Cast: Josh Mosby, Kathy Ireland, Robert Mitchum
Special guest review!
By Michael Sullivan
Amongst my circle of friends (well, to be honest, it's
more of a circle of people who barely tolerate me), I'm know as a bit
an overcritical bastard. I've usually taken this as their little joke,
a little good natured ribbing. But after seeing "friends" egg my car
stuff dog crap in my mailbox, it got me to thinking: Am I overcritical?
Am I a bastard? After much soul-searching, I will only write positive
about the films I see, no matter how awful. I will also initiate a
rating system. Well, here we go.....
Batton down the comedy
it's going to be a wacky ride! In the tradition of Spy Hard
and Wrongfully Accused comes another wham-bam,
bumper car ride of outrageous parody! In this "madcap" spoof of Ron
Howard's Backdraft Kathy
Ireland has pretty eyes, jokes pop out of mouseholes, and Dorf will
you laugh at his clownish antics! (Please note that Dorf does not
in this movie.) This is truly a film that was made for people to watch!
On second thought...
Backfire! is a limp Airplane!
knockoff that's just a tiny fraction in a long line of limp Airplane!
knockoffs. The film's only saving grace is that it doesn't try to cater
to Leslie Nielsen's deluded notion that's he's a comedian. It does,
feature pained veteran actors and some soon to be familiar faces in
roles, and enough lame sight gags and listless movie references to make
at least 4 more crappy parody films. (Calling all producers! Check out
these surefire direct-to-video ideas! The Blair Matrix Project,
Booby, Oh Big Barton, Art Thou In Fargo, and The
Wizard Of Tattoine Or: How To Get Ahead In Hollywood By Kissing A
Untalented Director's Flannel Wearing Ass In The Guise Of Parody!)
Like most parody films, the plot is pretty much
But there is a semblance of a plot about a world very different from
in which gender roles are reversed and women are firefighters. In this
alternate dimension, a young boy named Jeremy desperately wants to grow
up to be a firewoman. But his dreams are somewhat squelched after he
blows up his mother. Flash-forward to "The day before yesterday" (ha
ha). Jeremy (Josh Mosby) is now all grown up, and is training at the
so he can fight fires alongside his sister Lt. Jackson (Mary
Jackson objects to her brother joining the fire house and to the
suspicious fires that just so happen to occur around toilets. The
fires and the city's lack of fire hydrants seem to be a sinister plot
the mannish and egotistical Herzzoner The Mayor (Laine Valentino) and
ubiquitous Most Evil Man (Telly Savalas). Will Jeremy gain respect from
his fellow firewomen and steal his old girlfriend Jessica (Kathy
away from the mayor? Will the Most Evil Man's secret be revealed? Will
I take this tape and smash it with a sledgehammer?
This is one unfunny and mediocre film. The level of
never seems to rise above gags like a character saying, "Drop and give
me twenty!", and not surprisingly, the cast drops and gives away twenty
dollars. Or how about Kathy Ireland saying she doesn't have to stand
this, so she sits down? Or how about Jeremy being literally shown the
Yes, this film is full of other great gags like the ones I mentioned
Plus, there's timely swipes at the World Trade Center bombing, Yugos,
Quayle, Beavis & Butthead, and just about anything else that was
or popular during the mid '90s.
But that's not all. We also get film parodies. But not
just any film parodies - these are parodies minus the most important
PARODY! That's right, scenes from well-known (and not so well-known)
and TV shows are replayed right in front of us, and I guess we're
to laugh at third-rate actors performing scenes from The Shining,
Wars, and Cliffhanger, just because they are.
I will give them credit for the references to Joel Sh*tmaker's Falling
Down and to Mystery Science Theater 3000, just
you rarely ever see these two things mocked (even though they really
being mocked in this.)
It's really no surprise that the script is terrible;
all, it was written by A. Dean Bell, who also gave the world swill like
Littlest Patriot. But the acting in this movie has to be both
most painful and depressing aspects. How bad is the cast? Well, let's
it this way - Kathy Ireland gives the film's best performance
no?) Mosby, McCormick (who went on to play Alison Stern in Private
Parts), and Valentino all seem to be competing on who can play
their role in the most awkward, wooden, and monotone way possible.
character actor Telly Savalas desperately tries to give a good
but he looks like he's in pain, and most of his scenes are performed
sitting down. (Sadly, Telly died shortly after the film was made, due
But the most embarrassing performance is from Robert
as Fire Marshall Mark Marshall. A marshall in the cowboy sense, Mitchum
mumbles his lines, wears a bra, wrestles himself to the floor, and
to look down Kathy Ireland's dress. Mitcum's far, far away from
like The Night Of The Hunter, and it makes you a little
seeing him in a role that's usually reserved for Leslie Nielsen. But
a blast seeing future Oz/Sopranos star Edie Falco as Jeremy's
mother, and check out a pre-Third Rock From The Sun Kirsten
as a bartender. Shelly Winters also shows up as "The Good Lieutenant"
Winters actually puts in an amusing cameo, and appears to be having
Probably because it was a step up from films like Tentacles
and Poor Pretty Eddie (a film where she strips.)
Parody films have become predictable and tiresome over
the past couple of years. I mean, how many jokes similar to "...and
call me Shirley!" can people take before apathy sets in. Jeez, even the
parodies of movie clichés have become clichés themselves! Characters
musical stings and the soundtrack turning out to be someone playing a
instrument onscreen, characters posing and smiling around dead bodies
crime photographers take their pictures, split screen phone gags etc.
parody films go, this is one barren mess that even has the balls to
a character slip on a banana peel. But to be honest, you could do a
of a lot worse. Ever see the Corey Feldman-directed Busted,
or National Lampoon's Men In White? Wish I could say I
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also: Love At Stake, Night
Patrol, When Nature Calls