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Reign of Fire (2002)

Category: Reign of Fire Reviews
Article Date: July 10, 2002 | Publication: | Author: Victoria Alexander

Posted by: admin

Rating: FRESH

The dragons are the real stars of REIGN OF FIRE and you won’t be disappointed.
The press material calls it “A post-apocalyptic dragon film.” Well, why not — I’m certainly not a cinematic snob. It sounds like an entertaining idea and has “several talented and pedigreed filmmakers” attached: Christian Bale (didn’t I love “American Psycho” and his role in “Shaft”?), Matthew McConaughey (in one of this year’s best films, “Frailty,” and that infamous ‘bongo playing stark naked with a buddy’ incident, so what’s not to like?), and directed by Rob Bowman (“The X-Files” movie — okay, but it made money).

REIGN OF FIRE has visually impressive flying dragons, a cast choking with testosterone, slippery, if-not-impossible logic, and Izabella Scorupco (please don’t take career advise from Kate Beckensale!)

A 12-year-old London boy, Quinn (Ben Thornton), is present as a centuries old, fire-breathing dragon is awakened. When we move twenty years into the future the planet has been essentially destroyed by hundreds of fire-breathing dragons. Nukes didn’t work; countries have collapsed. Anarchy prevails. The dragons are hungry due to eating most of their human food supply. Ignoring the fact that all predator species must pace themselves eating their prey or face certain extinction, the planet Earth has quickly gone to Hell in a hand basket.

Quinn (Christian Bale) now is the tough ex-facto leader of a small community hiding underground in a dilapidated castle eking out an existence growing tomatoes and trying to kill the flying, maundering dragons with worn weapons. A stranger arrives, American Denton Van Zan (Mathew McConaughey), bringing his helicopter pilot Alex (Izabella Scorupco) and crew of dragon slayers, known as the 17-second Archangels.

Van Zan has a shaved head, is covered with tattoos, chews on a stick (or cigar), and is extremely muscled. He’s a zealot literally out to “save humankind and the planet.” Van Zan doesn’t get along with Quinn due to differences in strategy — Quinn is trying to just survive and save his community; Van Zan believes in offensively attacking. When a dragon approaches, Van Zan gathers his crew together and shows off the prowess of his Archangels. Van Zan’s methodology is rather too obtuse to actually work effectively against thousands of dragons, but it is an impressive special effects sequence.

I won’t ruin REIGN OF FIRE by noting how Van Zan and Company plan to save Earth. Director Bowman steeps the entire production in spitting rage intensity. McConaughey and Bale are filmed most of the time in angry, angry close-up with McConaughey veering towards psychopathic, dragon-lust glee (showing far more charisma than as Jennifer Lopez’s confused love interest).

The dragons are the real stars of REIGN OF FIRE and you won’t be disappointed. With a summer already crammed with worms working for our government, Lilo’s nasty friend, and the genetically engineered Powderpuff Girls,I have no problem setting aside reality and enjoying dragons swooping down eating humans.


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