City on Fire - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

City on Fire Reviews

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July 9, 2017
City On Fire is a disaster movie about... well a city on fire which gave several ageing Hollywood stars something to do in the late 70's. At the end of the 1970's and pretty much at the end of the disaster movie's original box office trend came City On Fire a film that fizzled fast but featuring a certain player out of a certain earlier disaster movie, can you guess???? It's Ava Gardner, having survived Earthquake and The Cassandra Crossing, City On Fire would be her final disaster movie, although it's true in this film she isn't given much to do, she does add a comic twist to a film that shouldn't really be funny in the first place.

City On Fire tells the story of a modern day large American city, in reality that large American city was actually Montreal, in Canada, this city which is never named has a rather large, looming, dangerous feature, an oil refinery, (starting to get an idea of what might happen in this film?) Yes if you have fired up your imagination you may have already guessed that it is this oil refinery and one annoyed employee who is passed over for promotion who sets off a change of events that leads to a series of explosions at the plant and across the city, buildings burst into flames, people run around screaming, cars are thrown into the air, TV presenters swear and walls fall down revealing men on the toilet.

As the heat is turned up and city starts to burn people at the brand new hospital are trapped in a potential firestorm, this would mean that all the oxygen within the hospital would be burnt out along with everything else in the surrounding area. A rescue attempt is set in motion for the trapped people and patients.

The film has long been given a rough ride, true it isn't an amazing piece of cinema and it does rely to heavily on stock footage of fires but among that is this fairly interesting and exciting story of the rescue attempt watched under by the supervision of fire chief Henry Fonda and local television presenter Ava Gardner, Shelley Winters is also thrown in for good measure having gone belly up in the Poseidon Adventure here she gets all hot under the collar as a caring but tough talking nurse. These three Hollywood legends are joined by funny man Leslie Neilsen who believe it or not is mayor of doomed city and only a few years away from his role in disaster movie spoof Airplane and a bunch of lesser names such as Barry Newman and Susan Clark in lead roles as chief doctor and rich widow whose money was burning a hole in her pocket.

Not a great film but it's Luke warm build up means the film fizzles out before it's big bang finish.
Super Reviewer
½ August 3, 2015
Closing in on the bottom of the barrel disaster flick makes no sense picking up and dropping plot points at random intervals. Shelley Winters at least tries to give a performance but Ava Gardner and Henry Fonda, both looking the worse for wear, obviously did it strictly for the loot and are phoning it in, Henry being the worst offender. If you're a disaster movie junkie this is a must see but for anyone else its a Grade Z mess.
Super Reviewer
½ March 20, 2015
A campy B-disaster film about a resentful pyromaniac caused the explosion at a local refinery in Canada and somehow set the entire town on fire. Shockingly, there were many well known actors in the film like Leslie Nielsen and Henry Fonda for instance. The acting was so bad that I cringed constantly, the dialogues were ridiculous. To be honest, it might have been better if this was a comedy.
½ May 4, 2012
Average disaster flick, with some great actors wasted. Has it's moments.
September 9, 2011
Boring, dingy disaster movie from the 70s with a couple of notable names, but not much else going for it. A good early MST3K episode.
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