March 19, 2013 18 Comments

Unique scripts are hard to come by. This is one of those unknown movies, but it has good things.

Smoke Jumper (2008) Film Review

Following in her father’s footsteps, Kristin Scott (Brooke Burns), she’s a source of pride to him. They share a bond that her mother and sister never understand. She’s also the only female on her firefighting team, and her father’s one weakness. Bitter rivals come to a head when her sister (Erin Karpluk) blames Kristin for the death of their father in the aftermath of a house fire. Put on administrative leave, Kristin must prove her mettle all over again. This leads her to an elite, all-male team of smoke jumpers.

Rigorous training and snide comments gives Kristin all the more determination to succeed. All to prove that she isn’t the failure her family and former co-workers think.

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‘SMOKE JUMPER’ (2008). A woman leaves her fire station after a tragedy and tries to prove herself as a member of an elite smoke jumper team. Text © Rissi JC

One of the films that get the Dove “family approved” seal, Smoke Jumper (also known as Trial by Fire) is an impressive story. It takes realistic facts (out of the four-hundred smoke jumper’s only 27 of them are women) and turns it into a clever, pulse-pounding piece of adrenaline. Amidst the claims that Kristin is given a break, as a way to create 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 good actress who pulls off this leading character. She’s a tough as nails adrenaline junkie. It’s her family conflicts that she cannot deal with. The dynamics there play out realistically. Then as supporting characters there is Kristin’s brother-in-law whose relationship with her is quite fun; supportive when no one else offers encouragement. Also in the mix are the flirtations between a smoke jumper, Ray, and Kristin whom she proves wrong. These scenes are really nice; they are a kind of “fill in” and act as a break from the tension.

Considering the exciting climax and continual pacing of “action” throughout, the ending is lackluster. It forgets to inform on the injuries of some team members, and doesn’t tie everything up. Regardless, what it does leave open for interpretation isn’t where the story center is so it’s easily forgiven. The production 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. 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.

Content: 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 flames engulf a man. Aside from some flirting, there is nothing sexual. The film is PG.

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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  • Miss Elizabeth Bennet March 19, 2013 at 7:12 PM

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

    • Rissi March 19, 2013 at 7:18 PM

      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. :)

  • Kellie March 19, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    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!! :)

    • Rissi March 19, 2013 at 8:11 PM

      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.

    • Kellie March 19, 2013 at 9:35 PM

      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. :)

    • Rissi March 20, 2013 at 12:03 AM

      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!!!

  • Rosie March 19, 2013 at 9:13 PM

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

    • Rissi March 20, 2013 at 12:01 AM

      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. :)

  • shayla. March 19, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    this looks interesting thanks for sharing! :)

    • Rissi March 20, 2013 at 12:00 AM

      Hey, Shayla! Thanks for stopping by. :)

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

  • Gwendolyn Gage March 19, 2013 at 10:08 PM

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

    • Rissi March 19, 2013 at 11:59 PM

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

  • Rachel March 20, 2013 at 12:37 AM

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

    • Rissi March 20, 2013 at 2:17 AM

      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. :)


  • AfinaSkater March 20, 2013 at 4:21 AM

    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!

    • Rissi March 20, 2013 at 7:24 PM

      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! :)

  • Kara March 22, 2013 at 7:03 AM

    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. :)

    • Rissi March 22, 2013 at 4:30 PM

      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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