BACKDRAFT 2 REVIEW
Starring: Joe Anderson, William Baldwin, & Donald Sutherland
Directed By: Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego
Runtime: 1 hour 41 minutes
In today’s ever expanding world of IP, a movie finds trouble getting the green light to be made unless it comes from some sort of existing property that movie goers are already aware of. Which explains why a sequel to 1991’s Backdraft was born in the first place. You’re familiar with the original and you might have even liked it enough to click play on a second chapter, that’s what filmmakers here are betting on at least with the direct to streaming release of Backdraft 2.
This is very much a sequel to the original. More so than I thought it would be.I assumed this would be a similar story about firefighters investigating arson that might have a loose connection or homage to the original, but overall, not be all that related to the first movie.This movie has characters from the 1991 version and continues their stories. Full disclosure, I wish I had watched the original before watching the sequel. I wasn’t lost by any means, but I definitely would have understood more had I actually watched the movie instead of just read an online summary.
As for how good Backdraft 2 is, well that depends on what else you watch in your spare time. It reminded me of a police procedural, similar to an NCIS/Law & Order/Chicago Fire type show. Those shows have a huge audience, but I don’t really ever watch them.So there’s definitely a market for this movie. A direct sequel to a beloved 90s film, AND it feels like a police whodunit, I would say absolutely, this movie is going to work for some people.
Our story follows Sean McCaffrey, son of Stephen McCaffrey (from the first movie), as he works as Chicago’s best arson investigator. A series of fires in the city are reminding officials of the damage done by Ronald Bartel.So it’s up to McCaffrey to question Bartel in prison and solve the case.All while still dealing with the inner turmoil surrounding his family. He has next to no relationship with his uncle, Brian (played by a returning William Baldwin). Sean knows everything instantly.Never struggles that much to figure out a crime scene, but this case has him stumped.
Backdraft 2 never really escapes its “not ready for primetime” feel. The story is good, but our actors don’t convey enough charisma to carry this as a movie. Perhaps a television miniseries would have been the better route here. But certain scenes really pop.There are a few good action sequences, scenes with the more veteran actors feel important, and there were more than a few surprises along the way. It’s an inconsistent, mixed bag of a movie. Some scenes really pop and you’re glad you’re watching it, others not so much. There’s a fairly big lull in the middle of the movie where the plot advances at a rapid pace. That said, I really had to know who did it in the end.Backdraft 2 makes for a satisfying enough movie, albeit an unnecessary one.
On a scale of "See It/Stream It/Skip It"- I would vote "Skip It" - Nothing here is essential, but there are definitely WORSE options out there to watch.
If you liked Backdraft, Ladder 49, or The Towering Inferno you might like Backdraft 2.
2 out of 5 stars for Backdraft 2 – available for rent or VOD on May 14th.