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Wildfire Reviews

Linda Fiorentino and Steven Bauer star in Zalman King's WILDFIRE, an involving film about passionate, obsessive love. Kay (Fiorentino) and Frank (Bauer) grow up together in an orphanage. By the time they're teenagers, they get married, drop out of school and start their new life on the road. With a wife, and a baby on the way, Frank is desperate for money, and decides to hold up a bank with a toy gun. But as he's running away with the loot, he's shot by a cop and Kay, who becomes hysterical, runs over to Frank, falls down and seriously injures herself. After Frank is sent to prison and Kay loses her baby, she gives up on their future altogether and settles in with a foster family. Eight years later, Kay is happily married, to another man, Mike (Will Patton), and has two children. Meanwhile, Frank, who's thought about nothing except Kay during his incarceration, comes looking for her as soon as he's released from prison. After several awkward encounters at the grocery store, the airport and even at her home, Kay begs Frank to leave town. But when Frank reveals he has learned that her birth mother is living in Stockton, Kay agrees to drive to California with him. Once in Stockton, Kay has a traumatic and heart-breaking encounter with her real mother--a tacky, foul-mouthed woman by the name of Roberta. By the movie's end, Frank and Kay end up in Mexico together, where Frank makes one last-ditch effort to convince Kay to stay with him. Kay still loves Frank, but being committed to a new husband and two small children, she turns him down. In the film's dramatic finale, Frank, who feels alone, abandoned and destined never to have a family of his own, commits suicide. Shot in 1986 and released direct-to-video in 1992, WILDFIRE is a well-written film with strong performances by Fiorentino and Bauer. Fiorentino (AFTER HOURS, THE MODERNS) is convincing as a young woman who is torn between her past and her present. And Bauer (SCARFACE, RAISING CAIN) is adept at portraying the desperate but sympathetic Frank. The direction by Zalman King (TWO MOON JUNCTION, WILD ORCHID) is not to be overlooked either. The scene where Kay encounters her real mother is especially powerful. It effectively captures Kay's curiosity, apprehension and quiet revulsion. (Profanity, sexual situations.)