, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Scott Glenn, Jason Gedrick, J.T. Walsh, Anthony Mockus Sr, Cedric Young, Juan Ramírez, Kevin Casey, Jack McGee, Mark Wheeler, Richard Lexsee, Clint Howard
Genre: Drama, Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: When Brian McCaffrey (William Baldwin) was a child, he idolised his father who was one of the most respected firefighters in Chicago, but he will never forget the day he finally allowed him to attend one of the blazes his father routinely extinguished. He watched as the man climbed up the ladder to the top floor of a smoking building, then rescued a little girl, but just as he was about to investigate further a collapse occurred and to Brian’s horror he saw his father die in the accident. This has not stopped him wishing to follow in his parent’s footsteps, so has just passed the exam to become a fireman – but he will be working alongside his older brother Stephen (Kurt Russell), and there is no love lost between them.

Once the nineteen-eighties had happened, many movies began to look back to the works of the seventies for inspiration as it began to be regarded as a golden age, and a return to the disaster flick for Hollywood was one of the symptoms of that preoccupation. Backdraft was there near the beginning of the decade to set out the parameters of a genre where special effects were king, and seeing as how computer graphics were advancing in leaps and bounds the setpieces could be as spectacular as they wanted them to be. With this, on the other hand, they were still working with stunts and practical effects, which indicated it was something of a transitional entry in the revitalised cycle, and also that the fire was really the biggest star.

That in spite of director Ron Howard taking the rules of the seventies and casting a bunch of stars in all the main roles, so you had Baldwin when he was trying for major celebrity as effectively the lead, which didn’t really work out when he was more difficult to cast convincingly than he seemed, and Russell who had been an actual star from that era whose box office power had been sustained, and then Robert De Niro as the fire investigator in a part that at the time made audiences wonder what he was doing there but now comes across as par for the course. The two love interests, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Rebecca DeMornay, were merely present to make sure we didn’t think Brian and Stephen were homosexuals, however, and served no other purpose.

But being the nineties there had to be a twist, and that was most typical of this period: that’s correct, there’s a serial killer on the loose which turned this into a whodunit of sorts, though not much of one when the big reveal showed the culprit to be the star who had nothing to do in the rest of the story. It did offer Donald Sutherland to offer his best Hannibal Lecter impersonation as a pyromaniac who is locked up but still is called on by De Niro as a consultant, in spite of being plainly bonkers and not someone you would trust to light an oven for your dinner, never mind supply advice for catching the arsonist. But then, that was this film all over, always going for the big effects, the big emotions, and the big absurdity.

Not to mention some seriously big slabs of cheese, Backdraft was purest fromage from the overheated script by Gregory Widen (an actual fireman who had gotten his start penning Highlander) to Hans Zimmer’s unintentional parody of a bombastic score. The dialogue was dreadful, the characters cartoons, the sincerity groaning, therefore the saving grace was the flames which overshadowed every actor in the film and gave by far the most convincing performance. When the stars playing the firefighters didn’t bother to put on their breathing equipment because if they did we wouldn’t know it was them under the masks, perhaps that wasn’t saying much as realism was patently not at the forefront of everyone’s minds, yet with everything geared to be as overemphatic as possible to make sure the audience felt they were getting their money’s worth, a certain pomposity invaded the tone that was hard to shift. Presumably we were intended to go away feeling proud of the firemen, but if you were already Backdraft was verging on the farcical in its button pushing.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1867 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: