Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB. USA, 2004. Touchstone Pictures, Beacon Pictures, Casey Silver Productions, Fantail Films Inc., Beacon Communications. Screenplay by Lewis Colick. Cinematography by James L. Carter. Produced by Casey Silver. Music by William Ross. Production Design by Tony Burrough. Costume Design by Renee Ehrlich Kalfus. Film Editing by Bud S. Smith, M. Scott Smith.
Painfully cliché-riddled drama about firefighters that makes the lamentable Backdraft suddenly look so much better. The action takes place in a local firehouse chock full of grunting Irish Catholic firemen who eat sloppily and sing karaoke badly so that we know what brutish, straight jocks they really are. John Travolta is completely out of place as the captain of the fire hall, while the story chooses as its centre the tale of a young rookie (Joaquin Phoenix, who would be great if we could understand his mumbling) who marries a beautiful girl (Jacinda Barrett) and raises kids while always doing the hero thing at work. The story is choppy and soap-operatic in its plotting, brimming over with pat-happy family drama standards that never achieve a whit of originality. Good fire effects, though.