STARRING: Matthew McConaughey, Christian Bale, Izabella Scorupco, Gerard Butler
2002, 102 Minutes, Directed by: Rob Bowman
In the near future whilst building a new tunnel for the London Underground, dragons breathing "natural napalm" (that's right, yes) are unleashed
upon an unsuspecting world. A few years later most of humanity is wiped
out - more by poorly thought-out ways to kill off the dragons (such as
using nukes!) than the flying lizards themselves. That's what you get
for expanding your public transport system I suppose (a message I am sure
that has the approval of major car manufacturers) . . .
Thus humanity is relegated to a post-apocalyptic
existence taken straight out of The Road Warrior
and Waterworld. Yup, this is Mad
Max meets Dragonheart as many critics have
pointed out. One such ragtag group of British extras, er, survivors is approached
by gung ho Americans with a scheme: apparently (PLOT SPOILER ALERT)
all of the dragons are female except for one male. That'd be the one with
the permanent rings under the eyes then! Kill the single male and the whole
specie dies out. How can there be thousands of female dragons all over the
planet with only one single male to, erm, propagate the specie? The movie
never says. (END SPOILER ALERT!)
As you might have gathered from the above plot spoiler, Reign of
Fire (directed by X-Files regular Rob Bowman)
resembles Independence Day and the schoolyard
bully who used to beat the crap out of you during breaks: it is big,
loud, dumb and never explains itself. It is the sort of movie where it is best
to just go with the flow and not ask any questions like: just where do
the Yank convoy stash all the fuel to keep that helicopter in the air
the whole time? And: where exactly did they find the fuel? And so on.
The point is that once you accept a future Earth overrun by mythical
overgrown fire-breathing flying lizards, then the rest ought to come naturally.
Reign of Fire is passable watching though. As my companion remarked, "That
was better than I expected." True, the effects and production designs
(especially of a burnt-out London at the end) are good considering obvious
Other production values are OK too: music, editing and the like. The
actors do their best with laughable macho dialogue such as "we can
do this easy, or we can do this real easy." It took me a while to
recognize Matthew McConaughey (Jodie Foster's love interest in Contact)
who looks like a muscle-bound comic book crossover between Vin Diesel,
General Patton and Tank Girl.
Try not to bring an unhealthy sense of Mystery Science Theater
3000 irony with you when you pop this one into your DVD player!