Inferno (1998) starring James Remar, Stephanie Niznik, Daniel von Bargen, Anthony Starke directed by Ian Barry Movie Review

Inferno (1998)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Stephanie Niznik and James Remar in Inferno (1998)

Hot in the Cty

A solar explosion causes a fireball to enter Earth's atmosphere leading to a rise in natural disasters as temperatures rapidly climb to dangerous levels. In L.A. various people become involved in the situation as Gen. Craig Maxwell (Daniel von Bargen) is put in charge of mobilizing the army to deal with any trouble whilst teacher Will Dezmond (Anthony Starke) not only has to deal with a member of his class acting all gangster he also gets put on standby with the national guard and has to deal with a superior who is gung ho. Meanwhile suspended doctor Coleman West (James Remar) finds himself coming to the rescue of those who are hurt including a young child going in to anaphylactic shock on the beach after being stung by a jelly fish and in need of an emergency tracheotomy.

On first look and "Inferno" appears to be just another stupid made for TV disaster movie where in this case we have a flaming ball of rock falling through the sky towards Earth and heating up the place in the process. It has some typical aspects such as nature acting strangely to the impending disaster with jelly fish swarming to the warm waters of a coastline where people are swimming leading to that incident with a young child. This even links in to the suspended doctor who having lost a patient on the operating table is a tortured soul but has that natural instinct to help others.

Stephanie Niznik in Inferno (1998)

The thing is that "Inferno" appears to be more ambitious than just wanting to be a disaster movie it wants to take a look at a town in chaos with people stripping the shelves of shops and anarchy when some groups deciding to take over residential blocks. But at the same time still delivering the disaster movie elements with some people ending up in danger whilst others act as heroes which means we have plenty of cliche elements and a lot of cliche dialogue.

But in being ambitious it gets messy because it introduces too many characters too quickly and then gets itself lost in subplots such as a truck driver trying to scare his ex who just happens to be the lifeguard who was dealing with the kid when the troubled doctor came in and in a really cheesy manner decided he needed to do an emergency tracheotomy with a pen knife. And there is more because we have gun fire, gang war fare, bank jobs and even romantic jealousy of all things. It is too much for a movie which comes in at just 90 minutes let alone one which is made for TV. As such whilst "Inferno" features some familiar names and faces none of them make any real impact when it comes to their characters although some will grab your attention because of their looks.

What this all boils down to is that "Inferno" is not what it seems and is much more than just another made for TV disaster movie. But in truth it is too ambitious for its own good and ends up not doing justice to the various subplots surrounding a city in chaos.