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Ablaze (2001)

Ablaze (2001)

It starts under a bridge. A cop and a firemen on a stakeout, getting ready to arrest a pyromaniac, and I wonder if I haven't seen that specific underpass in some other movie before...

Ice T plays the cop with too many one-liners, Michael Dudikoff the hero, there's a creative first car chase (that's one you'll remember at least) and a lot of close-up shots. Then a refinery blows up, the fire spreads via an oil leak in the sewers, and a firestorm gets ready to consume the city.

The movie focuses on a hospital, a woman giving birth, a not very forthcoming mayor and a crew of firefighters we see surprisingly little of considering they seemed to be the main cast.

The special effects haven't aged well, the boy in the house scene seemed a bit too old to do something as stupid as light a plane on fire and throw it on a carpet, and the in-crew bickering in regard to the captain's heroic house stay seems like a loose end when it's all over.

They make the shortcomings of our society so apparent too. With greed and bureaucracy, all those who'd do anything for money - yet as the movie ends we're left with a note that 'every year, accidental fires take the lives of over 500 people and destroy property totaling nearly 25 billion dollars'.

Hypocrisy much?

What's the value of a human life? And is the number really just 500 per year? US citizens only? This doesn't seem like the type of movie to reach that far outside the US though, so I suppose it is.

I would've liked this to be better. They started with such a good chase. They had some real fire and water and all going on - the oil leak was pretty intense, but for the most part the intensity's just not there. You see the strings sometimes. You see the window green screens. You see a little smoke machine haze seeping out through a door.

Maybe they ran a bit short on budget after crashing all those cars in the intro scene.

 rated 2.5/5: almost not bad

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