Reign Of Fire

"Weak"

Reign Of Fire Review


There's a lot of lowbrow, bad B-movie entertainment value to be had in "Reign of Fire," a post-Apocalyptic dragon slayer flick in which the two leads chomp considerably more scenery with their acting than fire-breathing monsters barbecue with their breath.

This overacting is clearly by design since the film stars Christian Bale and Matthew Mcconaughey, two talented actors more than capable of subtly and nuance. But subtly and nuance have no place in a movie about the remnants of humanity battling dragons for dominance over Earth, and director Rob Bowman knows it.

Buffed and sweaty Bale ("Captain Corelli's Mandolin," "American Psycho") emotes in the extreme as the gruff but benevolent leader of a rag-tag community that survives in an ancient castle outside London (a nod to dragon tales of yore), which they've turned into a fortress. The year is 2020, and 18 years before Bale was the little boy who unwittingly discovered and awoke the alpha dragon in an underground cavity while visiting his construction forewoman mom on a subway tunnel job.

The film provides an abbreviated history lesson -- the dragons repopulated at a rate of a million in a year and scorched the earth despite man's best efforts to destroy them -- which is intended to go by so fast that you don't have time to think about the nonsense of it all. (How did they repopulate from only one dragon? Why was that one dragon in hibernation under London to begin with? How long had it been there?)

Then with the arrival of McConaughey comes the action. Muscle-bound, heavily tattooed and scruffily bearded but shaved tough-guy bald on top, he's a gravely voiced mad-dog ex-Marine leading his own private battalion of dragon-killers on the warpath. Arriving at Bale's fortress in a convoy of tanks, his small army is first mistaken for marauders, until their helicopter flies over. It's the first airplane of any kind that these survivors have seen since the dragons took over the earth and sky, and their sense of awe is so palpable you a tingle right along with them when it swoops into the castle compound.

These daredevils have a complex and amazing system for killing dragons that includes computer triangulation (high technology has survived in bits and pieces), using sky divers as bait, launching chain mail nets that impair the beasts' wings, then dramatically harpooning the gigantic gargoyles to bring them down. Their first action-packed on-screen kill is unquestionably the highlight of the movie.

They're on their way to London because they've deduced that's where they can find the one male dragon that -- suspension of disbelief warning! -- fertilizes all the dragon eggs in the world. If they can kill it, the dragons will die out and the humans win. But they've stopped by Bale's community because they need new recruits for the final battle.

Long story short, all McConaughey's troops get cooked (literally!) in their clash with the beast, leaving just Bale and hottie helicopter pilot Izabella Scorupco ("Vertical Limit," "GoldenEye") to help him take the big boy down.

The movie's dragon battle scenes, while largely typical of rubble-strewn-future action flicks, are contagiously energetic and cheer-worthy, and the dragons themselves are such spectacularly realistic CGI creations that it didn't even occurred to me until a day later just how packed the movie was with special effects.

Make no mistake, though -- being pure B-movie, "Reign of Fire" is also over-stuffed with lame dialogue ("We're outnumbered hundreds to three!"), lose ends and plot holes (if the dragons "can see even better by night" why do the human warriors travel by night?), silly, heat-sensing Dragon-Vision camera shots, and a generous helping of cinematic ham.

Determined not to be upstaged by a fire-breathing special effect, both Bale and McConaughey seem to delight in battling each other for the over-acting crown, bugging out their eyes as they barking their lines in affected raspy-rugged whispers. Being the kind of guy who rides atop his tank straddling the machine gun, McConaughey wins this battle, hands down. The moment he spits his cigar stub on the ground and hollers, "Lock and load!" you know he loves the smell of brimstone in the morning.



Reign Of Fire

Facts and Figures

Run time: 101 mins

In Theaters: Friday 12th July 2002

Box Office USA: $42.9M

Box Office Worldwide: $43.1M

Budget: $60M

Distributed by: Buena Vista Distribution Compa

Production compaines: The Zanuck Company, Spyglass Entertainment, Touchstone Pictures, Tripod Entertainment, World 2000 Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 40%
Fresh: 62 Rotten: 92

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Quinn Abercromby, as Denton Van Zan, as Alex Jensen, as Creedy, as Ajay, as Jared Wilke, David Kennedy as Eddie Stax, as Ajay, Ned Dennehy as Barlow, as Devon, Terence Maynard as Gideon, as Goosh, as Burke (Tito), Chris Kelly as Mead, Ben Thornton as Young Quinn, as Karen Abercromby

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

Advertisement
The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Partisan Movie Review

Partisan Movie Review

With his feature debut, young Australian filmmaker Ariel Kleiman tells a creepy story about a...

The Revenant Movie Review

The Revenant Movie Review

A wrenching saga of survival and revenge, Alejandro G. Inarritu's new epic is just as...

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker who simply can't be ignored, especially when he lobs a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.