Ablaze is a 2002 direct-to-DVD action film with a big cast including actors Ice-T, Tom Arnold and Michael Dudikoff. Unlike most firefighter films (eg. Backdraft, Ladder 49 and The Towering Inferno, which were all released in theaters and were big hits) Ablaze is so far the only firefighter film that was made by a major Hollywood studio to be released straight to DVD. As of right now, the film doesn't hold any critic score or consensus on Rotten Tomatoes. However, the audience score on Rotten Tomatoes is 40%.
An oil refinery blows up causing a firestorm that threatens a big city along with the local hospital and the occupants inside.
Why It Sucks
- The story is extremely weak.
- The film disputes on how the massive fire really started.
- There are a number of continuity errors (probably the most memorable is when the fire trucks respond to fires, they magically change from older brands that are now defunct and are no longer making fire trucks to present day brands that are still in service and are still making fire trucks.)
- Numerous major plotholes (eg. bribery, talking about fishing, etc.)
- On the back of the DVD, it states that the city is being held hostage by an arsonist. Well, there's an arsonist, but he doesn't take the city hostage. He dies after he sets off his incendiary device that's strapped on his body and he doesn't jump into the lake behind him.
- There is stock footage from the beloved 1970s TV series Emergency!, and films like 1993's Striking Distance with Bruce Willis as well as the 1979 disaster film City On Fire with Henry Fonda and Ava Gardner.
- The characters are lame, boring and forgettable.
- The name of the fire department isn't given, but it's assuming that it's a fire department in Southern California. However, after the end credits, there is a statement that reads that the film was shot in Los Angeles.
- The firefighters don't wear their masks for most of the film.
- Tom Arnold plays a clichéd power hungry villain who isn't really super hateful and is just an embarrassment for a villain.
- The film is slow paced at certain points.
- The gear changes from older out-of-date versions (eg. 3/4 hip boots) to present day bunker jackets, pants and boots and more modern helmets.
- Boring version of the hit film Backdraft, which was miles better than this film.
- The fire effects are pretty good and look all practical.
- The director's commentary on the DVD is pretty interesting.
- The suspenseful and heroic sounding music is pretty adrenaline pumping, especially during the opening scenes.
- A lot of interesting firefighting action.
- The fire trucks look nice.
- The film has a possible potential of being an exciting adrenaline pumping thrill fest.