Incendiary stunts provide some thrills in this formulaic disaster picture
about the confluence of separate fires. Oregon fire patrol pilot Jim Merrick (D.B. Sweeney) relies on his intuition and makes a decision that fails to save his co-workers at Biner's Ridge. Although the casualties weren't really his fault, Merrick is demoted and suffers the censure of tanker pilots like Sammy Kerns (Diane Farr), and fire jumpers like Jack Skidder (Craig MacLachlan). Merrick's new chief at the Department of Fire second-guesses him constantly and tells him to take orders from Kerns. Although the Department utilizes satellite imagery, the firefighters rely on the expertise of leaders like Joe Night Trail (Wed Studi). When a lightning fire strikes near ranger station 12, satellite technology predicts that Joe Night Trail's crew will extinguish the blaze quickly. Meanwhile, Merrick tries to restore his damaged credibility by demanding a recheck of the satellite data; sure enough, the available information supports Merrick's fear that three separate area fires could converge and become a catastrophe like the "superfire" of 1834. As the individual infernos creep toward each other, Joe Night Trail's squad finds itself in harm's way. Merrick disobeys orders and tries to redeem himself by flying a rickety plane over the fire and dropping foam over the trapped men. But nothing slows down the flames that threaten to meet and annihilate Portland. Despite his superiors' reservations, Merrick proposes using a fuel air bomb that could create a shock wave and starve the fire of oxygen. Merrick volunteers for a suicide mission to explode this one-shot bomb. Action movie cliches abound the disgraced hero, trapped teens, macho men but for connoisseurs of natural catastrophes the film offers plenty of flaming carnage and singed timbers.
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- Released: 2002
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: Incendiary stunts provide some thrills in this formulaic disaster picture about the confluence of separate fires. Oregon fire patrol pilot Jim Merrick (D.B. Sweeney) relies on his intuition and makes a decision that fails to save his co-workers at Biner'… (more)