Firestorm Dean Semler

Firestorm Dean Semler
A roar beckons from the big stadium where the Los Angeles Raiders played in the '80s. The players are lined up in the end zone, single-file, flanked by television crews, officials and hired fixers. And there's our star, Howie Long, framed in a becoming close-up ― he narrows his glance, his beady little eyeballs shooting side to side. He's rocking in and out of the frame like an accustomed tea head. And then the announcer calls his name, "Number 75, Howie Long," ― cut to the crowd, then back to Long ― and then Long splits, in a harrowing dash across fallen logs, flaming bush and all that pretty Wyoming foliage. All of a sudden we're in the movie Firestorm, and it's freaking awesome. Long plays a smoke jumper (a man who parachutes out of airplanes to save civilians stuck in forest fires) who becomes chief of his small, tight-knit brotherhood (with one woman, Christianne Hirt) after former chief Scott Glen hurts his leg. But it's okay, claims Glen, of his newly bum leg, because after all, they did save that little girl who was trapped in the fire. Meanwhile, on the other side of the forest sits William Forsythe, who's in the Wyoming State Penitentiary for robbing the government of their money. Willy is plotting something, in his teensy cell with physics books and goopy razors he uses to style his hair with. With the help of his cowardly attorney and some gullible inmates, Forsythe triggers a blazing fire in the forest surrounding his prison, and then attaches himself to an inmate forest fire fighter squad that should make taxpayers awfully sceptic about government-funded programs. Forsythe, as if there was any doubt, escapes into the forest, takes an innocent bird watcher hostage (Suzy Amis), who happens to be a former Marine, and forces the righteous and good-willed Long to defy protocol and jump out of a helicopter to save the day. At one point, Long even rides a motorbike over slick, protruding, spreading roots wetted by red goop falling from rescue planes. The movie, Firestorm, is badass. There are no special features. (Anchor Bay)