FILM REVIEW: Fire with Fire

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After witnessing two brutal murders, firefighter, Jeremy Coleman (Duhamel) barely escapes with his life. Forced to testify, he is placed in the witness protection program. His new identity becomes compromised, forcing Jeremy to do what he must to get his life back and save those he loves.

Josh Duhamel, Rosario Dawson and Bruce Willis step into the fire with this action film but does it turn up the heat or flicker out like a bad match?

As the film opens we get the sense that our leading man only lives for his work. His fellow fire-fighters are his adopted family and quickly define his relationship to them. After witnessing the crime he is put into witness protection and this is where Coleman starts to become the man he does not want to become: a hunter who will do anything to stop the bad guy from hurting any more of the people he loves. Through various reasons he has to go on the run and the cop (Willis) who put him in the situation feels torn between helping him and doing what the police cannot do.

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Josh Duhamel is a decent enough leading man coming from TV on one of my favourite shows Las Vegas and then transferring to the big screen in the Transformers franchise. Recently he has made waves in the romcom arena but this seems film feels like he is trying to get his foot in the door as a new action leading man. Does he pull it off? Yes because he does not set out to be the action hero so it is believable.

Deputy Talia Durham is played by Rosario Dawson who is always smoking hot on any screen and here shows her tough and vulnerable sides. She gets into the action scenes but also shows her compassion bringing a very likeable portrayal to life. Filling out the leading cast is action god Bruce Willis who plays a tired but determined police officer on the trail of the main bad guy.

In this case it is Neil Hagan brought to wickedly evil life by Vincent D’Onofrio. Willis and D’Onofrio play really well off each other in the few scenes they share and you really do get the feeling the hate each other passionately. The rest of cast are a mix of TV, film and music stars including Julian McMahon (Fantastic Four, Nip/Tuck) as the hitman, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson as the ghetto boss mob proving some of the means for Duhamel’s character to gain some weapons.

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Director David Barrett has come from a stunt background and won high praise for his work on the Final Destination 2 highway collision scene and it is here that he has learned to hone his style of filmmaking. He brings some nice new shots including a few from a sniper attack. He is also comfortable with action scenes including a large building fire towards the end of the film.

His pacing of the film and clear fight scenes means we get a clear action movie that brings some fresh air to a tired but still going genre. The music is both suspenseful and full of drama which is testament to Trevor Morris who has done film work but lots of TV work including Alphas, The Borgias and the recent film Immortals.

THE VERDICT: A thriller that heats up the action and temperature to bring us a good way to spend 2 hours being entertained.

Rating: 3.5/5
Reporter: Montoya

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