Movie Review: Fire Down Below

This 1997 movie with Steven Seagal is a story about an EPA agent on steroids named Jack Taggart (Steven Seagal) who is on a mission in a Kentucky backwater town where an evil oil man (Kris Kristofferson) dumps tons of toxic waste at the expense of the environment and all the people in the town. The movie is fully of Seagal remakes. He looks just like he always looks in his black leather jacket, never gets a scratch and takes out ten men at a time in hand to hand combat. There is also a love story to flesh things out.

The story is very much similar to that of Roadhouse with Patrick Swayzee. Superhero takes on evil baron and his entire posse single-handedly and frees entire town of the yoke of oppression, abuse and exploitation. The film fits the formula without deviation. There is little new here and no lasting value.

Rating: *

So why am I even bothering  to write a review?

Kris Kristofferson plays the evil baron in Fire Down Below, and his acting is somewhat wooden. It goes well with Seagal’s wooden style, however, and in his suits, surrounded by his thugs, he makes a good “really bad guy.” At the end of the movie you can’t help but hate the character.

It just so happens that about a year or two ago I saw Kristofferson in a concert in the Poway Center for the Arts. He was skinnier than in this movie, ten years older, I guess, and he walked into the middle of an empty stage with no fanfare, not much in the way of lights, and a guitar. And he played for us for a couple of hours, told a few anecdotes, and entertained us thoroughly. He came across as a very humble and giving man.

Maybe that means Kristofferson is a good actor. If a humble and giving man can play an evil baron so convincingly, he must be a good actor.

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