With a creaky plot, and what seemed to me, playing fast and loose with how firemen actually fight fires, all is forgiven for the magnificent scenes of fires that actually seem to be living monsters desperately searching for oxygen. Scary stuff!
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Kurt Russell and William Baldwin are firefighter brothers carrying on the legacy of their father who was killed in the line of duty. Russell is hard nosed, swaggering "Bull" while baby brother Baldwin, a neophyte fireman, is sensitive and simmers with hostility at serving under rough, tough Russell. Political hanky panky has understaffed the fire department, plus arson is suspected of causing an increase in death and injuries of firefighters.
The script is so predictable, it is hard to fault the actors; however, I would say Robert de Niro mainly showed up to collect his paycheck. Kurt Russell sparks whatever emotional empathy is available in a fine performance as the bullying, but strangely pure Stephen. I have a bit of fondness for the Baldwin brothers, so was satisfied with Billy's mostly soulful face throughout. Donald Sutherland was excellent in a small role as a creepy, soft-spoken former arsonist. Rebecca de Mornay and Jennifer Jason Leigh were both mainly wasted in their Loyal Ladies in Waiting roles. The pace is excellent, so boredom is never a factor.
The "extras" in the DVD are almost nonexistent, but sound and picture are good. I have this nervous feeling that every arsonist in the world had "Backdraft" on his/her must-see list.
The review of this Movie prepared by sweetmolly
In 1971 Brian McCaffrey watched his firefighter father die. Twenty years later, Brian (Baldwin) becomes a rookie firefighter after failing at other careers. His older brother Stephen (Russell) is a veteran, a Fire Lieutenant who doubts his little brother can do the job. They have bad blood going back a ways, but are thrown together on a mission to catch a dangerous arsonist who has been murdering people with fires. Ron Howard directed this decent 1991 effort that features rather poor depictions of firefighting work, but good acting and some spectacular fire effects. De Niro and Sutherland have meaty cameos as an arson expert and convicted firebug, respectively, Leigh and De Mornay have fairly brief appearances as girlfriends or wives. Also in the cast are Jason Gedrick, J.T. Walsh, and David Crosby as (get this) a 70s hippie.
The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus