ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2020 – P – Playing with Fire (2019) Movie Review


Director: Andy Fickman

Writer: Dan Ewen, Matt Lieberman (Screenplay)

Starring: John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo, Tyler Mane, Brianna Hildebrand, Christian Convery

Plot: A crew of rugged firefighters meet their match when attempting to rescue three rambunctious kids.

Tagline – 0% contained

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Playing with Fire starts as we meet a group of smokejumpers Jake (Cena), Mark (Key), Rodrigo (Leguizamo) and Axe (Mane) that believe they are the elite in fighting fires with Jake following in his father’s footsteps demanding a perfectly run department.

When the four rescue three children Brynn (Hildebrand), Will (Convery) and Zoey (Slater) the four are left to look after the kids until a storm finishes, now they men will see them dealing with the most difficult challenge of their lives, children.

Thoughts on Playing with Fire

Characters – Jake is the commander of the station, he plays everything by the rulebook not stepping outside his comfort zone, he will do anything to make sure his unit is the best in the area, wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps, he is emotional closed and this is made him live the remote life not letting people in. Mark is the second in command that will do anything to help Jake keep the department running smoothly. Rodrigo is the chef that always misquotes famous people that is about to get the promotion that he isn’t ready for. Axe is the silent one of the group, always carrying around an axe, he will make us wait for his big moment to speak. Brynn, Will and Zoey are the three children the unit save, they are difficult to handle with them having their own quirks, they will help turn the opinions of Jake on life in a way he never knew.

PerformancesJohn Cena continues to shine in the comedic roles, while embracing the physical side of his appearance. Keegan-Michael Key and John Leguizamo bring the comedy to the film more often than not, with Key sometimes going to much with it, while Leguizamo gets stronger laughs. Tyler Mane often steals the scenes here too, with the silent comedy performance, the younger stars do some off like the handfuls they are meant to be playing through the film too.

StoryThe story here follows four smokejumpers that must care for three children after a rescue, which will see them needing to handle the challenge none of them are used to, children, which will bring them together more than before. This is a story that will come off on the simple side, with lots of over the top behaviour going on, the younger children’s behaviour is completely unrealistic, which will play into the comedy, but the story does have the heart to show us just how important doing the right thing will be for people.

ComedyThe comedy in the film is a right mix, with the created situations of wildly over the top behaviour not getting as much of a laugh as the calmer situations, which are a well played out creation, this does however play into the family friendly creation the film is going for.

SettingsMost of the film is set in the fire station, which will give the children different equipment to get into trouble playing with, while also giving the idea that they are safer then they could have been.

Scene of the Movie – The birthday.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The kids Will and Zoey do come off more difficult than they should.

Final Thoughts Playing With Fire is an entertaining comedy, burning with laughter from start to finish.

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