SBD/9/Sports Industrialists


          "Firestorm," the Twentieth Century Fox release starring
     HOWIE LONG in his first leading role, opens nationally
     today.  The film has generally received poor reviews and
     reaction to Long's performance is decidedly mixed.
          THE GOOD: In Boston, Jay Carr writes Long "has as good
     a chance as anybody to step into" the post-Schwarzenegger
     and Stallone action gap.  Long is "in great shape, never
     lets a lot of acting get in the way, and projects a cartoony
     nice-guy quality.  In short, a highly likable and salable
     package" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/9).  In Dallas, Jane Sumner writes
     that Long "won't win any acting awards, but the affable hunk
     is appealing -- like an old fashioned serial hero" (DALLAS
     MORNING NEWS, 1/9).  In Hollywood, David Hunter writes Long
     "deserves more" than "Firestorm," as he is "in command" but
     there is no story "to ignite his charisma" (HOLLYWOOD
     REPORTER, 1/9).  In L.A., Kevin Thomas calls Long "engaging"
     (L.A. TIMES, 1/9).  In Providence, Michael Janusonis writes
     "[w]ith better material Long could fulfill the destiny that
     20th Century Fox has mapped out for him as America's next
     action hero, a replacement" for the "aging" Schwarzenegger
     and Stallone (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL BULLETIN, 1/9).
          THE MIXED: USA TODAY's Susan Wiloszczyna writes Long is
     "being honed as a good-guy leading man. ... Now if he ever
     developed a solid screen persona, he might really be
     something" (USA TODAY, 1/9).  Header over TAMPA TRIBUNE
     review: "Long Fits Role, But Acting Limited" (1/9).
          THE UGLY: In Hartford, Malcolm Johnson writes Long
     "delivers a deadly reading that cannot even be described as
     a performance. ... When Long opens his mouth, 'Firestorm'
     comes to a thudding halt" (HARTFORD COURANT, 1/9).  In N.Y.,
     Stephen Holden writes that while Long has the "steroid-
     buffed look of an action hero ... his expressionless face
     and monotone delivery make even [Schwarzenegger] at his most
     robotic seem like a hypersensitive crybaby" (N.Y. TIMES,
     1/9).  Also in N.Y., Michael Medved calls Long's performance
     "puerile," adding Long "muddies and muddles even those rare
     sequences that have begun to generate some cinematic
     momentum" (N.Y. POST, 1/9).  In Washington, Stephen Hunter
     writes Long is "amiable enough" but that he's "almost a
     complete zero as a screen presence" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/9). 
     In Minnesota, Jeff Strickler writes Long gives a "C-plus
     performance in a C-plus movie" (STAR TRIBUNE, 1/9).  
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