Joe and Lisa are the moon-struck lovers who must be together at all costs.
Fire with Fire is a film about two teenagers who fall in love at first sight and buck all kinds of odds to maintain their relationship. Joe Fisk (Craig Scheffer) is a relatively new arrival at an honor prison camp for youthful offenders. His parents were divorced, and he did not get along with his mom’s new boyfriend. When they announced their plans to marry, Joe took the boyfriend’s car and crashed it into a plate glass window. As a result he was sentenced to a year in reform school. Lisa (Virginia Madsen) is a top student at a nearby convent school. But her parents also neglect her, leaving her education and upbringing primarily to the nuns who run the school. Early in the film, we find out that her parents have just enrolled her in a Swiss finishing school after her graduation from the convent school, again denying her the family life that she craves. Lisa is a talented photographer, and as the film opens, we see her trekking into the woods nearby the convent to stage a self-run photo shoot of herself posing as Ophelia floating in the water. Meanwhile Joe has been selected by the guards at the honor camp to be the “fox” in a manhunt exercise between the two platoons of inmates at the camp. Joe’s best friend at the camp, Mapmaker (Jeffrey Jay Cohen), has slipped him a map with a special shortcut to avoid the hunters, and while following the map, Joe stumbles across Lisa in her Ophelia pose. Although they only make eye contact for a brief moment, something special between them happens in that instant, and Joe and Lisa become obsessed with trying to meet each other.
Lisa arranges for the convent school to sponsor a dance for the honor camp boys.
Both Joe and Lisa are natural leaders in their environments, and this is quickly noticed by the authority figures at the camp and at the school. The head guard, Boss (Joe Polito), is suspicious and jealous of Joe for his athletic skills and influence that he has over the other inmates. When Joe is the only one willing to intervene and help another camp inmate who has just learned that his father has been murdered, Boss makes a point of pointing his rifle in Joe’s face and telling him “Don’t try to do my job.” At the convent school, Lisa is told by the Mother Superior (Kate Reid) not to worry about going to Europe instead of an American university (“You’ll actually see more of your parents in Europe”) and admonished to use her leadership abilities to help some of the other girls who are not adjusting well to the discipline and academic rigors of the school. But Lisa now has another agenda. When the students are asked what kind of special project they would like to work on to help out the less fortunate, she uses her influence to persuade everyone that they should do a project to help out the local community. Her idea: sponsor a dance and invite the inmates at the honors camp. Of course, she figures that this is an opportunity to actually meet the boy she saw for an instant in the woods.
Joe is locked up in solitary after being discovered in a tryst with Lisa.
Joe and Lisa meet at the dance, and discovering that they are truly kindred souls, begin a courtship that starts on the dance floor, and inevitably leads to each of them taking incredible risks to maintain the relationship. But their love is true, and they figure that the risks are justified because for the first time in their lives, they are truly happy when they can be together. However, they are eventually discovered and caught by Boss during a late night meeting at a crypt in a nearby graveyard. It looks as though everything is over, as Joe faces sentencing in the state penitentiary for leaving the honor camp, and Lisa is about to be sent back to her parents. Luckily, their true love becomes a cause for both Joe’s friend Mapmaker and Lisa’s girlfriends at the convent school, and with their assistance both are able to escape even with the hot pursuit of the authorities. Things are not settled though, and Boss and the sheriff’s department track them down to a final confrontation where Joe and Lisa must fight Fire with Fire.
Joe helps Lisa escape from the convent school.
Fire with Fire has several things going for it as a film. First it presents an intriguing love story about two unlikely lovers who risk everything to be together, it has a fair amount of action and suspense as the odds increase each time Joe and Lisa try to meet, and it presents an oblique commentary on how devastating estrangement from their families can be for today’s youth. Both Craig Scheffer and Virginia Madsen present engaging portrayals of their characters, and make you believe in them and their love. Of course the ultimate irony here is that given other circumstances, society would applaud this kind of romantic relationship, rather than try to end it by force of law.
Joe and the Boss face off in a final confrontation.
The dance is starting, but who will break the ice?
There are lots of good chucks shots throughout this film, and you see Joe wear black high tops during most of the film. His buddy Mapmaker and most of the other guys wear chucks. There are many action sequences of Joe running around in them, but the best chucks scene in this film has to be the dance scene at the convent. At the dance many of the guys are wearing them (with several colors represented) while having a good time dancing and fooling around. It’s the least serious part of the film but one of the most enjoyable. And it’s cool to see a film where you get the message “great lovers wear chucks”.
Chucks are well represented on the dance floor.
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