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Fire with Fire(2012)
After witnessing the brutal murders of a convenience store owner and his son; firefighter, Jeremy Coleman nearly escapes with his life. As he is forced to testify against the crime lord, Hagan, he is placed in the witness protection program under the watch of the U.S. Marshalls. As his new identity becomes compromised Jeremy is forced to take an unexpected course of action in order to get is life back and save the lives of those he loves.
For more about Fire with Fire and the Fire with Fire Blu-ray release, see Fire with Fire Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on November 4, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.0 out of 5.
Starring: Josh Duhamel, Bruce Willis, Rosario Dawson, Vincent D'Onofrio, Vinnie Jones, Richard Schiff
Director: David Barrett
» See full cast & crew
Fire with Fire Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, November 4, 2012
Vincent D'Onofrio probably didn't have to work too hard to remember his lines in Fire With Fire, at least if he was paying attention during his long years on Law and Order: Criminal Intent. Fire With Fire could have easily been one of those old CI episodes, albeit without the all-knowing, tic filled cop that D'Onofrio so memorably brought to life. But just about everything else in Fire With Fire reeks of series television, including the evil white supremacist (D'Onofrio) who happens to also be inordinately intelligent. There's also a stalwart hero, a firefighter no less, who ends up as an accidental witness to a vicious crime and is spirited away into witness protection which of course fails utterly to protect him. And let's not forget the well meaning if plodding policeman with a personal stake in bringing down the evil Aryan Brother who is trying to mop up and catch the bad guy before the witness takes him out himself. Fire With Fire is yet another quickie knockoff that as depressing as it may sound is only the tip of the iceberg of a new production deal that is discussed by Randall Emmett in an interview included as a supplement on this Blu-ray. I really couldn't hear that well over my sobs of disbelief, but I'm pretty sure Emmett mentioned the Lionsgate deal as coming in as a major portion of a billion dollars (yes, that's billion with a "b"). This is the new face of production, and it mirrors the older made for television gambit of quickly churning out product in the hopes of making an easy profit, which in this case is going to be tied to ancillary media like renting and home video. With at least a few name stars (either small or large screen) and a familiar story, who's to say that the bean counters who financed this thing won't end up being right?
Josh Duhamel plays Jeremy Coleman, a good guy Long Beach firefighter (is there any other kind) who has the bad luck to be shopping at a convenience store (where of course he is best buds with the owner and the owner's son), when a group of white supremacist thugs led by Hagan (Vincent D'Onofrio) walk in and summarily execute first the owner's son and then the owner. In just the first of many tried and true clichés in which this film fairly wallows, one of the thugs asks Hagan what to do about Jeremy, and Hagan leaves it up to the idiot henchman. That of course gives Jeremy a chance to run, and though he's wounded, he does manage to get away. Hagan is quickly arrested on murder charges, and local cop Mike Cella (Bruce Willis) wants to make sure that Hagan is put away for good this time, as the evil Aryan was responsible for the murder of Cella's partner and his partner's wife (evidently Hagan likes to kill in sets of two).
Jeremy, his arm in a sling (in what must have been the quickest repair of a gun wound ever), is brought in to identify Hagan in a lineup, and Hagan, when called forward, recites Jeremy's name and social security number, just to let the fireman know that he is definitely on the bad guy's radar. The brilliant police decide maybe federal witness protection would be a good idea, and Jeremy is whisked away to New Orleans, where his protector turns out to be a comely agent named Talia (Rosario Dawson). Guess how long it takes these two to jump into bed with each other. If you guessed anything longer than about two minutes of screen time, you haven't been spending enough time watching these by the numbers outings.
A complete plot breakdown (a fitting word, in fact) probably doesn't need to be given here, as most will be able to write this thing themselves. You know that Hagan is going to threaten Jeremy and that at least one person (and quite possibly more than one) close to the hero is going to be either seriously wounded or killed. You know that Jeremy isn't going to take this lying down and elopes from witness protection to take things into his own hands. You know that good ol' Mike Cella is going to be there in the aftermath of several violent interactions, piecing together the puzzle and trying to keep the lid on the fact that Jeremy has gone rogue. And if you're really thinking and remembering that Jeremy is a fireman, you know the climax is going to feature a lot of flames and explosions.
The funny thing is there's nothing really egregiously hideous about Fire With Fire's basic premise, as tired as it may be, and D'Onofrio once again proves what a Grade A Ham he can be, this time as a Cajun-accented white supremacist who recites poetry (D'Onofrio's own creation as he discusses in his commentary) as he beats a black man to death with a baseball bat. D'Onofrio, as over the top as he undeniably is, is probably the sole reason to watch Fire With Fire. Duhamel is as blandly affable as ever, and Bruce Willis has an odd smirk throughout this film, even in the most ostensibly dramatic places, as if he's thinking, "Can you believe I'm getting paid for this crap?"
Fire with Fire Blu-ray, Video Quality
Fire With Fire is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Lionsgate Films with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.38:1. This Red shot feature looks about like what you'd expect it to. The lack of texture and depth in the image is compensated for by the sharpness and clarity. Colors are decent, though the film really doesn't make much of either its Long Beach or New Orleans locations. Several scenes, notably the police station sequences with Willis, have been color graded to the ever popular ice cold blue side of things. Contrast is occasionally problematic in some segments where it looks like it's actually been intentionally pushed or toned down. Fine detail is quite good in close-ups, and there are no compression artifacts on display throughout the presentation.
Fire with Fire Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Fire With Fire's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is probably the single most effective technical aspect of the film. The film has several extremely good sequences which offer bombastic LFE, including the long climax, which has everything from explosions, bones crunching, and potent gunfire. While dialogue is anchored fairly resolutely in the front channels, there is some good use of ambient environmental effects scattered throughout the surrounds. Fidelity is very good and dynamic range is wide.
Fire with Fire Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Fire with Fire Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Fire With Fire is just a tired, predictable exercise that at least has a little camp factor with regard to D'Onofrio. There's evidently an audience for this sort of thing, at least as evidenced by the huge financing deal this film's producer talks about in his interview. I can only surmise that someone drawn to this kind of by the numbers outing is looking for the video equivalent of comfort food. Fire With Fire may be caloric (at least with regard to D'Onofrio's ham) but it is decidedly non-nutritious.
Fire with Fire Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Fire with Fire Blu-ray - September 10, 2012
Lionsgate Home Entertainment has officially announced that it will release on Blu-ray director David Barrett's action thriller Fire with Fire (2012), starring Bruce Willis, Josh Duhamel, Rosario Dawson, and Vincent D'Onofrio. Street date is November 6th.
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