Smoke Jumper (2008)


Unique frameworks for scripts are hard to come by. Unknown to the movie-goer who doesn’t take the time to uncover little-known titles, this is one that fits into that purview. And has the added benefit of being backed up by statistics.

Following in her father’s footsteps, Kristin Scott (Brooke Burns) has been a source of pride to him. They share a bond that her mother and sister never understood. The only female on her firefighting team, she is her captain father’s one weakness. Bitter rivals come to a head when her sister (Erin Karpluk) blames Kristin for the death of their father following a house fire. Put on administrative leave from work, Kristin feels the need to prove her mettle all over again. This leads her to an elite, all-male team of smoke jumpers; the team of fire personal that are called in the most dangerous situations.  Rigorous training and snide comments that she is being given a break because of her gender lends Kristin more determination to succeed – to prove that she isn’t the failure her family and former co-workers think.

One of the films that was bestowed with the Dove “family approved” seal, Smoke Jumper (also known as Trial by Fire) is an impressive scripted story. It takes realistic facts (out of the four-hundred smoke jumper’s only 27 of which are women) and turns it into a clever, pulse-pounding piece of adrenaline. Amidst the claims that Kristin is being given breaks, as a way of creating better conflict, I suspect that some of the movie is over dramatized. With that out of the way, things start off with a natural disaster, immediately catching viewers up in the plight of the firemen as they attempt to battle back against a forest fire. From there, everything seems to continue on without lagging. It’s part character piece and part suspense – one that is appropriate for younger viewers.

Brooke Burns is actually a decent actress who pulls off a creditable leading character. She’s a tough as nails firefighter and adrenaline junkie seemingly unafraid of anything. It’s her family conflicts that she is unprepared to deal with. The dynamics there are played realistically; emotions may be driven by angst yet they seem anything by “faking” the emotions. Then as supporting characters there is Kristin’s brother-in-law whose relationship with her is quite fun; supportive when no one else offered encouragement. Also thrown into the mix are the flirtations between a smoke jumper, Ray and Kristin whom she proves wrong. These scenes are nicely done, used for some “fill in” and breaking from the tension for light-hearted moments.

Considering the exciting climax and continual pacing of “action” throughout, the ending is more lackluster than it should have been. It forgets to inform on the injuries of some team members, and doesn’t tie everything up that it should. Regardless, what it does leave open for interpretation wasn’t where the story centered so it is easily forgiven. The production of the movie is impressive including the fires; the climax backdrop in the finale ten minutes does look “put on,” or fake if you will but the integrity of the movie is good. It honors family and upholds courage – even with a character that is something of a feminist tossed in. Keeping up some good pacing, a seasoned, talented cast brings everything together to formulate an interesting film that is worth looking into. And most of all, it opens a new awareness of the courage and appreciation we should hold for these elite firemen.

(Rated PG: There are one or two minor uses of profanity. Some tense moments involve fires and dangerous situations; a car nearly goes over the edge of a cliff and another man is engulfed in flames. Aside from some flirting, there is nothing sexual.)
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Rissi
18 Comments

18 comments:

  1. Looking through your review index, I noticed that the review for Downton Abbey: Journey to the Highlands lead to a different review.

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    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! I've now corrected that mistake - at the time, I was probably rushing through updating links and that is what happens when one is careless. :)

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  2. Being somewhat fanatical about the fire-fighting career, I was so stoaked when I found this movie a few years back and was instantly captivated by the smoke jumpers. Even though it left me very intrigued by that career line, I was slightly disappointed in the movie overall. Like you said...the ending was kinda weak for such an "intense" style film. There could have been SO much more!! But the concept was still a great one..or rather, the concept of a movie about the smoke jumpers was great...the girl-who-wants-to-prove-herself-to-men story line is, on the other hand, nothing new. I'd own this movie if I didn't have to pay over $10! I wish they'd make more "fire" movies!! :)

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    1. You summed this one up wonderfully, Kellie. It's got a unique storyline by centering on the career of a smoke jumper, is cliché in its "feminist" themes and then totally slacks off in its ending.

      For a mystery and a low-budget movie, it was really good. The acting wasn't bad and the special effects held their own. Glad you enjoyed it also, Kellie. :)

      Have you checked on Amazon for this one? That's where I got my copy - I think it was less than ten dollars, however I probably got it used from a seller.

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    2. I'll have to check. Hey, speaking of Amazon, did you see that S2 of Call the Midwife is out? Excited about that! I think I'll wait for your review (hopefully you'll do one??) before purchasing, though. :)

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    3. I did see that Call the Midwife is coming out! I have it all pre-ordered and yes, am anxiously awaiting my copy so that I can review it. :) It promises to be as good as the last series. Or that's my expectaion.

      I'll look forward to getting your opinion when you see it, Kellie!!!

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  3. Don't think I've heard of this one, but it sounds interesting. Thanks for your review, Rissi!

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    1. It's quite good, Rosie! Hope you can see it sometime if you like movies with a bit of edge to them - this one isn't a 'Bourne' movie at all, but it has some breath-catching moments. :)

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  4. this looks interesting thanks for sharing! :)

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    1. Hey, Shayla! Thanks for stopping by. :)

      This is interesting. The plot isn't bad and the cast is good and works well together.

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  5. Now here's a different movie :-) It sounds interesting. Thanks for your review!

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    1. It was, Gwendolyn. It's a good kind of "different" though. :)

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  6. I have this movie on my "to-watch" list :) It looks good!

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    1. It was, Rachel! It's one of those movies that one doesn't expect anything from and is then surprised when it turns out to be good. :)

      Enjoy!

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  7. Wow! Super I love this post!
    You have very nice and lovely blog, if you want we can follow each other, if yes let me know! I want it so so much. Greetings from Moscow and nice day!
    http://afinaskaterblogspotcom.blogspot.ru/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I appreciate you stopping by and reading. :)

      If you'd like to follow along, you'd be most welcome and I'd certainly follow back via BlogLovin'.

      Have a wonderful day! :)

      Delete
  8. I remember this movie! It's been a while since I've seen it, but I know I did enjoy it. Although I will agree that that the ending didn't seem to flow as well as the rest of the story. I seem to recall thinking that it ended kind of lackluster, just like you said. Yet the action was handled really well, and definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. And I loved her brother in law! He was a good guy. :)

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    1. It was really good, Kara. Surprised me how much. I've seen Brooke in several made-for-TV films and always like her characters - this was no different. Enjoyed the edge-of-you-seat excitement as well as her relationship with her brother-in-law. It was fun and his support was a welcome change in the movie considering how her sister treated her.

      Glad you liked it also! :)

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