Fire with Fire Review: 9,941 Portuguese people can’t be wrong

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So after watching so many movies that demand your attention, and make you think, I thought I’d watch a movie that would let me turn off my brain. I made a good choice. I also discovered that my instant queue is full. I guess there is a limit, it is 500 movies. I had to make room for something that might be good, so rather than just deleting a title from my queue, I chose the road of the true sadomasochist and looked for something awful.

Fire with Fire (2012) is one of those films that doesn’t captivate you with how terrible it is. You just slowly lose interest, get distracted by other things, including all the actors in this film that have been in much better, every once in awhile checking in to see what’s going on with the movie. It stars Josh Duhamel, which is the movie’s first problem. He brings out as much emotion in a character as a Ken Doll does. On the other hand, the first CLUE that this movie will be bad is that it stars Bruce Willis, yet it received no theatrical release here. However, IMDB will tell you that there were 9,941 admissions in Portugal (which surely was just to fulfill some clause in a contract that the movie must have a theatrical release).

Yet, I still had hopes for the film. It starts with Duhamel witnessing a double homicide hate crime committed by an overweight Vincent D’Onofrio as the leader of an Aryan brotherhood. He looks and dresses more like an accountant, but OK. Duhamel escapes the scene. We then are treated to a tight close up of the Long Beach Police Department building. “Hey, I live in Long Beach!” I thought. “Maybe I’ll see some places I recognize!” I am first treated to some laughable scenes where we meet Willis as a police detective who has been wanting to catch D’Onofrio on previous charges but couldn’t make them stick. If you know the LBPD, this should make you laugh, as Willis takes his role too seriously in this film to be a LBPD detective. D’Onofrio discovers Duhamel’s identity (who is a firefighter, so that’s why it’s called FIRE WITH FIRE, get it? Get it?), and Duhamel has to enter the witness protection program.

We then end up in New Orleans. “Hey, I’m wearing a New Orleans shirt!” I thought. “And I’m living in Long Beach!” I thought. How exciting! It’s like I was in the movie itself. Duhamel has somehow hooked up with Rosario Dawson during the course of the opening credits, and they trade lame anecdotes about how it is to be a firefighter versus her being a police officer. They are attacked by D’Onofrio’s hired henchman, Dawson gets shot in the head, but somehow is OK. Duhamel then decides the only way to be safe is to go back to Long Beach and confront D’Onofrio.

We then are told that Duhamel is at 14th Street and Cherry in Long Beach, which looks like this, but looks like someplace else in the movie. Having been to New Orleans, I suspect that Duhamel is still in New Orleans, and looking at the filming locations, I’m right, as there was only one location listed on IMDB. So Duhamel is terribly lost and has not left New Orleans at all, but everyone in the film humors him and tells him he’s in Long Beach. But seriously, name dropping Long Beach more than any film I’ve seen recently doesn’t help if I know it’s not Long Beach, THE LBC! So I’m looking up the filming location while watching the movie of course, and slowly lose interest in what is a lame vigilante film (thus the FIRE WITH FIRE title having another layer to it. Get it? Get it?), and get distracted by other shiny things on the internet.

There isn’t much else to say about the film. Things happen, none of them memorable or executed particularly well. I already have said that Duhamel doesn’t have the chops to carry a film, so at least he’s starring in a film that wouldn’t have been any good in the first place. Willis is collecting a paycheck. Dawson does her job and looks good doing it. Vinny Jones is in the film to make sure it sucks. There are other recognizable people that you could look up and wonder why they are bothering to do this film. I would guess it’s because 50 Cent produced the film, and he payin’ more den fitty cent to be in his movie. Mr. 50 also has a cameo role in the film.

So why am I blogging about this? One reason could be that I generally give good reviews to everything here, but that’s more a function of having decent taste than thinking that every movie is good. I guess partly because I don’t want to look like a movie snob as well, with a lot of documentaries and heady stuff. I’m not above watching a brainless well-done action flick. But this is not the film you’re looking for.

IMDB rating: 3 out of 10 stars

Netflix rating: 1 out of 5 stars

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