Film (1988; vt Hellfire UK). Manley. Directed by William J Murray. Written by Murray and David di Pietro (uncredited). Cast includes Stephen Caldwell, Sharon Mason, Jon Maurice, Kenneth McGregor, Julie Miller and Joseph White. 89 minutes. Colour.
In 1997 a revolutionary Power Source, the catalytic Element Hellfire, is a controversial issue. Terrorists destroy a Space Station in an attempt to stop the Hellfire project which, while it could generate pollution-free energy, also – as in the novels Fire Pattern (1984) by Bob Shaw and Torched (1986) by James Blackstone (John Brosnan) – tends to produce spontaneous human combustion. Private eye Corby McHale (McGregor) is hired by cool blonde Caitlin Foster (Miller) to investigate her murderous tycoon brother Olan Robert Foster (Caldwell), who controls Hellfire. Stereotyped hardboiled underworld events are foregrounded, while an understated but quite effective future vision serves as background. Director Murray is clumsy with actors and action scenes alike, and, while the sparkly combustion trick is quite impressive, the futuristic vehicles are unconvincing. [KN/DRL]
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