Saturday, May 14, 2022

Firestarter Movie Review

Zac Efron & Ryan Kiera Armstrong (r) star in Firestarter


Rotten Tomatoes Plot: For more than a decade, parents Andy (Zac Efron; Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile; The Greatest Showman) and Vicky (Sydney Lemmon; Fear the Walking Dead, Succession) have been on the run, desperate to hide their daughter Charlie (Ryan Kiera Armstrong; American Horror Story: Double Feature, The Tomorrow War) from a shadowy federal agency that wants to harness her unprecedented gift for creating fire into a weapon of mass destruction. Andy has taught Charlie how to defuse her power, which is triggered by anger or pain. But as Charlie turns 11, the fire becomes harder and harder to control. After an incident reveals the family's location, a mysterious operative (Michael Greyeyes; Wild Indian, Rutherford Falls) is deployed to hunt down the family and seize Charlie once and for all. Charlie has other plans. Directed by Keith Thomas.

Starring: Zac Efron, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Sydney Lemmon, Kurtwood Smith, John Beasley, Michael Greyeyes, and Gloria Reuben.

What's Good: Not much. ER's Reuben is fun to watch as a new (and improved) version of Martin Sheen's Captain Hollister, but after that... Why even bother remaking a movie hardly anyone saw (yet alone enjoyed) back in the mid-80s?

What's Not: Efron's performance might make your eyes bleed, opposite a pint-sized Katie Holmes (Armstrong) and a cast of forgettable never-beens. The aforementioned Armstrong screams a lot, in between setting stray cats on fire and spewing lousy lines such as, "Something feels weird... in my body." No wonder Reuben's Hollister remarks that she was, "brain-fucked from birth."

Budget: $12 million

Runtime: 94 minutes (and still too long.)

Target Audience: People who prefer to watch a Stephen King novel, instead of reading it.

Bottom Line: Awful acting, bad direction and poor special effects, on top of the fact that Firestarter is one of King's worst novels (in my humble opinion.) This movie had no business seeing "the light of day," but tell that to Peacock and the unfortunate (small) list of theaters that decided to run this on the big screen, instead of grabbing a fire extinguisher and putting all of us out of our collective miseries.

Grade: F (Did I mention they had a funeral for the stray cat?)