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there was probably a good reason that the warner bros . studio chose not to allow critics to view this steven seagal film when it first opened .
and , after seeing this piece of toxic waste , i now know why .
this movie is by far the worst offering that has hit the screen since possibly those ernest movies years ago .
fire down below centers its story on a little mining town in god's country , somewhere in eastern kentucky .
it's beauty and natural goodness is being slowly destroyed by an uncaring mining magnate ( kris kristopherson , who constantly looks like he wants to kill his agent for getting him this role ) .
it turns out that he's filling the mines throughout kentucky with toxic waste for a tidy profit .
seagal plays jack taggert , an aikido-versed , fighting machine , who is an agent with the epa .
no . . . not the cia nor the fbi nor the nsa .
it's the environmental protection agency .
i had no idea that epa agents were trained to be killers !
taggert is sent to find the perpetrators and to bring them to justice .
written by someone named jeb , i could already envision the stereotypes of incestuous relationships , banjo-picking preachers , and dumb-as-nails rednecks .
but the script puts seagal right smack dab in the middle of all of these scenarios as he tries to discreetly fit in .
seagal's idea of a disguise is a long-length $1000 leather jacket .
but to get closer to the kinfolk , he will fix people's porches for free .
that's another great epa asset - teaching agents how to fix porches .
slow and plodding , this project is a total mess .
the sometimes allure of watching seagal is watching him outmaneuver enemies that outnumber and outgun him like in under seige .
here , his bravado basically turns into bullyness .
townsfolk who are foolish enough to challenge seagal are quickly subdued .
fight scenes are quick and senseless and offers no enjoyment value whatsoever .
and his soap box message wears thin within the first 15 minutes .
the most annoying moment comes when he barges into the middle of a sunday church ceremony , gets behind the pulpit , and beseeches the townsfolk to take control of their lives and to help clean up the environment .
but the epitome of how moralistically mushy this film gets happens when the person responsible for the toxic dumping , kristopherson , meets up with seagal .
kristopherson asks seagal how much it will take for him to go away .
seagal gallantly replies : " i'll leave when you take the poison from the streams and the earth . "
i was expecting patriotic music to start blasting and a show of fireworks in the background .
this is truly nothing more than a pompous showcase for seagal's righteousness and narcissistic arrogance .
seagal has been vanguard in trying to bring a new genre into the filmplace , that of the enviro-thriller ( on deadly ground ) .
however , the message will never come across through poorly developed vehicles like this .
still , i believe in preserving mother earth , so save your $5 and please donate it instead to some worthy environmentally conscious charity .
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