(out of 5)
Two brothers, complete opposites in every way, are reunited after having not seen each other for years. The elder (Kurt Russell) is a fire fighter like his father was before he died in a tragic accident. The younger brother (William Baldwin) has shifted between careers until finally deciding to become a fire fighter himself; having witnessed his father’s death was an obstacle up until this point. The clash of their personalities is the dramatic centre around which this entire drama surrounds itself, but of course this isn’t enough for Hollywood, so there’s a murder mystery thrown in the middle as well (the whole subplot stinks of studio executive interference). The effects work involving burning buildings and exploding houses is awe-inspiring, but it can’t hide the fact that the characters are all old cliches and the running time takes double the length it needs to tell a very simple story. Robert De Niro stands out impeccably as a burn victim who investigates arson, and is the key player in unraveling a series of murders.
Directed by Ron Howard
Screenplay by Gregory Widen
Cinematography by Mikael Salomon
Music by Hans Zimmer
Production Design by Albert Brenner
Costume Design by Jodie Lynn Tillen