Fire With Fire
Action thriller falls down in taking itself far too seriously for what it is.
When firefighter Jeremy Colton (Josh Duhamel) witnesses a gang turf murder at the hands of Aryan Brotherhood crime boss he is forced into witness protection pending the trial, where he falls for the U.S. Marshall sent to protect him (Rosario Dawson). It briefly appears they could have found the happiness they so desired but when their cover is blown Colton is forced to rise above the law and take things on himself.
Once all the tedium of its opening is over Fire With Fire is first and foremost a revenge story, and in doing so agrees to tick certain boxes on the way through. It has Bruce Willis as the too-old-for-the-action lieutenant holding a grudge, it has Vinnie Jones as a gang member crony, it has Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson popping in to say hello as the leader of the Eastside Crips. Where the film falls down is it takes itself far too seriously for what it is. Revenge is a dish best served cold and with a large helping of self-deprecating cheese.
From the off you are with Colton, you want him to have his revenge but his back story isn’t quite sad enough to provoke total empathy or at least, not enough time is spent spinning out how his life has been affected by what he has been through. In fact he’s been carted off to New Orleans under the protection of the Marshals before the opening credits have rolled. It’s only once he starts ‘taking out the trash’ you can really feel anything towards him, and even then he has to stop his torturing to vomit.
The winner in Fire With Fire is Vincent D'Onofrio who plays the White Power gang leader Hagan. His Foghorn Leghorn accent lends the film an air of ridiculousness it very much needs. Hagan is the kind of figurehead who doesn't like to get dirty unless he really means business, a death at the hands of Hagan is really something to be quite proud of. He will sit back nonchalantly, in his open collar showing his swastika tattoos until the time really comes for action.
Fire With Fire is a good popcorn movie. It doesn't offer a lot else up but who says every film needs to. It's good to let the dog have his day.