Movie Review: Reign of Fire (2002)

Dragons. The coolest of the mythological creatures (aside from the Unicorn which is the most badass motherfucking thing ever), a fire-breathing lizard living for destruction. They’ve been used in countless books, movies, shows, and video games. And they will continue to be used for years to come because… well, because dragons are awesome.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Reign of Fire”.

The world has gone to shit. Twenty years ago, dragons rose from a deep slumber underground. Now in 2020 dragons pretty much rule the world and the humans are close to extinction. And we follow Quinn (Christian Bale), the leader of a group of survivors in England, trying to simply survive. But their way of life takes a bit of a turn when a group of Americans led by a man named Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey) arrive. And we follow them as they try to not get killed by dragons. So now we have our post-apocalyptic plot. And is it any good? Yeah… far from flawless, but definitely better than I expected. For the most part it’s an enjoyable and interesting action plot, putting a cool spin on the post-apocalyptic genre. Where the flaws come in is with how the plot is reaching for something more than just a simple action plot. You can tell that they’re trying to reach for a more dramatic and emotionally layered plot, but not being able to grab on to it. So it is brought down by trying to reach for something that they can’t quite reach. But overall it is pretty good.

The characters in this aren’t the deepest, as a matter of fact I didn’t care about them too much, but they were interesting enough that I didn’t want them dead. Christian Bale plays Quinn, the leader of a group of survivors. He’s smart, kind, and tough, making him a somewhat compelling character. And Bale is really good in the role. Matthew McConaughey plays Van Zan, the leader of the Americans that Quinn teams up with. He’s a badass crazy person, and McConaughey chewed up a good amount of scenery here… in a good way. Izabella Scorupco plays Alex, an American helicopter pilot traveling with Van Zan. She’s tough but still has a more vulnerable side (making her somewhat interesting), and Scorupco is good in the role. Gerard Butler plays Creedy, the comic relief/exposition-y best friend of Quinn. And despite not being a great comic relief/exposition-man, Butler is still likable enough that I thought he worked decently in this movie. Really, the cast in this movie is good and they all did well here.

The score for the movie was composed by Edward Shearmur and it was quite good. It was big, badass, haunting, and kind of epic. The only (small) problem I have with it doesn’t come so much from the composition, but ut rather has to do with the implementation of it. While it helps elevate certain moments throughout the movie, it is a bit on the loud side, often drowning out things that should be louder than it… like tanks, and helicopters, and dragons. Again, it’s a small problem that doesn’t take away anything from it, but I thought it would be worth mentioning.

This movie was directed by Rob Bowman and I think he did a pretty good job. The movie has a very drab color scheme, but overall his shots do look pretty good. And let’s talk about the dragons… holy shit, they look fantastic, especially for 2002. The CG looks great and the dragons are very well implemented into the world, giving them a very real presence. Which leads me to the action scenes in this movie (which all involve dragons!). They’re the best part of this movie. They manage to make the action scenes with the dragons very tense, badass, exciting, and feel like they have weight to them. It’s not just a dragon shooting some fire and that’s it, oh no. They really show the destructive force of these overgrown Draco lizards (google it). And it makes the dragons feel a bit more real and a bit more terrifying, which is great.

This movie hasn’t been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 40% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 39/100. Roger Ebert gave it 1/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,2/10.

While far from a great movie, “Reign of Fire” is a surprisingly enjoyable action flick. It has an okay plot, okay characters, really good performances, great music, and really good directing (and those dragons, man!). Time for my final score. *roar*. My final score for “Reign of Fire” is an 8,56/10. So while quite flawed, it’s worth buying.

My review of “Reign of Fire” is now completed.

BIG DWAGON.

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