Fire with Fire

Film Title: Fire with Fire

Director: David Barrett

Starring: Josh Duhamel

Genre: Action

Running Time: 97 min

Sat, Mar 9, 2013, 08:21



Directed by David Barrett. Starring Josh Duhamel, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis, Vincent D’Onofrio, 50 Cent, Richard Schiff, Vinnie Jones, Quinton Jackson, Kevin Dunn 15A cert, gen release, 97 min

Ah yes. With all these mediocre films about the place, it’s oddly refreshing to come across a properly terrible debacle that suggests people who do something else for a living have somehow stumbled unprepared onto a blameless soundstage. These maniacs can’t even come up with a workable title. Fire with Fire ? What sort of phrase is that? Why not Fire Versus Fire or The Brothers Fire ?

The various barbers and costermongers behind Fire Me No Fires would, no doubt, argue that their title resonates with double and triple meanings. Dreamy, bland Josh Duhamel (a man who really needs a hard consonant in the middle of his surname), plays, yes, a fireman who – negotiating various absurd twists – is forced to violently fight back against a band of ruthless neo-Nazis. Get it? He’s literally a fireman who’s metaphorically fighting fire with fire. Oh, please yourself.

We know that things are going to start badly when, after an evening of fire-related heroics, Josh saunters into his local store and chats with the African-American owner. The shopkeeper’s son, a budding basketball player, is also on the premises. “Hello, Skip,” Josh very nearly says. “I am glad to hear you have a great future ahead of you. No doubt you will live a long, productive and happy life that will bring great joy to your father in his impending retirement.”

Then Vinnie Jones enters the establishment. Happy frolics do not follow. Then, following some witness-protection guff, Josh, hitherto peaceable, suffers a ludicrous transformation into a psychopathic vengeance machine.

The film does have one thing to recommend it. The underused Vincent D’Onofrio is genuinely terrific as the chief Nazi: contained, weighty, despicably determined. Everything else is appalling.

The biggest unintentional laughs deriv from a bit of (we must assume) improvisation by Mr Jones. “Henry Cooper only had 10 percent body fat,” he muses. Henry Cooper? Heads are being scratched all over the US.