Here’s another paste-up Jim Wynorski picture. This one not only blatantly steals footage from the 1979 disaster picture City on Fire, but also the plot. Everything from the pregnant woman in peril to the fat nurse to the little kid who starts the fire, just about all the subplots are here. There aren’t any mentally imbalanced oil refinery workers or boozed up anchorwomen though.
I don’t know about you, but it’s fucking funny to me to watch a movie that steals footage from another movie that’s more than 20 years old. Because so much time has past, the dated looking footage from City on Fire doesn’t match at all. City on Fire appeared on Mystery Science Theater, and I think it’s a shame that Ablaze never got the same treatment.
The thing is; for a while there, Ablaze is sorta watchable. The opening sequences are involving enough and the acting, while a bit stiff is effective. Then the movie just becomes City on Fire but with different actors and the flick quickly goes up in smoke.
The cast is strong enough to keep your attention. Amanda (Leviathan) Pays has the thankless role of the caring nurse, Michael (American Ninja) Dudikoff is good as one of the firemen, and Ice T has a small role as a cop. I also liked seeing Pat Harrington (Schneider from One Day at a Time) in there as an unsympathetic doctor too. The best acting comes from Tom Arnold and William (Johnny from The Karate Kid) Zabka as the bad guys. (You basically get the A to Z of villainy.)
Dudikoff gets the best line of the movie when he says “I’m going to stick my head up my ass and get in touch with my inner child!”