Story: A routine stop at a convenience store changes the life of firefighter Jeremy (Josh Duhamel) forever, when he witnesses two murders and is nearly killed himself. While he managed to escape, he now faces perhaps an even more dire situation, as he learns the man in charge of the murders is David Hagan (Vincent D’Onofrio), a white supremacist kingpin. Of course, Jeremy wants to help bring Hagan to justice, but he wields so much power and is prone to violence, so if he wants to stand up against Hagan, he needs witness protection. With the help of dogged detective Mike (Bruce Willis) and U.S. Marshal Talia (Rosario Dawson), he is able to hide out until the trial. But Hagan is determined to make sure he never testifies, no matter how far he has to go to silence the witness.
Entertainment Value: Fire with Fire is another of Bruce Willis’ direct to video cinematic universe entries, but I have to admit, this one is a little better than most of its peers. This movie has some decent, small scale action scenes, a colorful cast that is game for the material, and overall, provides some solid action thrills, all things considered. The narrative is one we’ve seen countless times before, witness protection gone haywire, but Fire with Fire throws enough offbeat supporting characters into the mix that it doesn’t feel as worn out. And I do mean that, as this movie has a lot of small, but entertaining roles that pop up at just the right moments. I don’t mind a well tread premise when the filmmakers can either freshen it up or distract with shiny touches, so while the parade of recognizable talent might seem like cheap heat, it works well enough here. While I had some fun here, I still wouldn’t gush over Fire with Fire, as it doesn’t rise above that basic entertainment level for me. So I was tuned in and interested, but not often really hooked in and honestly, I can’t see myself revisiting this down the road, so the replay value doesn’t have much, well value. Even so, Fire with Fire is quite solid for a Willisverse production and for fans of Willis or b movie action thrillers, it is worth a spin.
Of course, Fire with Fire is bound to draw in most of its viewers thanks to Bruce Willis, who has a small role here as a beleaguered law enforcement official. He doesn’t have a lot of screen time, but this is by no means a cameo and he is involved in the narrative. His performance is passable, he doesn’t do much, but he is fun to watch as always, so there’s that. Vincent D’Onofrio is quite good here as a racist kingpin and he takes it seriously, so it is a dark turn amid the crime thrills. He has a menace about him here, which of course he has shown his skill at many times, so having a strong villain really benefits Fire with Fire, to be sure. But to me, the show was stolen by Julian McMahon, as an over the top assassin that sports one heck of a fake mustache. McMahon is such a fun villain and I only wish he had a larger role in this one, as he is a true highlight. The cast also includes Rosario Dawson, Richard Schiff, Josh Duhamel, 50 Cent, Quinton Jackson, and Kevin Dunn.