Sometimes when I write about a sequel, I feel like Old Rose (from Titanic) and want to start out by saying, "It was so many years ago..." and in this case, "It was nearly thirty years in the making..."
In my opinion, it could have been another thirty years before this sequel was made and I didn't know there was a sequel. I came across it by accident while working on something else. And yes, it was an accident that I came across this non-laughable mess.
Arson investigator Sean McCaffrey (Joe Anderson) is called to do what he does and in the midst of looking through an apartment fire, learns that there's a charred woman's body in the center of a king-sized bed. This intrigues him since he knows that no one sleeps specifically in the center of a bed.
Murder. That's what he calls it.
So, while he's outside interviewing the victim's boyfriend, Dylan (Patrick Walshe McBride) he traps him in his own lie and has him arrested.
While I don't know how much a firefighter makes per year, Sean goes to his very large loft in a not so good part of Chicago where he's frightened by a no named dog (Zuzu Ion) then catches the fire story on the news.
The next day, the rogue investigator is told by Captain White (Alastair Mackenzie) that he's being assigned a partner, Maggie Rening (Alisha Bailey) and he's just livid. But he finds out that the orders came from his uncle Brian (William Baldwin) who's now Deputy District Chief of the Chicago Office of Fire Investigation. Both he and Sean have been at odds ever since the death of Sean's father "Bull" and he still wears the jacket.
On Halloween, five trick or treaters are killed outside a townhouse when one of them reaches to open the door and of course the fire itself was a backdraft.
Sean becomes obsessed with the investigation and investigates it further at his loft later on. After two tries, he figures out the cause.
A day or so later, he goes back to the townhouse to investigate more, and Maggie shows up out of the blue and confronts her with her past regarding a fire in which she was praised as a hero.
While still obsessed with this fire, the two are called out to another fire a few days later and Sean chases an arsonist who tells him that he turned down a lot of money for the Halloween (or Lincoln Park) fire.
He then goes to see imprisoned Ronald Bartel (Donald Sutherland) who taunts him with bits of information about the Lincoln Park fire. Later Bartel tells Sean that the two are kindred spirits, due to the fact that they both love fire.
By this time, I had no idea what was going on, since the couple who owned the townhouse had a small company in which they had a government contract, and the business was about to go bankrupt following a recent fire at their warehouse.
Following the meeting with Bartel, Sean and Maggie are trapped in a booby-trapped building and he falls into a dumpster, where he and Brian kind of make amends.
Sean sleeps with Jenny (Jessamine-Bliss Bell) who becomes a target the night they slept together (the same type of setup as the first fire in the movie) and then he's suspended after his loft explodes.
After seeing Bartel again, Sean confesses to setting his stepfather's house on fire when he was ten and the thrill of it, but then Bartel tells him that terrorists are involved and by now, I was really disinterested.
The special effects though are good and one of the reasons why I couldn't get into this movie, is half the time Anderson mumbles his lines (as do some others) and I didn't want to keep going back to find out what was being said.
It's just a mess (not even in a campy way) and after nearly thirty years, the writer could have at least given a little bit of the backstory to kind of bring the audience up to date and should have stuck with the Lincoln Park storyline, instead of going all over the place.
Oh, and since the movie takes place in November, I didn't see anyone wearing a winter coat, because, at that time of year, it's kind of cold around Lake Michigan.