Admittedly I'd never heard of this film, Fire with Fire prior to seeing it on Village Roadshow's release schedule, but with Bruce Willis' name as top billing it immediately grabbed my interest. The reason I hadn't heard of the film - it never made it to cinemas in Australia, and is direct to Blu-Ray. That doesn't necessarily mean it's a film to avoid, we've seen some real gems that bypassed theatrical release here. So what's this film about then?
After witnessing the brutal murders of a convenience store owner and his son; firefighter, Jeremy Coleman (Josh Duhamel) nearly escapes with his life. As he is forced to testify against the crime lord, Hagan, he is placed in the witness protection program under the watch of the U.S. Marshalls. As his new identity becomes compromised Jeremy is forced to take an unexpected course of action in order to get is life back and save the lives of those he loves.
What didn't sell me however was Vincent D'Onofrio as the main bad guy David Hagan. He simply doesn't pull off the white supremacist as, for instance, Edward Norton did so brilliantly in American History X - which rather amusingly (for me) is referenced in a section of this film only minutes after writing down notes about Vincent's character not being a patch on Edward's.
2. When someone gets blown out of a window by an explosion several stories up, they won't fall directly down alongside the building, but arc outwards and land some meters away from said building.
3. When you set up films with a love interest, and friends being critically injured - tell us what happens after the conclusion of the main story arc - it gives s a bit more closure.
Fire With Fire really is quite an average film, and it's clear to see why the film skipped Australian cinemas. Unless you're a big fan of any of the actors in this film it's probably one worth skipping, or perhaps a rental at best. A disappointing release given the solid cast.
Rarely does a Blu-Ray release from a major studio fail to impress visually these days, and Fire With Fire is another very solid release from Village Roadshow. The transfer is in the film’s original 2.40:1 aspect ratio using the AVC MPEG-4 codec. According to the PS3 we reviewed the disc on the video bitrate often hovered above 25Mbps, and even pushed above 35Mbps in the busier scenes. Fine detail is superb, and even in darker scenes the detail levels remain consistently high. It's not reference quality, there are some softer scenes, and some extremely minor issues, but you won’t be disappointed.
Prior to getting to the main menu on this disc you will be presented with trailers for Lawless (2:26) and End of Watch (2:21). Sadly there are absolutely no other extras on this disc.
Review By: Dave Warner