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Firestorm: Last Stand at Yellowstone

A&E Video // Unrated // November 28, 2006
List Price: $19.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Scott Weinberg | posted November 25, 2006 | E-mail the Author
The Movie

You just know the disaster movie sub-genre is about to take a limp and mild whipping at the hands of the A&E network, so when I popped Firestorm: Last Stand at Yellowstone into my DVD player, I was expecting something along that made-for-TV version of The Poseidon Adventure from last year.

Clearly I was mired knee-deep in a haze of wishful thinking, because Firestorm makes that flick look like Titanic by comparison. You just know that a trendy genre is showing its uselessness when the basic cable channels start joining the party, and I'm fairly certain that Firestorm represents the end of the disaster movie -- for the next few years, anyway.

The plot (and I use that word kindly) is nothing but Jaws with a few goofy substitutions: Instead of a veteran cop we get a dreamy fire expert; instead of a greedy mayor we have a stupid park ranger; instead of water we have trees; and instead of a shark we have ... fire. Basically, if there's a surprise hidden somewhere beneath the puddle-deep banality of Firestorm, it'd have to be this: Who the hell was this movie made for? It's certainly not exciting enough for action fans, nor is it effectively dramatic enough for the older movie fans. It's not scary or creative or even pleasant to look at.

Basically, it's D-grade filler material for a network that's probably better off showing reruns of other peoples' movies. Lead actors Richard Burgi and Scott Foley mumble their way through their painfull generic schtick, a few random nobodies get burned alive, and at the end there's a ridiculously unrealistic "solution" that'll have you scratching your head as you lunge for the remote.

And don't even get me started on the insipid screenplay's flimsy attempts at ham-fisted environmentalism and confused politics. (It's all the government's fault!)

The DVD

Video: The cardboard concoction is presented in a flat-yet-passable widescreen format. The fire still looks fake though.

Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0. Meh.

Extras

Finally we get something worth watching! Included to tie in with the movie's Yellowstone setting are a pair of 45-minute mini-documentaries:

Yellowstone National Park gives a fine lesson on the history of America's most beloved park, from the very early years to the modern problems that the tourist attraction / wildlife refuge deals with every day.

Wildfires: Fighting Fire with Fire is a dry yet informative look at the ways in which raging forest fires are vanquished.

Final Thoughts

I've always had a soft spot for bad disaster movies -- but even I have my limits.

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