Just to note, before we even get into talking about the film, that the title we have here is what it says on the DVD copy I have. There are however, about four other titles for the film, and we all know that a film which has been re-released under many titles is always going to be a goodun. Ever wondered how they put out oil fires? I have once or twice, not enough to actually, you know, type ‘how do they put out oil fires’ into google (other search engines are available, but, let’s be honest, they are not as good), but enough to jump at the chance to watch a whole ninety minute movie all about putting out oil fires. The big evil oil company has basically discovered that the longer an oil fire rages in Abu Lambeth, a place with such a ridiculous name one can only assume it was set ablaze by its embarrassed inhabitants, the higher their stock prices soar. This is sort of explained at the start of the film but the soundtrack is so muddy and the editing so all over the place that I am not entirely sure why burning oil somehow equates to better share prices. Then slightly wonky story lines are actually the least silly thing about this movie. Joining in the mix is a brilliant romance, hilarious jokes about smoking on a burning oil field, a laboured reference to salamanders legendary ability to withstand flames, amazing dubbing, an outstanding bar fight and the best mano e mano fight (including kick in the balls as a finisher) I have seen in ages, and finally, the crème de la crème, loads, and loads, and loads, of shots of oil fires. If I was prone to exaggeration I would say about 98% of the film is just shots of fires burning. The reality, without exaggeration, is that it is at least 87%, and that is just the close ups, the long shots that show lots of oil fires at once take it up to about 93% of total film time being oil fires. The other 7% is bar fights and helicopters taking off. And a safari scene. All in all this film has an entertainment value that is through the roof, it’s pretty much awful enough to be funny, but weirdly you do rather end up rooting for the guys putting out the fires towards the end. Oh I forgot to mention, look out for the best phone conversation you’ll ever see committed to screen.
Oil : The Billion Dollar Fire