Last year, we cautiously explored the telekinetic fits of Carrie White and friends. Now, in the vein of The Rage: Carrie 2 comes the Sci-Fi Channel "mini-series" Firestarter 2: Rekindled (2002, 168 minutes). Actually, the numeral was added by distributors of the video release, as network suits see the flick more as a starting point for an ongoing TV series not unlike the recently canned sex 'n' hiney-kicking "Dark Angel" franchise. The possibility of which might easily lead some CineSchlockers to ponder: Who would prevail in an oil-rasslin' cat fight between Marguerite Moreau and Jessica Alba?
The movie: Charlene "Charlie" McGee (Ms. Moreau) is in heat. Literally. Since last we saw her, she's all grow'd up, smokin' hot and shaking her groove thang at a nightclub. Her dance floor grinding resumes outside on the hood of an exceedingly lucky stranger's car, but just before the wanton diddling is to commence, she pulls away from Mr. Right Now and slinks down a deserted alley. Passion's stirred her CURSE!!! A fiery aura forms around her and soon a wall of flame follows as Ms. Moreau struts toward the camera looking ever-so scrumptious. If only her love life weren't the LEAST of her problems. Enter CineSchlocker fave Malcolm McDowell who completely steals the flick as uber-mad scientist John Rainbird who's obsessed with "his Charlie" and a gaggle of NEW young mutant marvels he's cooked up. Each of these nose miners has his own "gift." One can impose his will on others. Another reads minds. There's even a kid whose screams create devastating shockwaves. Comic book sorta stuff. Anyway, there's all sorts of plot flying around with nearly three hours to kill. Mostly it boils down to Charlie getting into scraps with the killer kiddos where she growls something like, "YOU KNOW WHAT I CAN DO!!!" That's when you know it's time to get out the marshmallows. Ogle Ms. Moreau. Savor Malcolm. But ignore Charlie's weenie boy toy (Danny Nucci) and the insufferable post-mondo meltdown epilogue. CineSchlockers will be amused to see aging badass Dennis Hopper as the knowitall member of the infamous "Lot 6" program. Those interested in perusing most of Marguerite's Moreaus should fast-foward to their debut in Queen of the Damned.
Notables: No breasts. 22 corpses. Gratuitous librarian. Foosball. Failure to "Stop, drop and roll." Multiple pyrokinetic hissy fits. One foot chase. Slow-mo firesuit stunt. Telekinetic ping pong. One intentional hot foot. Multiple coital interruptus. Gratuitous exploding Pinto joke. Multiple fireballs. CGI shenanigans.
Quotables: Charlie emotes, "Everyone who's ever tried to help me is DEAD because of me! What's YOUR idea of lonely?!" But Mr. McDowell gets all the best lines, "Now, Vincent, just because I'm torturing you is not to say you're not part of my team" and "Mr. Foster, you do realize aiming a firearm at your employer is grounds for immediate termination." And when the FBI discovers a corpse in the facility commissary's walk-in freezer, "Oh dear, you don't suppose this is a health code violation do you?"
Time codes: First flames (1:55). Our heros just happen to bump into each other (12:06). Charlie needs action (15:15). Story time at the freak lab (35:25). There'll be NO safe sex for this young lady til Trojan perfects fire-retardant condoms (54:05). First showdown with the kiddos (1:17:10). The "mini-series" break (1:24:38). Mr. Hopper joins the picture (1:27:35). Notice what model car they're driving? (1:31:16). The grand, hiney-roasting finale (2:38:34).
Audio/Video: Presented in an anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) transfer that suffers from pronounced grain in darker scenes. Mildly explosive Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 tracks.
Extras: Grossly abbreviated cast filmographies. Motion video menus with audio (and boom booms). Coming attractions reel featuring Gosford Park, Seduced: Pretty When You Cry, The Demon Within, The Street King, Looking For An Echo, The Man Who Wasn't There and Maybe Baby.
Final thought: About an hour too long. Dire need for tighter editing and further, ahem, fleshing out of Charlie's fiery libido. Recommended.
G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.