Sunday, March 23, 2008

Flashfire (aka August Fires)

The Action Mutant…
wonders every night what happened to Lou Gossett’s career, too.

Flashfire (aka August Fires)

review by Joe Burrows

The “cop movie” used to be a staple on network television. All of the networks seemed to have them air on a weekly basis at one point of their histories. Many an actor made their name on the small screen, being fixtures in these predictable, yet usually solid “whodunits”. In fact, I’d get worried if one of the films came on and Brian Dennehy’s name was nowhere in sight! He seemed to be in hundreds of them during the 90s before the genre well dried up and he went back to legit theater. Unfortunately, this film does not have Brian Dennehy in it. That is neither a plus nor a minus toward this film. Wait a minute; I’m just remembering how boring this film was. Yeah, it was a knock. The moral: Brian Dennehy rules it!

The Plot, as it was:
Billy Zane plays Jack Flinder, a detective from a rich family that gets his partner sent to jail due to being corrupt (who isn’t?). He’s not the force’s favorite face afterwards but he is backed by the captain (Louis Gossett Jr.) so things have to be all gravy. However, things go all to shit when Jack’s cop friend Al (Louis Giambalvo) gets taken out by two hitmen in a hotel room while he’s giving the high hard one to a prostitute (Kristen Minter). She escapes (of course) so it’s up to Jack to protect her and find out the reasoning for said murder. I know, I’m excited to see where this turns up, too.

Don’t shoot me…I’m only the reviewer!:
Obviously, this is something that has been done before and since. Despite the fact that this won’t pull in any originality points, you would still look for it to be, at the very least, fast paced and entertaining. Well, the result for that would be a big, flaming NO (see how I worked the “fire” pun in there?). Not only is the film leaden in its pacing and dry as a Saltine but the title is a total rip! There is a fire of a high rise building at the beginning, which leads to Jack’s partner being arrested (evidence of his corruption was to be burned up). However, there’s not one mention of fire from then on. I say this because an action/cop film about a serial arsonist may have been somewhat entertaining and could have been a better angle to follow than what was filmed. Frankly, anything would have been better. A film about a racist explosive’s expert dressed as a clown that goes undercover in the KKK would have been better (hmmmmm…). In other words, there is nothing here to separate this from hundreds of other made-for-TV cop dramas in the pack. Zane is solid but I’m guessing he was only here because Jeff Fahey was busy. Minter provides a decent foil but provides little more than being the P.O.A. And Gossett is good as always but…well, when you peak at Iron Eagle in your career…

Character/Supporting Actor Sighting!: Carrie-Ann Moss (The Matrix) has a small role.

Body Count/Violence: 5. One would expect some gunplay but it is all of the bloodless variety. Nothing too exciting here (what a shock!).

Sexuality/Nudity: Minter strips down to her black lingerie during her hotel room liaison but the audience doesn’t see her “ply her trade”, so to speak. She also strips down to no top and a thong later on but her nipples are conveniently covered by a window frame. That’s good. Wouldn’t want anything to become…you know, exciting.

Language/Dialogue: Nothing but the usual TV fare, which makes you wonder why this pile of suck was rated R in the first place.

How bad was it?:
The one review I read gave it a 2/10 and user feedback on IMDB doesn’t fare much better. Louis Gossett gets the most kudos, not surprisingly.

Did it make the studio’s day?:
It’s on DVD from Lions Gate and Trimark, so they’re used to selling crap by now.

Film: */*****
Entertainment value: */*****

Copyright 2007 The Action Mutant.

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