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  • To those of you who are firefighters who review this movie, don't you think we already understand that it isn't realistic?? It's called poetic license, and it's done all the time. I don't mean any disrespect to your profession and I greatly appreciate the expertise that it takes to do your job, but can't we just appreciate it for what it is, an entertaining movie??? I'm a nurse and a former scientist, but I don't bag all the movies where I see inconsistencies with reality, I just take it that the producers haven't had the years of education it takes to fully understand the job, and enjoy the film. Give the movie a break. If you take it for what it is, it's quite enjoyable.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I actually liked this movie. Not all of the actors were wonderful but it's a low budget film, I've seen worse. It's one of those overcoming-obstacles films where you root for the girl to show them what she's made of. The lead woman (Brook Burns) is pretty good, she's a genuine tough-girl without being fake or overdoing it and works out the sometimes lagging script to get the story done. I liked how the film seemed to make the most of their action sequences; with airplanes and skydivers, and their creative effects with the fires despite an obviously limited budget to make it more realistic. They used a low-key romance without going overboard into the mushy stuff, for once this wasn't merely an attempt to sell a film based on sex-appeal. It reminded me of GI Jane in that Kristen Scott (Burns) never gives up on her dream to be a smoke-jumper despite overwhelming obstacles and the disapproval of her friends and family. It's a good movie for those who like to be inspired by a female lead that is believable as a contender for a job such as a smoke-jumper. I would like to see more films like this in the future.
  • traceym-728 April 2009
    I am also a region 5 firefighter and all I can say about this movie is it is awful. Not only does it not represent what it takes to be a wildland firefighter but it also does makes the entire profession look like a macho fest with no rules, guidelines or knowledge. I wonder if this writer/director/crew did any research before doing this film. Rookie camp is 6-8 weeks, the physical requirements are not even the same as they are in real life. It takes much more years of experience to be a smokejumper and much more smarts than any of these actors portrayed. That simple information can be found on any smokejumper site. Truth-be-told I am embarrassed I even rented this film as a firefighter but I just wanted to see how realistic it was and I was right. If you watch this film please know that being a smokejumper takes much more work than this and being a wildland firefighter is a much more grueling profession that takes far more knowledge than these actors portrayed.
  • Trial By Fire is not a perfect movie, nor does it try to be. The story may be unrealistic with a fair number of plot holes, the script may have its weak spots, the pace may be lagging and some of the character development may be lacking. Flaws aside, I didn't think it was that bad. The film is shot quite well, the soundtrack and sound give some atmosphere and the stunts are bold and daring. I love the titular character as well, I just love how tough and brave she is, and the acting while not award-worthy is reasonable with Brooke Burns doing a good job in the lead role. Overall, not great but I didn't think it was that bad either. 6/10 Bethany Cox
  • kalstras9 December 2008
    As a Firefighter for Region 5 for five years (1985-1990), this film was of interest to me as I have known female smoke jumpers.

    After watching this film I saw only a few similarities to the reality of the job. 1. she was a female 2. they jump out of planes near fire inaccessible by foot. 3. there was fire

    Apart from that most of the film was total rubbish The job is tremendously hard and no skinny woman like that would have been given a second look no matter how many members of family had been in the forest service. No how no way.

    A smoke jumper would never EVER jump with winds that high, nor would an experienced firefighter try to run uphill from a fire, they ALL know it's pointless. And as for Brooke Burns climbing under a burning log well we were all crying with laughter as it was so unbelievably wrong.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    While the film trivializes jumping out of planes to combat fires, it's an interesting one with a heartwarming story to support it.

    Blamed for her father's death by fire, as he is about to retire, Kristin, his daughter and fire-lady decides to go for fire jumping. The film adequately shows the rigors involved what the applicants have to go through when applying for such a position.

    The problem is that the film becomes Hollywood-oriented when an emergency arises, and Kristin is immediately put to the test. This is Hollywood, what do you expect?

    Basically, the film is a good one as it shows the sibling rivalry between daughters of the deceased fire fighter and the fact that the daughter applied her knowledge learned during the "brief" learning period as well as what her father taught her. Naturally, there is sexism involved as the firemen in both jumpers and regular fire fighters resented a woman among them.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The opening starts with a forest fire and reporters. Brooke Burns (no pun intended) plays a fire fighter, whose dad is the captain. As always the reporters covering the job can't walk and chew gum at the same time. One passes out from smoke inhalation while another falls down and breaks his leg. Firemen get separated in the woods and can't contact each other because they don't have radios for Rawlings company #1 in Idaho.

    Dad is due to retire. He stayed a firefighter and extra year just for Kristin (Brooke) and goes to work his last day instead of staying home, invoking the wrath of the bad luck fire god. They get a call and him and Kristen enter a burning home to rescue a boy. Kristen saves the boy, but dad, who got hit by a falling beam, is still in the house! She attempts to go back into the home, but is prevented by fellow fire fighters who also don't have a back-up team. Kristen is blamed for her father's death by her fellow fire fighters and even her own sister. Mom, a 21st century version of June Cleaver, is supportive of her. So during her suspension she tries out for the "Smoke Jumpers" the SEALS 6 of fire fighters. She finds out she doesn't meet the weight requirement and must put on weight to join, apparently living in a world with no fast food chains. Kristin completes the smoke jumper boot camp and makes the team.

    The smoke jumpers enter the plane walking in slow motion with swagger music that makes them look like astronauts. Her sister and family decide to go camping in the woods, a group of seasoned smoke jumpers burn up in a blaze, Rawlings #1 is called to the scene and rookie smoke jumper Bambi Kristen is on the job.....and you know the rest. The acting was somewhere between an after school special and a bad soap opera. When the main problem becomes firemen having to rescue fireman then someone is not doing their job. It made my stomach hurt.
  • This is one of those B movies that you find yourself stuck into on a Sunday afternoon when you're hungover. It actually wasn't that horrible; lots of hunky firemen, moderately bad special effects, just the right amount of cheese and Brooke Burns (who I may have just developed a girl crush on.) She looks amazing here and isn't afraid to get dirty, obviously doing most of the training scenes herself -I do remember from her Baywatch days that she was a triathlete in real life, not that I watched Baywatch or anything.

    Brooke plays Kristin, a woman who joins the fire department to follow in her father's footsteps. When her Captain perishes in a fire Kristen is unfairly forced to take the blame and in the aftermath of that tragedy makes it her mission to become the first female ever to be accepted into the elite ranks of the Missoula Smokejumpers.

    We follow her through the grueling, four week training program, struggles with the other members of the team and watch her steely determination as she learns to jump out of planes, into the flames and save the day. 07.11
  • I am a pilot and believe airplanes were made to be flown and not jumped out of. That said, I salute those that are smokejumpers. I salute those that fight forest fires. As an American from Indiana, I never knew how severe such devastation could be until living in Salmon Arm, BC when in 1998 we were evacuated because of one. The first in Canadian history for mass evacuation.

    Since then there have been may fires that have caught national attention.

    So what if the plot was weak? So what if the woman had skinny legs? Sorry but I do not believe in that BS. If she can do the job, I'll root for her.

    Oh by the way, when I was in Vietnam, the best man for the job in many cases was someone that wasn't all brawn.

    And finally, having lived and traveled across British Columbia, it was great seeing the old places again.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Former Baywatch babe Brook Burns plays the role of Kristin Scoot, a woman seeking success in an apparently all-male world of firefighters, and, according to this flick, she does find success, again and again and again, only to meet criticism and scorn from her all-male co-workers, until she finds herself in a situation where they all feel overwhelmingly compelled to applaud her at the very end (of the flick).

    I can usually overlook a few technical errors, a few shabby bits of computer graphic imagery, a few story-line flaws, or a few shots of inept acting, and still enjoy a decent story line. Sadly, I must say that even the story line was a failure, as it completely failed to develop any of the characters enough to be understood, much less be sympathized with, and by no means empathized with.

    The very best thing about this flick is that actress Brooke Burns still displays her patently stunning smile. Of course, that is also one of the worst things about this flick, as she displays that smile in no fewer than a dozen moments where in real life, anyone's ability to smile more than a very weak smirk would likely mark him (or her) as a lunatic.

    Another thing done quite poorly in this film were the computer generated forest fires and flames. Clearly, filming without real flames is a lot safer for actors and actresses who are not certified safe enough to perform stunts, and it drops the cost of the overall production, but, to see a scene where our young heroine Kristin crawls on her belly beneath the blazing trunk of a fallen tree -- and then PAUSES -- without receiving third-degree burns to her back, the back of her head, her neck, legs, and arms, is just plain insidious, because of all the young heroine worshipers in the audience who might just try a similar-looking REAL stunt of their own.

    Nor did many of the computer-generated parachute drops appear to be very real, but at least those didn't look any less dangerous than they can be in real life.

    As for the story: I happen to have been trained in my youth as a forest-fire fighter, not a jumper, but in my state's forest-fire-fighting reserve. My job was mainly to cut fire lines and stay alive. I was also trained somewhat in the realm of search and rescue. In this flick's opening scenes, the heroine is portrayed as turning off her radio in order to listen for a missing person's shout, which is expected, but NEVER would you turn off your most valuable lifeline without first broadcasting your intention and your location, just in case for some reason you fail to get it turned back on, and NEVER EVER EVER would you attempt to actually perform such a rescue as our heroine without indeed turning it back on to alert everyone withing range of both your success in locating the victim and what you were about to do. In real life, our pretty heroine would have been fired the very moment she got back to camp, regardless of who her father might have happened to be; she would never have been allowed to be put into another unsafe situation, like the next firefighting scene which claims the heroine's father's life.

    But the very worst part of this flick is the way the heroine's father is portrayed on the day of his impending doom, being the very last day of his twenty-six year career in a small-city fire department, after having been given his retirement party, and after having been told not to report thereafter, out of a not-really-all-that-superstitious belief in bad luck to do so. Yet, there he is, on his very last day, not only singing and humming, but actually celebrating the alleged GOOD luck that on the very last day of his career, another call comes in. This, in my opinion, is VERY bad taste. I have never met a career fire fighter of any age who has ever reacted so brazenly insensitive as that. All real fire fighters I know acknowledge themselves as being nothing short of a very necessary evil in today's society. They realize that the very fact that anybody actually pays them for the job they do is because they combat the much greater evil of anybody losing life, limb, and/or property, if it can be prevented. They don't celebrate anything that might cause harm to anybody else. At most, they celebrate the opportunity to exercise their training, but they NEVER call it good luck. Ever.

    Again, in my youth, I was trained to be a firefighter, not just in forests, but my little cow town's volunteer department. Between the time I became old enough to enroll, and the day I left town for college, we had absolutely zero fires and nobody in need of being rescued by us. As a result of that, I was never actually paid so much as a penny in exchange for all the mandatory meetings, training and public-relations activities that took up so much of my otherwise free time, yet THAT is exactly what a real firefighter calls good luck.

    The firefighting lacked authenticity, the acting (directing) was mostly sophomoric and unconvincing, and the story was just barely above becoming absurd.

    If you're looking for an authentic movie about firefighting and search and rescue, or a realistic role model flick, this is NOT the movie you are looking for. It could have become a thrilling motion picture with a very powerful message about how to hurdle the frustrations of discrimination. I am afraid, however, that all it will become now, is an very unsafe role model story for pre-pubescent girls.

    It's greatest value lies in the entertainment value derived from its absurdity.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This made-for-TV exercise is typical of those that attempt to showcase the drama associated with being a firefighter, and more particularly, a female firefighter.

    Brooke Burns plays Kristen Scott, a firefighter who works with her father in the local firehouse. Her father dies while helping Kristen rescue a child from a burning house. Her co-workers blame her for her father's death, and refuse to accept her back in the firehouse.

    Kristen decides to try out for the Smoke Jumpers, a more demanding firefighting role. There are several subplots involving family members and other, mostly male, firefighters that serve to establish Kristen as a driven, competitive fighter who is determined to make it on her own as a smoke jumper.

    The rest of the film showcases Kristen helping one person after the other escape a fire, including her sister and her family. She becomes not only a smoke jumper, but a true heroine.

    This film is simply the video equivalent of a fairy tale. After the first 15 minutes, we know what's going to happen-Kristen triumphs against all odds and becomes the heroine of the day.

    At the risk of sounding chauvinist, I found Kristen's character to be abrasive, unnecessarily aggressive, smug, sarcastic, and cold, even toward her own family. Her character is necessarily competitive, being a female living in an overwhelmingly male world. However, she insisted upon making comments intended to ridicule and insult male colleagues and others.

    In my way of thinking, a person, male or female, has a much better chance of being accepted by actually being friendly and kind, rather than hostile or sarcastic.

    Hence,I found this movie full of stereotypes such as hostile males against a brash female and consequently disappointing. A good family type story could have been made better by having Kristen pursue success by winning people to her side in a cooperative, rather than a confrontational manner.
  • tflynn-719 September 2012
    Entertaining movie but one of the most predictable movies I've seen lately. The writers tried to throw in every known plot twist: Her sister just happening to be camping in the fire area, the little girl going to the bathroom, but her parents looking for her everywhere but the bathroom, the bathroom door being stuck, her just happening to be on a date with one of the instructor when the whole thing goes down, the whole situation of a rookie being taken on a fire jump, etc. Maybe I watch too much TV, but when I can predict the whole movie after watching 5 minutes of it, does not show much originality on the part of the writers.
  • Predictable plot but not bad: family drama in which two highly competitive sisters take different routes to their parents' attention. One is feminine and soft, the other a lean, mean, fighting machine (literally).

    All the family infighting, and the fighter daughter's struggles to earn the respect of her fellow firefighters, rang mostly true if not breaking any new ground, although I did not find that character's physiology or physicality particularly convincing even when she was supposedly staggering along under huge loads during training. Her trainer's romantic overtures were predictable but not overdone.

    Where the movie really fell apart was once the wildfire started. Not much passed the common sense smell test even if you know as little about the profession as I do. For our heroine to be the movie's biggest action hero required that a whole lot of characters with far greater expertise do incredibly stupid and unprofessional things to take themselves out of the running.

    It might be the fault of the script focusing on triteness or a director addicted to dramatic overkill instead of coaxing the human truths out of the actors, but basically this was a potentially good story that overshot too many marks.