"Silently behind a door, it waits."
Backdraft was a pretty big disappointment for me. The fire scenes were pretty cool, but they weren't enough to make up for everything that was wrong with the film. A great cast is wasted on terrible dialogue and by the numbers filmmaking from Ron Howard. Everything about the firefighters and the story is cliche and everything that occurs is predictable. Nothing in the film is at all original, and we pretty much end up watching the same movie we have seen countless times, except this time it is about firefighters.
I have trouble grasping how this movie doesn't work. I love the subject, I love the cast, and I even like Ron Howard. Sure he always goes for sentimentality, which is on full display here, but he also has a way of making entertaining and exciting movies. The problem with Backdraft is that it is only exciting when we are in a burning building. Outside of that, it is dull and too unoriginal. The brothers relationship has been done so many times, and Backdraft adds nothing new to the formula. Two brothers who don't get along, but work together, get over there differences through their job and a tragedy.
This story had potential. Two firefighter brothers are working together while an arsonist is running wild in Chicago. If the movie wasn't so dumb it could work, but every time Howard had the chance to take the story somewhere new, he instead chose to keep it in familiar territory. The result is a lackluster film, be it with some cool effects, that doesn't give any insight into firefighters, brothers, or human beings at all. When I want to get my firefighter kicks, I'll stick with rewatching episodes of Rescue Me.
After I watched "Backdraft," I thought it was a good movie, but it wasn't quite as good as I was expecting it to be. It has good special effects with the fires and especially the backdrafts. Kurt Russell and the rest of the actors also do a good job in the movie.
If you like movies about being a hero with a little bit of conflict between family in it, you'll probably like "Backdraft." It'll keep you interested while you watch it. NOTE: That was my Amazon review from the year 2000. I remember this used to be about the only movie you heard anything about for a long time around the time of its release, and I thought I'd love it cause I like the actors, and I like Ron Howard movies, but I really didn't enjoy it that much.
VERDICT: Worth watching if it comes on tv
Besides the small stretching of how firefighters would really be discplined and required too act as trained in fires, it's a damn good movie.