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Fire Birds (1990) - Blu-ray Review

3 beers“Cop a chill.  We are outta here!”

Fire Birds, originally released in 1990, is the movie in which Tommy Lee Jones perfects being Tommy Lee Jones, the persona, and trains a motley crew of pilots in America’s war against drugs.  Fire Birds is also the movie where Nicolas Cage as a bubble-gum chewing hotshot Apache helicopter pilot has to overcome an unexpected eye dominance disability by wearing panties on his head and Sean Young, his former girlfriend, has to put up with his chauvinistic attitudes as the apple of his one good eye and a peer pilot in the skies. 

"this flick is probably best suited for Nicolas Cage fans only or anyone else that really wants to see Sean Young take out a stealth bomber with a missile launcher."

And, all the while, Phil Collins performs “Do You Remember” trying to make the movie memorable.  Unfortunately, Disney’s answer to Top Gun is a big ol’ mess of goofy antics, cheesy lines, and weak fighting sequences. 

Fire Birds is not a comedy but, damn, it comes pretty close thanks to the wacky performance of Cage.  He plays Jake Preston, a US Army AH-1 Cobra pilot assigned to wipe out a mercenary named Stoller (Bert Rhine), who flies a Scorpion helicopter, and destroy the cartel he protects.  South America doesn’t know what’s headed its way: masters of air to air combat. {googleads}

With Jones providing the gravitas all by his lonesome, the movie smacks of unstable desperation.  Watching Cage kick the air after a shouting match with Young is pretty comical.  Couple that next to the high production costs and you have a movie that doesn’t know what it wants to be; it has no real identity.  And that’s how the copycat-itus sits in.

Fire Birds (1990) - Blu-ray Review

That doesn’t make the movie a total waste.  As there ARE a handful of interesting (and fun) scenes – namely Cage bottle-feeding a baby while arguing with Jones in a grocery store – it’s sad to discover that this 86-minute movie has nowhere stimulating to go.  Cage as a Rico Suave-type is quite hilarious.  But he has no real chemistry with anyone else.  It is almost as if he’s in a totally different movie.    

With a limp soundtrack from David Newman and really cheesy lines of innuendo between Cage and Young, the movie can be downright hilarious in an unintentional manner.  Because Cage waffles between busy being bored to hyper insane throughout the movie, his leading man persona gets quite a workout as he seeks out and confronts the forces of evil and gets to kill them deader than Hell. 

Welcome to President Bush’s wild and wacky war against drugs! 

Fire Birds is now on blu-ray thanks to Kino Lorber.  With a couple of solid scenes of air to air combat via helicopter, this flick is probably best suited for Nicolas Cage fans only or anyone else that really wants to see Sean Young take out a stealth bomber with a missile launcher.


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Fire Birds (1990) - Blu-ray Review

 MPAA Rating: PG-13.
85 mins
: David Green
Nick Thiel and Paul F. Edwards
Nicolas Cage, Tommy Lee Jones, Sean Young
: Action | Adventure
The best just got better.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Time to throw the dog a bone, Breaker."
Theatrical Distributor:

Official Site:
Release Date:

DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
July 10, 2018
Synopsis: When an international enemy turns to high-tech weaponry, the U.S. Army enlists the aid of the Apaches – America's elite airborne task force specially trained for aerial assault! Flying the world's most advanced attack helicopters, these hot-shot Fire Birds battle an evasive foe – hovering, diving and dodging death on dangerous secret missions inside hostile territory.


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Fire Birds (1990) - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- July 10, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English
English: Dolby Digital 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Kino Lorber Studio Classics presents Fire Birds on 1080p with a sometimes fuzzy, sometimes washed out HD transfer.  While not perfect, the presentation is definitely the best looking this film has ever looked at home. The best just got better indeed. With an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, this release is a win-win for fans.  Thanks to higher contrasts and sharper colors, the black levels are solid and details in the clothing are pretty fantastic.  All in all, this is a great HD presentation of this flick.



  • Provided by the film’s director David Green, this commentary is fun and informative, filled with lots of information about the making of the movie.

Special Features:

A trailer for the film and other trailers for Kino Lorber releases are attached.

  • Original Theatrical Trailer


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Fire Birds (1990) - Blu-ray Review