Deep in the hot and steamy Amazon jungle, activist Alyssa Rothman (Sandra Bullock) helps a brash photojournalist investigate the assassination of a famous environmentalist, at the risk of both their lives.


Director: Luis Llosa

Screenwriters: Margo Blue, Beverly Gray

Starring:  Sandra Bullock, Craig Sheffer, Juan Fernández, Judith Chapman, Reynaldo Arenas

Original release details: DTV (New Horizons), USA 1993, 87mins


One day out of curiosity, I put on a DVD which came as a promotional bundle - hence B movies.  The film was called 'Fire on the Amazon'.  I had to force myself to watch it, since the lead actor deserved a punch on the nose for his performance and the dirty cop was only slightly less annoying. 


Unlike Medicine Man, which has a similar more subtle environmental plot, photographer Craig Sheffer, who sports a thoroughly ragged mane of hair at one point and a very silly ponytail, investigates a hot story in the Amazon basin and turns it into a farce. Unfortunately, his performance portrays investigative journalists as careless bumbling idiots, which of course they are very far from being.  




Beautiful Sandra Bullock



Santos, a native Indian activist is brutally murdered in his garden shower, by an arrow through the throat.  As luck would have it another local is singled out by a corrupt police captain as the fall guy.  During the arrest, our hero is so busy taking pictures, he gets himself taken hostage and subsequently arrested.  On his release, and still not street wise, he roams the town snapping photographs of swarthy soldier types beating on innocent civilians, and dodges thugs at the embassy, all the while offering forgettable wise-guy comments which slowly but surely grate on the nerves of the audience and the officials in the movie, he should perhaps be more politically correct about in conversation.


When Santos is killed, the official story is that it was a petty fight between two peasants and a local Indian man is arrested for the murder.  The accused then conveniently dies in jail. American environmental do-gooder, Alyssa Rothman (Bullock) and photojournalist, R.J. O’Brien (Sheffer) believe that there's a cover-up and head off into the rainforest to investigate.

Long before all this sinks in, you'll be reaching for the remote control.  The only thing stopping you is that you know Sandra Bullock is a star in the movie.  Eventually, she shows up as "the girl next door", working for a charity organisation fighting to conserve the forests, but which charity is actually in the pockets of the plantation owners.  She and the photographer hate each other on screen, while trading comments about man's responsibility to the jungle, which is being demolished by greedy industrial businessmen.


Although the film was badly directed, the quality was poor and it was obviously made on a low budget, I applaud Ms Bullock for making the film, which I take as her statement to the rape of the rain forests all over the world.  Well done Sandy.


You certainly can't say that this film isn't clear on its message (which is "Rainforest good, loggers bad"). It opens with a ponderous caption:


For years, the rainforest has spawned bloody feuds. Ranchers and loggers have sought to clear the land, while rubbertappers and Indians have fought to save the forest. Many have died in the conflict. Rafael Santos, leader of the rubbertappers, was one such man.

From there we see the sort of scenes which should really be in a bad documentary named: "Bolivia, country of contrasts". Some of the prettiest and most delightful creatures (parrots, monkeys, etc) frolic in idyllic surroundings.  Immediately we cut to the noise and destruction of a full-scale logging operation, chainsaws in abundance. You could end the film there after 30 seconds and we'd have got the whole point.


You'll not be surprised to learn that in reality, on 22 December 1988, the leader of the Brazilian Rubber Tappers National Council (CTN), Chico Mendes, was shot outside the home he shared with his wife and four children. Two wealthy landowners were eventually found guilty of his murder, but the trial unearthed a long history of murder, intimidation and corruption on the part of land owners, loggers and the authorities.


In their effort to save the trees, our celluloid heroes, Sandra and Craig venture deep into the jungle in a canoe, trailing a suspicious local carrying the body of the local fall guy.  The suspicious character turns out to be the dead man's brother come to claim the body for a decent funeral. Before our heroes can get out of their canoe, a sniper working for the timber barons is shooting at them. They use the old breathing under the upturned hull move (ala Rob Roy) to fool the sniper into believing they are dead.  Apparently, snipers always fall fro this one.  Then they find their way to a friendly native village, smoke some of the wacky weed.  Then without warning Sandra was performing a breathtaking love scene, which I watched with my jaw still on the floor.  The nude tussle in their hut, is probably the only scene you'll remember.




Well done Sandra


It's pretty standard stuff, dimly lit sweaty bodies gyrating together, except of course it is Sandra Bullock. Young male members of the audience will be pleased by the amount of skin on display, which leaves little to the imagination.  I was rather glad when it was over, since I rate Ms Bullock rather highly, even though she's got a terrific figure, but I did not want anything revealed that ought not to be on public display.  Some things are best left to the imagination and fortunately, it didn't go too far.  Later, I found out that Sandra had taken appropriate precautions and just as well.  Viewers might complain at Craig Sheffer crawling on the floor making like a Panther, but that's another story!


The main interest in seeing Fire on the Amazon probably lies in its somewhat controversial past. In 1992, Sandra Bullock was a relatively unknown actress in search of a decent role. Of course, this wasn't to be it, but what's a struggling young actress gonna do?  So, she signed up for this and, despite her misgivings, she agreed to do a nude scene.  Not entirely nude, though (apparently she's wearing tape and it's shot to avoid showing anything), but a nude scene nonetheless. The movie was released in 1993, did the rounds, then died a death.

Unfortunately, that's the only halfway memorable scene in the movie. The rest of the time, we're stuck with the painfully bland repartee between Han Solo and Princess Leia as they tolerate each other as lovers in this wonderful, natural world of ours. The plot is so muddled and confusing we often don't know exactly what our heroes are trying to accomplish floundering in that forest of grass.  That's one reason the love scene comes as a shock.  At one point I thought the jeep like vehicle they were driving was the star.  It never let anyone down!  I thoroughly enjoyed Sandra's performances in Speed, then Demolition Man and finally Miss Congeniality, which my nieces dragged me into the lounge to see.  They know a good movie when they see one.

If it wasn't for Sandra Bullock, this film, with its unimaginative lighting, serviceable plot, routine plastic score and forgettable set pieces, this would quickly go to the back of the shelves or eventually the bin.  As it stands, one quickly understands why she strove to keep it off the shelves - except that the closing shot announces that 70,000 acres of rainforest are lost to us every day.  I don't know if this figure is accurate, but even at one tenth the number, it's enough to make your blood boil.




Controversial Sandra Bullock love scene in Fire on the Amazon






Roger Corman is a prolific movie producer (350+ movies at last count). He's probably given a start to more young talents than any other single figure in the movie industry since the very earliest days of cinema. He produces cheap and cheerful products at low cost with the intention of making a decent return.  Video and DVD have been his friend. He's been accused of being in the exploitation business. Funny that! Are not all movies  exploitative in some way?


This, it's fair to say, is not one of New Horizon's better films. It manages to be exploitative yet still one of the dullest movies you'll ever see. The story of Chico Mendes is the sort that would, in the right hands, make either a very good documentary along the lines of Orson Welles' Four Men on a Raft (which can be seen in the documentary It's All True) or, with a half-decent cast, a great movie such as Man on Fire with Denzel Washington.  Unfortunately, the script isn't up to it. It can't decide if it wants to be an environmentalist message movie, a political thriller, a murder/adventure film or a romance. Sadly, it ends up being boring and muddled and the dialogue is beyond trite.  To make matters worse, the heroine dies from a gunshot wound after an unconvincing rescue attempt!  I prefer happy endings.  But if they are to be sad, then make them really tragic such as in Man on Fire.


For the avoidance of doubt, this film deals with the fictional Rafael Santos, and is set in Bolivia, not Brazil.  Also, Sandra Bullock placed duct tape on her breasts during the filming of the love scene so that she could know for sure nothing would be visible that she didn't want seen. She also made the production company sign a contract stating which parts of her were not to be shown.


Fast forward to 1999. Sandra Bullock is a big star and naturally Roger Corman wanted to recover his losses by re-releasing the movie on DVD and VHS.  To make the most of the release, he placed a prominent picture of Sandra on the DVD cover, highlighting the fact that she appears nude in the film.  Miss Bullock is not altogether pleased, since she has a career built on her girl next door image, which most people kind of like and wish to preserve.  In fact, Sandy famously does not do sex scenes.  She's a kissing kind of girl. "You want to hug me. You want to kiss me".





Availability: Available On Order

Released: 17th Jun 2002

Retail Price: £5.99

Sendit's price: £4.99

You Save: £1.00


BUY Fire On The Amazon (DVD) 






Genre: Action / Adventure

Tagline: Fight fire with fire

Plot Summary: In Bolivia's Amazon basin, corporate cattle ranches are replacing the rain forest. When Santos, charismatic leader of the union of rubber tappers.

User Comments: Is it really worth a rental?

User Rating: *** 3.2/10 (724 votes) 

Cast (in credits order) complete, awaiting verification

Craig Sheffer


Sandra Bullock

Alyssa Rothman

Juan Fernández


Judith Chapman


Ramsay Ross


David Elkin


Jorge García Bustamante


Baldomero Cáceres


Carlos Victoria


Reynaldo Arenas


Ramón García


Eduardo Cesti

Rafael Santos

Natalia Torres

Nacia Santos

Graciela Cahuas

Santos' Daughter

David Killerby

Father Benacio

Edwin Mayer


Diana Quijano


Peter Vernard


John Malley


Kirf Nieft


Enrique Vargas


Gilberto Torres

Police #1

German Ballsteron

Police #2

Lourdes Mindreau

Woman at the Bar


Writing credits (in alphabetical order)

Margo Blue


Catherine Cyran

Beverly Gray


Jane Gray















José 'Chino' Luy

stunt coordinator


Other crew


Pedro Bergna

assistant chief lighting technician

Ron Cabreros

apprentice editor

Tor Cummings

second assistant editor

Casey Dake

apprentice editor

Paul Di Franco

music supervisor

Juan Duran

camera operator

Carmen Espinoza

wardrobe assistant

Michael J. Ferrari

assistant editor

Diana Kaufman

post-production assistant

Jan Kikumoto

post-production coordinator

Jordan Levine

first assistant editor

Rocio Llado

script supervisor

Luis Morales

assistant chief lighting technician

Ray Morfino

color timer

Carlos 'Conan' Muniz

first assistant camera (as Carlos Muñiz)

Bobby Muzingo


Eugenio Prado

focus puller

Alonso Quijano

grip assistant

Cesar Revilla


Vicky Rios

production assistant

Gustavo Saenz


Guillermo Tapia

first assistant camera

Fernando Vega

assistant chief lighting technician

Marisa Zuin





Production Companies


Other Companies


Also Known As:

Lost Paradise
Runtime: 87 min / Argentina:102 min / Germany:78 min / USA:78 min (R-rated version) / UK:87 min (video)
Country: USA / Peru
Language: English / Spanish
Color: Color

Certification: Argentina:13 / Australia:R / Germany:12 / Norway:15 (video premiere) / Peru:14 / Sweden:15 / UK:18 / USA:NC-17 (certificate #31001) / USA:R (edited for re-rating) / Philippines:R-18 / Finland:K-16




Sandra Bullock - Amazonian






Reynaldo Arenas, Sandra Bullock, Eduardo Cesti, Jorge Garcia Bustamente


Directed by: Luis Llosa

Soundtrack Languages

 Dolby Digital: English

Technical Details

Certification: 18
Duration: ?? mins
Format: DVD
Single Sided/Single Layer
Region: 2
Sound: Dolby Digital
Category: Action/Adventure:General















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