Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
Decent Enough TV Movie
on January 8, 2012
Purchased because this was one of those flicks that had a tantalizing scene - one that stayed with me for many years as I caught a portion of the film at some point, but for reasons I can't recall, never finished.
The scene features one of my favorite character actors, Wes Studi, as a senior smokejumper talking about how some survivors of fire can functionally be alive, but are, in actuality, the living dead. He explains to a young recruit how fire can superheat air to the point where it cooks your lungs. That, even if you survived the flames while in a fire tent, you'd find yourself desperately thirsty - a thirst you'd never be able to quench. All the while as you drown in your own fluids. Yikes.
Crazy stuff. And stuff that sticks with you long after the source material has long passed from memory. So I finally picked up a used copy for a decent price, intent on finally finishing this film.
While my curiosity and need for closure was satisfied - my interest was not so easily sated.
'Superfire' is a tv movie with an assembly line script, typical melodrama and cardboard cut-out characters for the actors to step into. No real talent required. And I hate saying that because I happen to be a fan of D.B. Sweeney. An actor who teetered on the edge of stardom back in the 90s, but seemingly lost his mojo at the turn of the millennium. Sadly so, because he still has the chops for good roles. (check out 'Jericho' - one of those amazing short-lived programs that hardcore fans prop up long after its cancellation, myself included)
Tells the story of James Merrick, a cocky flying firefighter who plays fast and loose with the rules. His arrogance costs him everything during one terrible mission. Ignoring instructions to lay down fire retardant at a specific location, he instead goes with his gut instinct, missing a group of trapped smokejumpers. Because of his mistake, they all burn to death. His fiancé is among those killed. Career in ruins and emotionally devastated - he spends the next few years out of the country flying cargo.
An unusually dry season and shortage of qualified pilots forces fire service management to bring him back into the fold. Understandably, no smokejumper wants him as part of their team. In fact, they're openly hostile to the idea. He's a pariah and he's told in no uncertain terms, do the job exactly as instructed, or he's gone. There won't be a third chance.
Merrick knows fire like a fish knows water, so he has to suppress his instincts when conditions for a legendary conflagration, a type that hasn't been seen since the 1700's, appears to be building. Not only will it destroy one valley town, but unchallenged, it will take out several others along a mountainous range; affecting tens of thousands of people, their homes, businesses, and an incalcuable loss of life. And unimpeded, the superfire could engulf half of Oregon.
But after his previous mistake - will anyone listen to him?
Includes the knucklehead/indepdendent teenagers who find themselves trapped in the mountains; the sexy senior pilot who, despite her intense dislike of the man, slowly begins to realize Merrick may actually be right; the business and political leaders attempting to avoid panicking the public in fear of losing their seasonal holiday money, etc, etc. Again, pretty boilerplate. Decent enough small screen flick, but nothing special of note.