Bullet Points: Firetrap
It is time for another edition of Bullet Points and on this go around I take a look at the Dean Cain film, Firetrap. There was definitely life for Dean Cain after his turn as Superman on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. That life has consisted of reality shows, direct to video releases and Hallmark movies. Kudos to Mr. Cain for keeping his career alive and avoiding the so called Superman Curse.
- The Premise: Cain plays Max Hooper, an elite thief who is paid handsomely for his burglary skills. Max is fresh out of prison, but obviously did not learn his lesson, as the movie opens he is back to his old cat burglar tricks along with his partner in crime Vincent (played by Dale Godboldo). After another successful heist, Max is approached with another job, steal an advanced microchip from IQ Industries. But there’s more to this job than meets the eye, as Max will have to deal with corporate espionage, a bickering couple on the verge of divorce and oh yeah… a high rise building on fire. Hence the name Firetrap!
- Supporting Cast: One thing that caught my attention in the opening credits was the amount of names I actually recognized. Cain is not required to carry the movie on his own as he has a supporting cast that includes Richard Tyson (Kindergarten Cop, Three O’Clock High), Lori Petty (Point Break, Tank Girl), Steven Williams (21 Jump Street, Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday), plus Mel Harris from the TV show no action movie fan would likely ever admit to watching or even acknowledge its existence, thirtysomething. There’s also Vanessa Angel, who plays Max’s estranged wife and has a part so small they really could have given it to any actress looking for work. Also in the film is John O’Hurley, best known for his role as J. Peterman in Seinfeld. I believe O’Hurley as a lawyer in this movie as much as I believed him as a quality host of Family Feud.
- HVAC Industry Alert: To pull off the microchip heist, Max Hooper becomes officer Jack Kirk to get the front desk security guard to let him in the building. Once he gets in, Max knocks the security guard out and much like he did in the opening scene of the film, uses the ventilation system to roam through the building undetected. I am imploring the HVAC industry to create more high efficiency heating and cooling systems that feature smaller duct work, that will only allow horse jockeys and small children not battling childhood obesity to fit in, not world class thieves like Mr. Max Hooper.
- It’s Getting Hot In Here: As Max navigates his way through the ventilation system with help from his man on the outside, Vince. Things begin heating up… that’s because someone has started a fire in the basement of IQ Industries and unfortunately for everyone in the building, IQ Industries never felt compelled to teach their employees, from the janitors all the way up to the executives, proper fire safety. As you watch the film you will notice they are well versed in first aid techniques, but don’t have a clue what do to in case of fire. The fire causes a massive explosion and now Max, the employees of IQ Industries, along with the wife of CEO Jack Calloway (played by Jim Storm) and her lawyer are all trapped in the building. Hey Janitor! A mop will not put out a fire. Try a fire extinguisher!
- Plan B: The fire derails Max’s original plan, but as a police officer coming to the aide of the trapped employees he now has the perfect cover. He can help everyone out of the building and then go back up to the floor where the microchip is kept under the guise of looking for any other employees who may need help. That’s called thinking on your feet… if only the plan worked.
- Something Borrowed: One plot device Firetrap uses is the classic slasher film strategy of having unlikable characters die in dramatic fashion. The aforementioned poorly cast John O’Hurley as Cordelia Calloway’s blood sucking divorce attorney learns the hard way why you don’t use an elevator during a fire. Another corporate weasel who freaks out and throws a chair through a window gets ejected from said window thanks to a flare up. If they didn’t deserve it, I might have had some form of empathy.
For what it was, this movie was not bad. Dean Cain does well in his role in this hybrid action/disaster movie. If you want to watch a tolerable Dean Cain movie this one is it, if you want to watch a horrible Dean Cain movie, may I suggest Final Encounter… that movie was awful.
- JCVD Would Be Proud: Before I wrap up this edition of Bullet Points, I would be remiss if I did not give props to Mark Aaron Wagner (Dean Cain’s stunt double) for performing some amazing splits in the opening sequence of the movie that would make JCVD proud. Just an FYI… Mark was also the stunt double for Colin Farrell in the Fright Night remake.