Stars: Casper Van Dien, Lisa Ciara, Johnny Hawkes, Leah Bateman, John Mack, Jeff Clarke, Bryan Rasmussen, Joe Regalbuto, Tom DeTrinis, Brandy Redd, Eileen Dietz | Written by Larry Bain | Directed by George Erschbamer
When ex-firefighter Scott Nylander (Casper Van Dien) and a group of ecologists approach a silo filled with oil to hang a banner with an eco-message, they suddenly realize they came to the wrong place at the wrong time. There’s a bomb attached which is going to explode in a few seconds! As our heroes are hiding, a mass explosion causes a huge flaming tornado, which starts to destroy everything in its way. It turns out that the silo contained an experimental fuel called MT-11 crafted by the Synco Company. Scott and his friends are accused of being terrorists that caused the explosion. Chased by Synco mercenaries, they have to stop the fire twister, before it destroys LA.
Just when you thought you had seen everything, along comes a film that makes Sharknado look like high art! Whilst I can buy a film about sharks scooped up by a tornado and unleashed on the world, I draw the line at man-made tornados that seemingly have sentience! Yes I said sentience – for the tornado in Firestorm (originally title Fire Twister for obvious reasons), tracks it’s victims in search of heat – the films words not mine – yet somehow always finding our motely crew of ecologists.
Hard to believe this is not the first time actor Casper Van Dien has gone up against a killer tornado that was created by a man-made accident (the other being 500mph Storm)! Well, given Van Dien’s penchant for cheesy low-budget direct to market fare theese days that’s not actually that much of a surprise. What IS a surprise is the appearance of Street Hawk‘s Joe Regalbuto, one of the most famous faces on US television in the 80s, as Mitch – the evil “oil man” who plots the downfall of Synco and is responsible for trying to frame Van Dien’s former firefighter Scott. Oh, and did I mention he has the films best scenes in the film?
Let’s get this straight, the biggest shame of this film is not the terrible story, the workman-like performances or the crappy CGI; it’s that Firestorm is helmed by SFX man turned director George Erschbamer, a man whose work in the late 80s and 90s – films such as SnakeEater and its 2 sequels; and the Michael Dudikoff-starring Bounty Hunters and its sequel – are some of my personal favourites. It’s a shame to see a director so well-versed in hard-hitting action reduced to filming dross like this! Though in the same vain, it’s VERY easy to see why this is the only feature-writing credit for producer Larry Bain…
Out now on DVD from Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment, this Firestorm is one to avoid. Go watch this one instead.