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Film / Fire Down Below

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After On Deadly Ground, there came Fire Down Below. However, it's far more mellow and less heavy-handed than that film.

In the peaceful Appalachian hills of eastern Kentucky, toxins are being dumped into abandoned mines, causing environmental havoc, but the locals, mindful of their jobs and the power of the mine owners, can do nothing. Environmental Protection Agency CID agent Jack Taggart (Steven Seagal) is sent to investigate, after a fellow agent is found dead, probably not by accident. The EPA has received an anonymous letter from the town of Jackson, Kentucky, and Taggart goes there undercover to continue his colleague's investigations. It turns out that the Hanner Coal Company, owned by Orin Hanner Sr. (Kris Kristofferson) is responsible for the dumpings, and that it doesn't like Taggart nosing around. Thus, it sends some of its goons to go and rough him up...

Includes cameos by country music performers Randy Travis, Mark Collie, Ed Bruce, Marty Stuart, and Travis Tritt, and country-rocker and member of The Band Levon Helm.

Not to be confused with the unrelated 1957 film of the same title.

This film provides examples of:

  • Animal Assassin: The bad guys try to kill Taggart with some snakes in his room. It doesn't work, and those same snakes get put into their truck with hilarious results.
  • Anti-Climax: There isn't really a big final action sequence. Something happens that proves the owner of the coal company is guilty, and Seagal goes to Las Vegas to shoot him in the leg with nary any opposition. Taggart then returns to Jackson to be with Sarah.
  • Ax-Crazy: Earl really needs help.
  • Big Badass Rig: The truck that gives Taggart more trouble than any other fight.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Earl sexually abused his sister Sarah and killed their father when the latter learned of it.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: The residents of Jackson avoid Sarah Kellogg, Taggart's love interest, because she's suspected of murdering her father. Three guesses as to whether she actually did, or whether it was some brute involved with Hanner Coal Company...
  • Green Aesop: The villains of the movie are illegally dumping toxic waste into an abandoned coal mine, causing environmental havoc and getting people sick.
  • Nasal Trauma: One of Hanner's thugs, due to being insolently opposed to Taggert, suffers some form of injury to his nose three times throughout the film.
  • Prison Rape: The movie ends with Taggart disabling the main bad guy with one shot instead of killing him because he wants the bad guy to meet the "new friend" who is going to share his cell in prison. Given Taggart's general description of the "new friend" in question, one can make a pretty good guess about what's in store for the villain once he arrives...
  • Shout-Out: The chase with the truck that gives Taggart the hardest time is heavily inspired by Duel and when the truck crashes over the edge is almost shot for shot the same as when the truck crashes in Duel. The chapter title? "Duelling Trucks".
  • Technicolor Science: Some barrels of toxic waste get shot and bright neon-green slime squirts out.