"More than just an excuse for girls to watch firemen."
Okay, so being a Ron Howard film and a Kurt Russell film and having a Baldwin in it put me on the wrong foot. I'll admit I gave this flick a bad rap for a long time without even seeing it.Well I have to take that back now, because this is a decent flick on many levels. It's a thriller, it's got action, a little bit of sex and giggles, but mostly it's a solid whodunnit. You wouldn't know it just from the hype and the trailer, which seem to wave a big ol' "Look girls! Firemen!" flag over it all.
But damn it all to hell, Russell doesn't suck here. And even though the lesser Baldwin is present and requisitely "duh" faced throughout, he kinda gets over too.
How can this be so?
Ron Howard. The man could direct two maggots racing across a floor and make it seem like the Grand National. He doesn't just make this a whodunnit. He makes it a howdunnit and a whydunnit and a wherewillitbedunnnext, with a little Silence Of the Lambs exploring of the criminal mind thrown in.
Donald Sutherland's "Ronald the arsonist" character is compelling yet disgusting, but it's a great twist on what could have been a bland action chase gig.Okay, so I'm giving huge raps to this flick and making it sound like Hitchcock. It's not. The ending was a major disappointment. Big for big's sake.
But it's a lot better than this pessimistic bastard thought it would be. A lot better.