Sunday, 28 August 2011

Fire Down Below (1997)

First of all, let me just say that I was annoyed to find out I had missed Under Siege 2 in my exciting quest to view every Seagal movie in chronological order. That will be the next viewing and then normal service will resume. But for now ........
Yes, the child in me went into this movie secretly hoping that it was a film all about Steven Seagal suffering from cystitis but I knew that was unlikely to be the case. Instead, Seagal puts himself once again in the role of environmental warrior (as he did in On Deadly Ground).

The pony-tailed one plays EPA officer Jack Taggart, sent out to a small community that is being poisoned by a local big shot (played by Kris Kristofferson). While he’s there, Jack befriends a local man (Harry Dean Stanton), gets close to a local lady (Marg Helgenberger) and divides the rest of the populace right down the middle. As he starts causing more problems for the greedy polluters he starts putting himself in a lot more danger.

Director Felix Enriquez Alcala has a filmography chock full of TV work but he doesn’t do all that badly with his movie work. It’s a lesser Seagal movie but it’s still quite a distance removed from the worst that the man has starred in.

Jeb Stuart and Philip Morton provide a predictable and uneven script (it’s part ho-down sappiness and part gritty action flick with neither aspect really satisfying for viewers).

Thankfully, the cast has some great actors in there. Seagal isn’t one of them but he is Seagal so that’s that. Kristofferson is enjoyable if a bit too polite in the role of the big, bad polluter. Helgenberger gets by on likeability more than any great characterisation and Harry Dean Stanton is always a welcome addition to any movie but it’s Stephen Lang who steals the show as the brother of Helgenberger’s character.
Watch it, enjoy it and never feel the urge to seek it out again. 


  1. You didn't have much to say about this one. I haven't seen it since it was new--never, as you say, sought it out again (though I did look at the final moments on tv a few times, for reasons I'll explain shortly). I remember it as an absolute riot of awfulness. Things I remember:

    --Seagal, showing up to allegedly do some outdoor carpentry work, wearing nice clothes and leather jacket, and giving every impression he'd never done any such work in his life.

    --The ripoff chase with the semi, which was entirely made up of moments replicated, scene-for-scene, from DUEL.

    --The only real reason to watch the movie, and the means by which it earned a little piece of immortality: as the credits begin, Harry Dean Stanton comes out on the porch and SINGS! We've seen Harry sing before, but NEVER like this. When they show this movie on TNT, they actually CUT THAT SCENE OUT, opting for a fast-motion credit roll at the end. This should, I absolutely insist, cost someone at the channel their job.

  2. Then there's the star himself getting the old guitar in his hands. *shudder*