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Reign Of Fire (PG-13)
Touchstone
Official Site
Director: Rob Bowman
Producers: Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Lili Fini Zanuck, Richard D. Zanuck
Written by: Gregg Chabot & Kevin Peterka and Matt Greenberg
Cast: Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey, Izabella Scorupco, Gerard Butler, Alice Krige

Rating: out of 5


Reign Of Fire has a fairly simple idea. Hungry dragons awaken and take over the world; the few remaining humans get to fight back with modern weaponry. So far so good.

The movie starts off very quickly, introducing the dragons within five minutes and explaining their conquest of the world with voiceovers. Twenty years later Quinn (Bale) has grown from a young boy who witnessed the first dragon attack to the leader of a tiny outpost of humanity. The world Quinn inhabits is a post-apocalyptic world very similar to that of Mad Max. Quinn's life is disturbed with arrival of Van Zan (McConaughey), an American army commander who flew across the Atlantic Ocean with several tanks and a helicopter. Van Zan proposes that the few remaining humans band together to kill the only male dragon on the planet, thus exterminating the species.

Though the movie quickly takes hold, the idea begins to wear thin. None of the characters are particularly compelling. VanZan is a fanatical dragon hunter. Either you’re helping kill dragons, his way, or you are part of the problem. This enables some crazy, wild-eyed acting on McConaughey's part, but ultimately the archaic battle axe he wields is the most interesting thing about him. Christian Bale has almost as little to do. Occasionally he questions his own leadership, but mostly he gets to look buff and shout a lot. Perhaps his hard body is the reason army helicopter pilot Alex (Scorupco) falls for him so suddenly; her attraction is never explained.

Fortunately enough special effects and action are going to be the main draw of this movie. The action scenes are kind of a mixed bag. Some are gripping (skydiving out of helicopters to attack dragons), some are forgettable (dragons attacking townsfolk). The same can be said of the dragons themselves: Sometimes they appear as creatures of deadly predatory beauty, sometimes they seem to be a bunch of ones and zeros.

This movie brings nothing new to the table. Nothing stands out , plus some genre mistakes are revisited (like where is the gasoline for all this stuff coming from?). If you absolutely have to see dragons or if seeing Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey shirtless even for the briefest amount of time is your particular brand of vodka, then see this movie in the theater right away. If not, rent this movie with some friends for some late-night fun.

—Woodrow Bogucki

 

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

It’s worth a full-price ticket.

It’s worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



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