Backdraft (1991)

Rothe Blog BackdraftFour & A Half Stars

I saw this movie for the first time in TV edited version soon after we moved to Grand Haven in the early 90’s. It was a really awesome movie then, and I think I watched it at least a half dozen times on my taped version before I kind of forgot about it. Then we recently saw Ladder 49 and I knew that I had to see the original classic of all firefighting movies again for the first time.

Starring Kurt Russell, Robert Deniro, and a Baldwin brother, this is a high paced movie where fire has it’s own personality and seems to interact with each character differently. Russell is the older brother that has the no holds barred attitude about life and frequently takes chances with his life trying to prove to everyone around him that the fire will never take his life like it took his dad. Brian (the Baldwin) spends the movie trying to figure out if he wants to be his father bad enough to take the risks that his brother takes.

All the while these dramas are unfolding, there are homicides being committed with fire. Sudden explosions caused with a instant breath of air to an awaiting fire, bodies are being roasted left and right. Deniro is trying to track down the killer and soon enough Brian joins his side to figure out what is going on.

In the end it is the highest level of extortion for money at the expense of the firefighters, and what one does to strike back that costs him his life.

A touching movie where Russell eventually passes the torch to Brian who finally discovers his place in life. Like hard nosed movies where “boys will be boys”? Then you will like this movie. Like exaggerated condensed fire related action sequences? Ditto. Don’t like unnecessary swearing and images of toasted people left and right, well then pass on this one. But with such a great ensemble cast and movie that was way beyond its time, I saw give it a shot.

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