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Reign of Fire (2002)

Theyre extremely intelligent. Highly evolved. And they dont like sharing the planet.

Directed by:

Rob Bowman

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 98 minutes

UK Certificate: 12

On DVD

Country: Ireland, United Kingdom

Christian Bale stars as Quinn Abercromby, a fire chief in a post-apocalyptic dragon-infested world. In his childhood (played by Ben Thornton) he witnessed the moment his excavation engineer mother Karen (Alice Krige) woke an enormous fire-breathing dragon that had lain dormant under London for millennia. Soon the world was filled with dragons, which burned every combustible that they could find in order to consume the ash. Civilisation was reduced to a few primitive societies clinging to survival. Twenty years later, it is fire chief Quinn's job to keep his community alive by warding off the dragons and leading his people in a battle for survival.

Into this desperate community comes an American called Denton Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey). With his team of crack specialists, he hunts down and destroys dragons, although the work is extremely dangerous and the survival rate of his group is not good. Using skydivers to bait the dragons into nets, and assailing them with much military firepower, he demonstrates that the dragons are not supernatural creatures but living beasts that can be destroyed. However, there are so many dragons all over the world that they need a better plan if they are to destroy them, and in the end only one of the two species can survive.

'Reign of Fire' is an interesting concept but flawed in its execution. The dragon effects are outstanding; such as they are, but the dragons don't appear often enough to really satisfy. It would have been nice to see some of the destruction of civilisation, rather than just be told about it, and the few dragon battles are wonderful but not plentiful enough. The plot holes are many – dragons that eat ash seem to be constantly consuming living humans instead, no-one explains how a male dragon survives under London, and Quinn's community seem so ill-prepared it is hard to understand how they have lasted this long. The only really memorable character is Denton Van Zan, and most of the others seem to be there merely as potential dragon-fodder. That being said, the great effects and fabulous dragons go a long way towards saving this movie, and fans of the genre will find it worth watching.

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It's Got: Some pretty big and intimidating dragons.

It Needs: More definition and personality to some of the characters. Fewer plot holes. More dragons.

DVD Extras Nice collection of extras including information from the director. Extras: Two featurettes, Conversations with Rob Bowman, Theatrical trailer, Video game promo. DVD Extras Rating: 6/10

Alternatives:

Dragon Fighter, Jurassic Park, Q: The Winged Serpent.

Summary

Flawed but enjoyable dragon-slayer tale based on an interesting idea but which could be better executed.

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Reign of Fire - DVD Cover click for full size image Reign of Fire - Movie Still click for full size image
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