Normally, disaster movies are not really my thing but for some reason, I do enjoy volcano movies. I honestly don’t know why but I always have. I guess it’s because volcanoes themselves are incredible forces of nature. Anyways, there are plenty of famous volcanic eruptions, such as Krakatoa and Mt. St. Helens, but the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D. is probably one of the oldest. The fact that Vesuvius has erupted several times since then makes it perfect fodder for a disaster movie and that is exactly what happened in 2014, as the movie Pompeii came out, retelling the classic eruption. So of course, the Asylum decided to make their own movie, but in a modern setting which gives us today’s movie, Apocalypse Pompeii.
The plot: In a small village in the Galapagos, a mother is playing with her daughter when a tremor occurs and they see the nearby volcano start spewing smoke. They race home, where her husband has them get in the car and they try to run but they are enveloped by the super heated ash cloud and the car explodes. Jeff Pierce, a former Special Forces commando, is in Naples, Italy with his family to start an international security firm. While he goes to his business meeting, his wife Lynne and daughter Mykaela go on a tour bus to see Pompeii. When a tremor occurs, Jeff is uneasy and tries to get them to stay in town but they insist on going so he gives them some satellite phones in case anything happens. The tour bus arrives at Pompeii and the group looks around the ruins of the city while Gianni, the tour guide, explains the history of the city and Mt. Vesuvius. Suddenly, another tremor occurs and Gianni ushers them to safety as some of the ruins start to fall. Back in Naples, Jeff receives a call from his wife saying they were ok and then Mykaela gets on the phone, talking about the eruption in the Galapagos and how there is always seismic activity near active volcanoes, but when Jeff asks if they are in danger, she says she is probably worrying over nothing and hangs up. As the group is heading out of Pompeii, Gianni asks Mykaela how she knows so much about volcanoes and she explains that when her dad traveled a lot when she was young, and she would read about the places he would visit and ended up drawn towards volcanoes. Suddenly, more tremors occur and the group sees Vesuvius suddenly erupt. Back in Naples, Jeff finishes his meeting when they see the eruption and he asks to borrow the company’s helicopter but the owner refuses as it is too dangerous. Jeff manages to briefly get in touch with Lynne and tells them to find shelter while he comes to get them but the police will not let him drive towards Pompeii. Jeff heads to see Colonel Carlo Dillard, a friend that was in Special Forces with him, who tells him that the Italian government has declared Pompeii off limits as it will be buried in lava in 4 hours but Jeff refuses to accept that. He decides to go to the NATO base and plead his case and Carlo says he will meet Jeff outside in an hour, as he will attempt to come up with a plan B. Back at Pompeii, the group tries to find shelter as fireballs start raining down from the sky, killing some members of the group. Mykaela finds a place to take shelter and the survivors make their way inside, but one man, Paul. suffers a serious burn on his leg and Lynne twists her ankle. At the base, Jeff is told that they can not help him and he meets back with Carlo, who has contacted some of his former teammates that were in the area and Jeff leaves with them to rescue his family. Back in Pompeii, Mykaela is concerned about the villa holding up and, after looking at the map, suggest moving to another location that would offer more protection for the heat surge that is sure to come. A fireball breaks through the roof and sets one of the group on fire and Paul is killed by falling debris as the group heads out but Rosso grabs the phone that Lynne had dropped and has Rashida put it in her backpack. Back in Naples, Jeff and his team (Herricane, Alita, and Cade), plan on stealing a helicopter from the NATO base while avoiding the fireballs that are beginning to pelt the city. At Pompeii, Mykaela leads the group towards a jail house but some of the group choose not to stay there and leave. Mykaela has the remaining group, (Lynne, Gianni, Christine, Kal, Rashida, and Rosso) take the extra clothes from backpacks and soak them in water in order to plug the cracks in the door to protect them from the heatwave. When the heatwave occurs, Mykaela and the others survive but the people that were outside are vaporized. Jeff and his men create a diversion and steal a helicopter from the base, but Herricane is shot in the leg. Back at Pompeii, Mykaela leads the group to the nearby museum but as they get close, another eruption triggers a mudslide, which kills one of the group and brings a lot of ash up to the building, causing Mykaela to worry about possible sulphur dioxide gas. Meanwhile, Jeff and his men are being pursued by Carlo, who is under orders to bring them in, however Carlo does his best to help Jeff escape and ends up aborting the pursuit to avoid harming civilians. Jeff gets a signal from the satellite phones he gave his family and has Herricane fly towards the museum. At the museum, Mykaela sees Christine dying from sulfuric gas and has the rest of the group follow her into a lab, where she fashions some gas masks using baking soda to help filter the gas. Hearing the satellite phone ringing from her back pack, Rashida pulls it out and Mykaela notices that her dad has been tracking them but when another eruption occurs, the phone is damaged and the group finds themselves trapped in the room. Jeff and his men reach the museum and while Herricane hovers above the roof, Jeff, Alita, and Cade search the museum. Jeff finds where the others are trapped and Cade uses an explosive to blast the debris free so they can escape. Heading up to the roof, Jeff signals Herricane to bring the helicopter closer but a fireball hits it, destroying the helicopter but Herricane manages to jump to safety. Witnessing the pyroclastic flow occurring, the group heads towards the basement but Cade is killed by a fireball. Safe in the basement for the moment, the group tries to figure out their next move but when lava begins entering the basement, they head up the stairwell back to the roof, but Alita is killed by the lava. On the roof, they are surprised to see that Carlo has arrived in a helicopter to rescue them. As they leave the museum, a small fireball hits Carlo in the shoulder but he lives and Jeff flies the helicopter while Herricane treats Carlo’s injury. Landing safely away from the volcano, the survivors watch the volcano as news reports talk about how the eruptions have stopped and Pompeii has survived.
This was a pretty entertaining movie to watch. The acting was pretty good all around, especially with Georgina Beedle (Mykaela), who did a good job with her forced role of leader due to her knowledge of volcanoes. The story was good and I actually liked that this movie somewhat tied into other Asylum films, mainly John Rhys-Davies character of Colonel Dillard, who he reprised from the 2013 movie 100 Degrees Below only with a different first name, and the mention of the ring of volcanoes erupting near Hawaii, which was the plot of Airplane Vs. Volcano, which came out that same year. The special effects were pretty good with only a few times that they were somewhat unbelievable. If you enjoy disaster movies, then this is worth a watch.
Rating: 3 out of 5