A well produced big budget film from Universal and director Andrew V. McLaglen, Hellfighters is a star-driven vehicle for Wayne and co-star Hutton, and the film resembles some nail-biting disaster films that came decades later like Deepwater Horizon.
A crackerjack team of firefighters who specialize in out-of-control oil well infernos meets their match in a war-torn South American locale where three separate fires burn at once.
Chance Buckman (John Wayne) and Greg Parker (Jim Hutton) are two of the best firefighters around, and they specialize in raging infernos at oil refineries. They get called to stop fires all over the world, and while Chance is the best, Greg is certainly his right hand man. When Chance is injured on a job, his daughter Tish (Katherine Ross) steps into the picture, and that’s when Greg takes notice of her, and within just a few days they get married without telling Chance about it. When Chance finds out, he isn’t overjoyed at first, but he couldn’t ask for a better son-in-law than Greg, and they bury the hatchet. But Tish is no pushover and insists on traveling to every emergency call her father and husband are called to, which makes things very complicated for them, and when they’re called to a war-torn South American country where gorilla fighters have sabotaged an oil field, all of their lives are potentially on the line with assassins trying to kill the firefighters before they can stop the out-of-control conditions.
A well produced big budget film from Universal and director Andrew V. McLaglen, Hellfighters is a star-driven vehicle for Wayne and co-star Hutton, and the film resembles some nail-biting disaster films that came decades later like Deepwater Horizon. Wayne basically coasts through his role with his swagger, and Hutton provides stalwart support. The movie features some impressive infernos and the meticulous process firefighters must go through to stop oil fires, and was based on the life of firefighter “Red” Adair. It’s not a spectacular film, but it’s more than adequate and has aged fairly well.
Mill Creek has just released a Blu-ray edition of Hellfighters. No special features are included on the disc, but the transfer looks good on high definition.