Nick C. Goins Jr.
The Pissed Take - Firestarter
Updated: Nov 15, 2022
Release Date 13May2022
FIRESTARTER or NONSTARTER *AKA* If "your own thing" is worse than the original, don't do "your own thing".
FIRESTARTER (2022) is worse than accepting free handies from a crocodile. Sorry to start out so rough, but 'tis true.
This movie is the second feature length adaptation (1st was released in 1984, starring Drew Barrymore as "Charlie") of STEPHEN KING's novel of the same name published in Sept. 1980. There was a scifi channel miniseries in 2002, itself a continuation of the '84 movie, that is best forgotten.
All versions are about the child of two college students who participated in a clinical trial that, unbeknownst to them, is run by "THE SHOP" or formally DSI (The Department of Scientific Intelligence) who is running tests of its LOT 6 drug that kills or drives mad everyone but them. They survive manifesting fantastic powers such as telekinesis, telepathy, and mind control.
These powers come at an increasingly horrible physical cost, and finding out that they are not only going to be parents, but that their new infant can manifest the power of PYROKINESIS (mental command of fire) they decide to escape and go on the run.
This movie and the original have their good points and bad. Both are as dumb as a slow pony pulling pet rocks. The '84 film gets points for hewing closer mechanically to the King novel (but losing any intelligence, turning it's 1 hour 54 mins into a slog, and George C. Scott as "Cherokee" Vietnam vet RAINBIRD), and Charlie's assault on the compound at the end.
The 2022 release plays like a SCIFI/SYFY original where someone thought they could do a better job than a pretty straightforward, bestselling, award winning story by a writer that knew what he was doing. In some ways the emotional content missing from the '84 film is there, and with just over a 90 minute runtime, and the casting of native actor MICHAEL GREYEYES (completely wasted as the secondary antagonist, John Rainbird), are about the only bright spots in this disappointing wading pool of uninspired cinematic nonfeasance.
Everything in this movie is half-baked and kinda cheap, from movie of the week VFX, to dialogue and performances (some, not all. ZACK "CHIN-LY" EFRON as Andy, and SYDNEY LEMMON as Vicki are trying) so bad you think they paid in dollar store rubbers. I'm still wondering how the folks at Blumhouse thought that their high concept, low budget approach would work at all with Firestarter.
Welp, it don't work folks, and that's a shame.
SEE IT: If you watch everything KING or BLUMHOUSE, and that does it for you.
DON'T SEE IT: If you're over lazy and rushed cash-ins, and the thought of joining the liberation army of pangolin mercenaries massing outside of Yanping township, Taiwan is overpowering your good sense.