The Towering Inferno Movie Review

Movie Review by Anthony Leong © Copyright 1997

Slow pacing, lack of any truly emotionally-charged scenes, and bad acting ruin this Irwin Allen disaster epic. An electrical fire starts on the 81st floor of the world's tallest office building as a result of some corners being cut during its construction. By the time everyone has had a chance to point fingers at one another (which is a very long time, given the pacing), the fire has consumed the entire building, trapping an inaugural party on the top floor (and the audience has fallen asleep). Caught in this disaster of Dante-esque proportions are the building's architect (salad-dressing man Paul Newman), the building's owner, the no-good-son-in-law of the building owner who put in wiring not up to specs (Richard Chamberlain at his cheesiest), a security guard (the Juice!), a sweet-talking con-man with a heart of gold (Fred Astaire), and a couple of annoying kids.

Though there is a heavy-handed message about how skyscrapers are a firetrap and a pat on the back for firefighters everywhere, this movie lacks the emotional impact or profound revelation of "The Poseidon Adventure". If you have three hours to waste, watch this movie. But if you want to get into something right away, with some great subtext, thrills, and special effects (for the 70s), then you can't beat "The Poseidon Adventure".

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