Terrible, excessive, a yawning blot of a movie. I can’t get enough. From the opening scene, where our protagonist is shown as a boy, watching his father fight a fire, and his father blows up, in slo-mo, before his eyes, and the old man’s fire chief hat rattles at his feet, to the sobering realization that this boy has grown up to be a firefighter himself. Verklempt.
Better, the boy grows up to be a male model firefighter (in the guise of Billy Baldwin, straight out of Zoolander) who gets the rookie treatment (“wash my socks, cook my food, hey, stand in front of this thingie I call a firehouse . . . rook”) and his greatest tormentor is Kurt Russell, his older brother, who says things like “The only problem is that in this job is there’s just no place to hide. It’s not like having a bad day selling log cabins. You have a bad day here and somebody dies… and that’s just not fucking good enough.”
Which is an awesome line and can be replicated in all professions every day.
Of course, Baldwin looks like he couldn’t lift an IPhone much lest hoist a hose, but he does have a few humdingers himself. Like “you did it man. You did it all the way Steven, you were really a hero today.” Allowing Russell to retort, ” Brian… its not about being a hero. I went in because there was a kid up there. You know, I just, I do what I do because that’s my way. And it was Dad’s way. Maybe it’s not everybody’s way. ”
Which can also be replicated in all professions every day, but it helps if you’re talking to your brother.
It’s not all sweet, sweet perfection. Baldwin’s love scene with a Jennifer Jason Leigh is, uh, unconvincing. But it is on top of a fire truck and has the feel of a Whitesnake video.
Basically, this is a two hour fellating of the brawn, brio and body odor of American firefighters, scored by whoever did Triumph of the Will (okay, too much, but I was close – it’s Hans Zimmer). There is also a mystery stitched in this cupcake, and when solved, it is not just preposterous, it defies the laws of physics.
There is only one explanation-Ron Howard fell in love with a firefighter and made him a valentine.
Unwatchable and yet, I cannot look away.