After witnessing the murders of a convenience store clerk and his son, fire fighter Jeremy Coleman narrowly escapes with his life. Slated to testify against mafia assailant David Hagan, the police place Coleman in a witness protection program. Seems the mafia has other plans, threatening to take out each and every person Coleman has ever cared about. Will Jeremy make it to the witness stand or does he have his own individual brand of justice in mind?
Directed by: David Barrett
Starring: Josh Duhamel, Bruce Willis, Rosario Dawson
Fire With Fire was a pretty descent film, high on octane, vengeance, suspense and action. It won’t likely change any lives or be a pivotal point in anyone’s cinematic history. Yet Barrett’s directional endeavor never professed to be any of the preceding. It’s a gritty, balls to the wall, bombs, guns, babes and revenge thriller that refuses to let up from opening credits to final reel.
Josh Duhamel’s portrayal of Jeremy Coleman is believable as the average, everyday do gooder that happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s difficult not to cheer him on in his pursuits of maintaining what is just and what is right in an often cruel and heartless world. Rosario Dawson as the Federal Marshall is cast well. She’s ultra easy on the eyes and one cannot help but guess she was cast in this role for this very reason.
With a huge a staggering budget of $20 million it isn’t top secret to see where the funding went. There’s a ton of blasts, bombs, explosions and infernos to whet the appetite of any action fan. At the same time the plot moves at a steady pace with plenty of pulse pounding suspense and vigilante type pursuits that is the stuff of any thriller fan’s wet dreams.
There’s some particularly gruesome footage of how Coleman gets some answers to where his adversary Hagan is hiding. Let’s just say Jeremy can be very persuasive with a chisel and hammer; not for the faint at heart.
I believe it is Vincent D’Onofrio cast as the lead antagonist, mafia boss David Hagan that seals the show. Some of his dialogue and Neo-Nazi mentalities are enough to make anyone cringe. He’s the sort of bad guy that you love to hate and can’t wait to see if he’ll get his just desserts.
For fans of rap music and thug way of life, you’ll giggle like a giddy school girl to see 50 Cent cast as Lamar. I must admit he gives a decent enough performance. Then again his part was not likely much of a stretch from reality. I did appreciate when he offered to ‘throw in the bullets’ at no extra charge.
Fire With Fire does tend to have a somewhat inferior tone to it that is difficult to precisely label. One may suspect the production to be a made for television movie rather than a theatrical monster. Perhaps it was Bruce Willis’s role as Mike Cella. We don’t get to see the action icon at his finest, which casting his role may have been a smidge on the deceptive side. We’re so accustomed to seeing his take ‘no prisoners’ performances in Die Hard, Sin City, Pulp Fiction, etc. one cannot feel a little ripped off seeing him in a secondary, almost passive type role.
The cinematography for the most part is above average. There’s nothing really monumental or exceptional that stands out, with the exception of heightened emotion that is enhanced through the use of slow motion footage. It’s kind of a tired, passé technique but it works here regardless. No one really expected academy award winning material to ignite. It’s really just a good buddy flick.
The final act may come across a little contrived and hard to believe. It was a smidge on the predictable side but the visuals are still captivating enough. Then again it is refreshing to see a good thriller that you don’t have to think a great deal about or keep score. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
-Three out of five tombstones
Fire With Fire (2012)