Even though she hated it, there are times that I miss when my old roommate worked for Disney, but only for the one perk that I got to take advantage of. See, every now and then, she would have to do marketing for movies and would get tickets to the advanced screenings. She would always give the tickets to her friends which meant that for 2-3 years, I got to see a number of movies for free, even some that were not made from Disney. Today’s movie is one such movie and it is somewhat memorable for me due to the fact that when my dad came down for my wedding, we actually talked about this movie, since he knew I always enjoyed these type of movies. So let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Reign Of Fire.
The plot: In London, a young boy named Quinn is heading towards a construction site for the London Underground, where his mother is the crew chief. After heading down to where she is working, he hands her a letter stating he lost his scholarship to school, but before they can discuss it further, his mom is called away to where one of her teams struck a void. Quinn goes with her and one of the workers convinces Quinn to take a look inside the cavern they uncovered. Inside, Quinn discovers an egg inside but as he touches it, he sees a strange fire dripping from the ceiling and looks up to see a dragon waking up from it’s hibernation. The dragon spits some of it’s saliva into Quinn’s face and he runs out of the cavern, telling his mom that he saw something.Quinn’s mother takes him to the first aid stand so she can wash out his eyes while the other two workers head towards the cavern but the dragon uses it’s flames to incinerate them. As the flames rush through the tunnel, Quinn and his mom get inside the elevator and start heading towards the surface but the dragon scales the elevator shaft on it’s way out and Quinn’s mom is killed trying to protect him as the elevator cage is crushed inwards. In the year 2020, Quinn narrates how he was the first one to see the dragon but soon people were seeing millions of them and none of the military weapons were effective on the creatures, even when the armies used nukes. Now the handful of survivors are forced to find shelter where they can and pray that they can outlast the dragons. Quinn is the leader of a group of survivors in Nortumberland Castle in England and tries to keep the survivors hopes up and keep working together to survive. One of the men, Eddie, no longer believes in Quinn’s philosophy and wants to go and harvest the crops, even though Quinn argues that half the crops aren’t ripe yet which means they will have less seeds to plant for next year. Quinn doesn’t care and, after stealing the keys to a truck from Quinn while he sleeps, leads a small group to the crops. Early in the morning, the castle lookout sees signs of a dragon nearby and sends a warning down below to the community, and they start taking shelter but one of the girls tells Quinn about Eddie and the others. In the fields, Eddie and his group are trying to get what harvest they can when the dragon attacks them, burning the crops and eating one of the men. Eddie and the others are trapped in the blaze but are rescued by Quinn, Creedy, and Jared in some modified fire trucks. The group manage to escape back to the castle, but Eddie loses his son when the dragon attacks the trucks, and Quinn starts to question whether he is still doing the right thing. The next morning, a military convoy led by Denton Van Zan approaches the castle and Quinn goes out to speak with them. Van Zan introduces himself, claiming to be a group of dragon hunters. Quinn agrees to let them in to take shelter for the day just as a helicopter passes overhead before landing inside the castle grounds. Van Zan introduces the pilot, Alex Jensen, and her archangels, a group of men that jump from the helicopter and use nets to snare dragons as they fall before completing a halo drop. Later, a dragon appears and Van Zan has his team get ready to kill it, using markers to create a 3D map to help Alex fly. Three men on motorcycles are used to plant the markers but the dragon kills the third man before the marker is set so Quinn rides out on a horse to place the marker. When the map is up, Alex realizes the dragon is right on top of her and attempts to evade it but it hits the helicopter, causing one of the archangels to fall out of the helicopter and the other two jump out after it. The two archangels shoot their nets and snare the dragon’s wings but it is able to free itself from the nets and continues chasing the first archangel, who ends up being burned and crashes into the ground. The other two archangels are attacked as the dragon flies back towards them, with one being eaten but the other manages to survive. Quinn gets in touch with Van Zan, who tells Quinn that the dragon will be coming towards him soon and that he should lead the dragon towards him. Quinn does so and Van Zan manages to bring to dragon down with a harpoon, then heads towards it and knocks out one of it’s teeth. That night, the community celebrates the death of the dragon but Van Zan mocks them, saying at the rate they are able to kill dragons, it will be 350 years before it will make any real difference. Later, Quinn goes to speak with Van Zan and he has him follow him as he meets with Alex, who tells Quinn that all of the dragons that they have killed have been female and she theorizes that there is one alpha male that fertilizes all of the eggs so if they take it out, they will kill off the species. Quinn wants to take some of the men from the community with him when he heads to London to kill the male but Quinn refuses to let him use his people and says the last time a group went to London, the dragon killed the group then backtracked to the town they came from and destroyed the town. Van Zan ignores him and reaches out for volunteers, then drafts 6 men and Quinn tries to fight him but Van Zan easily overpowers him and has to be pulled off of him. As Van Zan makes ready to leave, Jared, who Quinn has raised since he was 3, goes with him but changes his mind and heads back to stay at the community. That night, Van Zan and his group are making their way through the ruined town when the male dragon appears and destroys the group and Alex, who was flying recon, returns to find only Van Zan has survived. Back at the castle, the dragon shows up and starts attacking it, and as it flies around, Quinn recognizes it as the one he saw as a kid. Quinn manages to get most of the people into the shelter and Creedy goes back to get the rest when the dragon attacks again, killing Creedy and the others with it’s fire. Some time later, Van Zan Alex and her crew manage to rescue Quinn, Jared, and the others and Quinn tells him that he will lead Alex and Van Zan to London to kill the dragon. Reaching the outskirts of London, they watch the male dragon attack and kill one of the smaller female dragons, chasing the others away, and Quinn leads them through the underground work tunnels so they can come up in the middle of town. Before they head to the surface, Quinn gives them some explosive tipped crossbow bolts and tells them to fire into it’s mouth right before it breathes it’s fire and they will kill it. Reaching the surface, Van Zan tells them to split up and after the dragon makes a pass, he and Quinn run to their positions but Quinn drops his bolt when the dragon makes a pass over him. Quinn climbs up a ladder and tells Alex to run, then when the dragon shows up, he attracts it’s attention and fires at it but the dragon blows it’s fire at the bolt, causing it to explode early. Quinn leaps at the dragon to attack it with his axe but the dragon devours him. Quinn meets up with Alex and she spies the explosive bolt near a truck so Quinn runs out to get it. When the dragon attacks him, Alex draws it’s attention and allows Quinn to approach close enough to fire the bolt in it’s mouth, killing the dragon when it explodes. 3 months later, Quinn and Alex are helping to secure a radio tower when they are approached by Jared, who says they have gotten in contact with some people but they speak French. When he says they want to talk to the leader, Quinn tells him that he is the leader, as he and Alex walk off hand in hand.
Reign Of Fire met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 40% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that this is, “An enjoyable B-movie if you don’t use your brain.” The movie was shot in Ireland’s Wicklow Mountains but due to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease that had hit Europe at the time, many of the planned sequences could not be filmed. The movie was a mild hit at the box office, earning just over $82 million off of a $60 million budget.
This a pretty fun movie to watch. The acting was pretty good, with Christian Bale (Quinn) doing a great job while I thought Matthew McConaughey (Van Zan) was really funny in a somewhat change of pace from his usual role. The story was pretty good and I liked the aspect of Quinn and Van Zan promoting two different ideas of survival and having to work together in the end to ensure they live. On a personal note, I loved how Quinn and Creedy were entertaining the kids by reenacting The Empire Strikes Back. The dragons themselves were pretty cool and definitely some of the best CGI that I have seen at that time. Yes, there are several aspects of the movie that might be hard to believe, my main one being how they were able to keep finding fuel for the helicopter, but all in all, this does it’s job of entertaining people.
Rating: 3 out of 5