B Movie Challenge: Firehead

Hollyweird is a hard game to break into. For every one person who makes it big, there are tens of thousands who are doing everything they can to shoot through the roof (which is pricy to repair in a tiny studio apartment with a half bath for $2,500 a month, plus a pet fee). There has been a hubbub lately about “nepotism babies”  and my stance is if you follow in the footsteps of your celebrity parent who broke through that glass ceiling, dodging the sharp shards that will come your way, good luck, and Godspeed. For every Jamie Lee Curtis (daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh) and Melanie Griffith (daughter of Tippi Hedren), you get actors trying their best to come out of the shadows like Chris Lemmon, whose cinematic resume includes this 1991 cold war Scanners wannabee sci-fi auctioneer Firehead

Chris Lemmon, a fine actor who went on to be a highlight for the Hulk Hogan starring Thunder in Paradise franchise, acts, sounds, and even looks like his father (he recently played him in the Netflix movie Blonde during the Some Like It Hot segments). The main issue is we already have a “Jack Lemmon” type and we don’t need another one (oh how I miss him and Water Matthau hating on each other [teardrops]). The last name certainly sells on a marquee, thanks to Jack’s hard work in a decades-long career, but often filmmakers will exploit the last name of siblings or children to trick you into picking up the VHS box. Estevez, Swayze, Hanks, Stallone. These names certainly made people rent the movie, but what a disappointment it is when you get suckered this way (although I never get duped when Joe Estevez, Frank Stallone, Colin Hanks, and Don Swayze star in my genre cheapies)!

As for the plot of this little Russia vs. ‘murica (not a boxing movie with Frank Stallone), Chris Lemmon is a nerdy scientist who has to work with government agent Gretchen Becker to find a missing soviet experiment named “Firehead”, a telekinetic agent (like a mix of Dolph Lundgren and Arnold Swarzenneger with hunks of Charlie Sheen [son of Martin Sheen] for grimace) who defects to make peace with the world by blowing up everything in sight of his laser cannon eyes (don’t ask me). Along for the ride is marquee-selling actors Martin Landau helping the two to stop the evil secret society leader Christopher Plummer (paychecks are a great thing)! Action, lasers, affairs, and explosion are throughout, along with Lemmon’s cooky pratfalls throughout the entire mission, which makes for a fun time, but you do hope there is a dimension out there where Jack is in the driver’s seat along with his buddy Matthau battling the cold war (take my money).

Zapping across your lighting eyes at 88 minutes and directed by Peter Yuval (who previously directed such titles as Shooters and Time Burst: The Final Alliance), this film was produced by Action International Pictures who produced the 80s and 90s (great) shlock like Deadly Prey and Thrashin’ starry a young soon-to-be-oscar-nominated Josh Brolin (son of James Brolin). You can stream Firehead on Tubi and YouTube (the Rifftrax version is the best!) but you can find Firehead on some DVD science fiction collections along with the classic Space Mutiny. So pop in that 2003 third-generation DVD with the cheap photoshop art, eye socket heat some canned avar khinkali, and enjoy the science fiction thriller that leaps through the proverbial nepo-baby stratosphere!

About Ian Klink

As a filmmaker, writer, and artist, Ian Klink’s work includes the feature film Anybody’s Blues and short stories for Weren't Another Way to Be: Outlaw Fiction Inspired by Waylon Jennings, Negative Creep: A Nirvana-Inspired Anthology, A-Z of Horror: U is for Unexplained, The Creeps, Vampiress Carmilla, The Siren’s Call, and Chilling Tales For Dark Nights. Born and raised in Iowa, Klink lives with his family in Pennsylvania where he shares his talents as a teacher of multimedia studies.

View all posts by Ian Klink

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