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Movies Kelly Parks Review by
Kelly Parks
Firestarter 2: Rekindled
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FIRESTARTER 2 - 2002
USA Films
Rated: Argentina, Germany, Iceland: 16 / Australia: M / Finland: K-15 / France: -12 / Sweden, UK: 15 / USA: PG

FIRESTARTER was a great little B movie. I enjoyed it. Then eighteen years went by and somebody decided to make a sequel. Did they wait too long?

FIRESTARTER 2 is a sequel, but only sort of. Usually a sequel tells us what happened next (or at some later time) to the characters from the first story. That is what this movie does, updating the life of Charlie McGee, the Firestarter. But it also, through a series of flashbacks, re-writes a great deal of the first movie. I'm not sure who told them they could do that.

FIRESTARTER 2 was directed by Robert Iscove (DARK ANGEL [TV]) and written by Philip Eisner (EVENT HORIZON). The story opens with a dream sequence. A SWAT team tries to take Young Charlie (Skye McCole Bartusiak: BOOGEYMAN) from her parents, killing her mother in the process. This isn't quite what happened to Charlie in the first movie but whatever.

Adult Charlie (Marguerite Moreau: MIGHTY JOE YOUNG, QUEEN OF THE DAMNED, LOST [TV]) wakes up with her bed on fire. She grabs an extinguisher on the nightstand and casually puts out the fire.

Charlie (under a fake name) works at the school library at a small college. It happens to be the same college where the long dead Dr. Wanless (Alex Nibley) once experimented on students with a drug called "Lot 6". This drug gave psychic powers to Charlie's parents and through them, to her. Charlie is a pyrokinetic. She can start fires with her mind.

Meanwhile, handsome young investigator Vincent Sforza (Danny Nucci: WORLD TRADE CENTER) works to locate people for Systems Operations Corporation (is that a generic name or what?). He believes he’s locating people to give them their share of the settlement from a class action suit, for all the people hurt by Wanless' experiments for the government. Vincent tells his boss that all the records show Charlie McGee is dead, burned to death in a fire. But his boss wants him to keep trying.

Charlie lives her secret life, occasionally hitting the club scene. She has to be careful because if she hooks up with a good looking guy and gets a little excited, bad things happen to him and the bed and the building.

Speaking of hooking up, eventually she and Vincent get together and become more than friends, especially after he figures out who she is. That turns out to be just one of many revelations for innocent Vincent, who had no idea that the Evil Corporation he works for (taking the place of the Evil Government Agency from the first movie, showing how sensibilities have changed) was not giving settlement checks to the people he located, when they "closed their files, with extreme prejudice".

It turns out Vincent's boss' boss is John Rainbird (Malcolm McDowell: A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, CAT PEOPLE [1982], ASYLUM [1997], EVILENKO, HEROES [TV]), the government assassin played by George C. Scott in the first movie. He sure looked like he died at Charlie's pyrokinetic hands in that movie but we find out here he was just horribly burned.

There's a lot more to tell (especially because I saw the nearly three hours long director's edition) but I'll just mention one more item. Eventually Charlie meets James Richardson (Dennis Hopper: BLUE VELVET, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2, LAND OF THE DEAD), another survivor of the Lot 6 experiment. He's the best actor in this movie and his performance is, how do you say, not so good.

So what am I trying to say? I'll get to that in a minute. First it's time for a

!!!SCIENCE MOMENT!!!:
The movie does mention that the drugs (from “lot 6” that starts it all to the new and improved “Lot 23” in use twenty years later) work by activating genes on a specific chromosome and there is lots of work like that being done today, so kudos to the writer for reading a little science news before starting this job. Kudos.

But wow did it suck! Bad acting, bad writing, bad storytelling, bad little boys and girls who need a good smack in the head. The endless story had huge plot holes ("If she used her powers right here and killed that guy, she'd solve all her problems. So why doesn't she?") and long stretches of over the top bad guy dialogue from Malcolm McDowell's character that must have been hard for him to deliver with a straight face.

I give FIRESTARTER 2 a paltry one shriek girl. Awful.


This review copyright 2007 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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In 1983 and 1984, Martin Sheen was in two consecutively released movies based on Stephen King novels.
THE DEAD ZONE (1983)
&
FIRESTARTER (1984).
 
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