Smokejumpers are an elite squad of wildland firefighters. They are the first responders who parachute into forest flame-ups when firetrucks are miles away or unable to traverse the mountainous terrain. In Andy Fickman’s Playing With Fire, John Cena is the man in charge. Yes, WWE superstar bringing his dramatic credibility to this Nickelodeon movie feature. Truth be told, my kid dragged me to see Playing With Fire, and one of us clearly had a better time than the other.
“…Jake and the boys are in charge of the kids, but they prove to be a handful.”
John Cena is Jake “Supe” Carson, the superintendent of the Redding branch of the Smokejumpers. Our film opens with Carson’s crew saving a dozen cars trapped on a forest road surrounded by fire. His team includes Captain Mark (Keegan Michael Key), Rodrigo (John Leguizamo), and the silent Axe (Tyler Mane). Jake is all business. Following in the footsteps of his father, who died in a fire, Jake is intent on making his father proud and becoming the head director of the Smokejumpers. But being all business means you can’t have a personal life, like dating the only women within a hundred miles of their remote, Dr. Amy Hicks (Judy Greer).
There’s no rest for our crew as they are the only ones near a burning cabin. Jake drops in and rescues three young siblings: Brynn (Brianna Hildebrand), Will (Christian Convery), and Zoey (Finley Rose Slater). As a storm is coming in and their parents are in town for date night, Jake and the boys are in charge of the kids, but they prove to be a handful. Brynn begins by poking away at Jake’s disciplined, emotionless demeanor. Will is always looking for trouble, like mistaking a flare gun as a toy. Zoey is three-years-old and way too cute. She’s already renamed Jake’s menacing dog to Sparkle Pony.