Friday, May 11, 2012

Fire with Fire (1988)

A scan of my VHS copy of Fire with Fire   

Fire with Fire (1988)

Director: Cedric Sundstrom
Starring: Lisa Rinna, Oliver Reed, Robert Vaughan
Format: VHS (Palace)

Released in the US as both Captive Rage and Fair Trade, this "chicks fight back" jungle actioner was released here in New Zealand (and Australia) as Fire with Fire. Not to be confused with the 1986 Fire with Fire, a Craig Sheffer-Virginia Madsen love story, of course.

Eduard Delacorte (Vaughan) is a DEA agent who locks up the son of a South American drug lord/dictator, General Belmondo (Reed). In retaliation, Belmondo hijacks a plane containing Delcorte's daughter, Lucy (Rinna), and her perky college girl friends and takes the girls captive in his jungle camp. He wants to exchange them for his son, but the feisty babes bust out of captivity and go all Rambo-ette.

Thrown into the mix are a tribe of native Indians, and a pair of American surveyors who team up with the girls, the latter offering some mild comedic relief (one of these bumbling dudes is B-movie journeyman Greg Latter - MUTATOR, LUNARCOP, KICKBOXER 5 etc).

Rinna, who would go on to become a soap star in Melrose Place and Days of Our Lives, is all cute and perky here in her on-screen debut. Her friends are played by a bunch of no-names (including former Miss South Africa Diana Tilden Davis - this film was financed by her home country), who also look good in their camo cut-offs. None of them are particularly believable as gun-toting badasses though, and it's never explained how they know how to use guns so well.

Reed and Vaughan were fading stars by this point. Vaughan's on-screen time is minimal, while Reed is obviously phoning in his performance, but even then he's the most entertaining thing about Fire with Fire, particularly his terrible South American accent. Another highlight is Belmondo's blonde prison captain whose giant hair and shoulderpads would have made Bonnie Tyler envious.

South African director Sundstrom went on to helm two American Ninja sequels (3 and 4 to be exact).

There's just enough gun fights, explosions and nudity to keep things from getting too tedious, but for a jungle action flick things are kept pretty tame. An adequate time-waster, but don't expect anything great.

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