Fire Down Below (1997 film)

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Fire Down Below is a 1997 action film directed by Félix Enríquez Alcalá. It stars Steven Seagal as an EPA agent who investigates a Kentucky mine and helps locals stand up for their rights. The film co-stars Marg Helgenberger, Kris Kristofferson, Harry Dean Stanton and Stephen Lang. It includes cameos by country music performers Randy Travis, Mark Collie, Ed Bruce, Marty Stuart and Travis Tritt, and country-rocker and member of The Band Levon Helm.[1]



In the peaceful Appalachian hills of eastern Kentucky, toxins are being dumped into abandoned mines, causing environmental havoc, but the locals, mindful of their jobs and the power of the mine owners, can do nothing. Environmental Protection Agency CID agent Jack Taggart (Steven Seagal) is sent to investigate, after a fellow agent is found dead, probably not by accident. The EPA has received an anonymous letter from the town of Jackson, Kentucky, and Taggart goes there undercover to continue his colleague's investigations.

It is discovered that Hanner Coal Company, owned by Orin Hanner Sr. (Kris Kristoffersson), is being paid to dump toxic waste into an abandoned coal mine shaft, so Jack is assigned to go to the small town of Jackson, where his cover is that of assistant and volunteer carpenter to a local church. He stays in a room in the church's basement, and begins his cover work by repairing the roof at a house where one of the children is sick because of the pollution. He attempts to question the family, but they don't have much to say. He has little better results elsewhere; even the man who tipped off the EPA is decidedly taciturn. While testing the water, Taggart wanders into a local marijuana field, and is accosted by the growers. After disarming them, he tells them that he has no interest in arresting them.

The men responsible for the other agent's death soon notice Taggart's presence. As a newcomer to the small local community, he is threatened by Hanner's son Orin, Jr. (Brad Hunt), the incompetent local tool of the company, the corrupt local Sheriff (Ed Bruce), and several thugs that work for them. The thugs in question start by leaving two rattlesnakes in his dwelling; Taggart responds by capturing the snakes alive and leaving them in the pickup that the thugs were driving, causing them to crash. Soon after, five of them attack him while he is buying supplies, and receive a severe beating as a result. Orin then orders one of his truck drivers to arrange an "accident" by running him off the road, but Taggart escapes alive while the driver is killed.

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