The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Lionsgate - 2012
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 97 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish
Starring: Bruce Willis, Josh Duhamel, Rosario Dawson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Vinnie Jones, Richard Schiff, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Julian McMahon
Directed by: David Barrett
Music by: Trevor Morris
Written by: Tom O’Connor
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 6, 2012
After witnessing the brutal murders of a convenience store owner and his son, firefighter, Jeremy Coleman (Duhamel) barely escapes with his life. As he is forced to testify against a crime lord, he is placed in the witness protection program under the watch of the U.S. Marshals Service. As his new identity becomes compromised Jeremy is forced to take an unexpected course of action in order to get is life back and save the lives of those he loves.
This is a direct to video crime thriller that is essentially not that thrilling. The cast is full of strong choices especially within its genre but the script is loaded with clichéd characters, formulaic action and a goofy finale that gives it a made for TV feel that doesn’t live up to the film’s better aspects. The trifling plot revolves around Jeremy, a happy go lucky single guy and devoted firefighter who witnesses two horrific murders at the hands of David Hagen, the ringleader of a white supremacist group moving into Los Angeles. Jeremy identifies Hagen and agrees to testify against however Hagen, not one to take that lying down, threatens Jeremy. Detective Mike Cella (Willis), who has been after Hagen for quite some time places Jeremy in witness protection with the U.S. Marshall’s service.
Hagen continues to try and locate Jeremy who spends months off the grid awaiting the trial. When Jeremy meets and falls in love while in witness protection he inadvertently exposes himself which also makes his new love and his buddies back at home targets for Hagen. After an attempt on his life that leaves blood in its wake Jeremy decides that there is only one way to protect those he loves. Go after Hagen himself.
It doesn’t take much imagination to figure how this one ends up. Quite honestly I was enjoying it up to the point where Jeremy goes into witness protection. After that it just descends into the abyss and gets sillier and sillier. I like Josh Duhamel who has the primary role in the film but there is little here that plays to his limited range and onscreen charisma. Bruce Willis, Richard Schiff, Rosario Dawson and Vinnie Jones are literally wasted portraying these cookie cutter characters. Vincent D’Onofrio is the film’s bright spot in the role of David Hagen. Fire with fire isn’t terrible it’s just unimaginative and flat which left me bored and disappointed.
The rating is for strong violence, language, and brief sexuality.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Fire with fire comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate 3.4 Mbps.
In looking at this video presentation as a whole I found it to be satisfactory but not among the better Blu-ray titles I have seen in high definition. Contrast is held in check and blacks are deep but slightly crushed. Shadow detail isn’t definitive however depth of field during low level segments is appreciable. Color balance is good as both primary and secondary are cleanly rendered with a pleasing level of saturation and depth. Skin tones have warm, delineated highlights and lifelike variety. Resolution and clarity is estimable although definition can be a bit inconsistent which leaves some shots (predominantly wide angles) appearing flat with the finest gradations obscured. Luckily it isn’t prevalent as more often than not images appear well resolved with discernible definition and appreciable rendering of fine detail.
The lossless soundtrack doesn’t consistently engage the entire surround platform however it has moments where it energizes the room and reproduces the source elements with aplomb. Dialogue has appreciable presence with refined vocal character and fair room penetration. I did notice on several occasions where the dialogue took on a hollow quality almost like the recording/boom microphone wasn’t properly placed. It was momentary but worthy mentioning. Dynamic range is very good which lends subtle distinction to low level sounds and gravity to broader ones. There are several sequences that engage the entire system to briefly produce entertaining and room filling sound that is measurable (the finale is a good example). This soundtrack isn’t demonstration worthy but it readily delivers a satisfying listening experience that didn’t leave me disappointed.
- Audio commentary with director David Barrett & cinematographer Christopher Probst
- Audio commentary with Vincent D’Onofrio, Julian McMahon, James Lesure, amd Eric Winter
- (HD) Behind the scenes interviews with the cast/crew – 9 minutes
- (HD) Extended interviews with Josh Duhamel, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Julian McMahon, Eric Winter, James Lesure, director David Barrett and producer Randall Emmett (Totaling 111 minutes)
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
Fire with fire is a direct to video crime thriller that brings nothing new to the genre table. The largely noteworthy cast does little to bring the formulaic script and clichéd characters to life. In the end I found it to be boring and flat. It comes to Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring satisfying high definition audio/video quality and middling bonus supplements. If you’re curious my advice is to catch it when it comes to cable TV otherwise Fire with fire is a pass.
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