Thanks to a solid cast, a cool premise, and a pretty good marketing campaign, “Reign of Fire” had the potential to be one of the best action movies of 2002.
All the right elements for a hit movie were there. But when “Reign of Fire” came out, it was one of the most disappointing movies of the year instead.
“Reign of Fire” starred Matthew McConaughey and Christian Bale, and told the story of mankind’s battle with fire-breathing dragons in the year 2020. Everything began in a tunnel beneath London that was under renovation or something. The construction crews broke open a cavern occupied by long-dormant fire-breathing dragons. The creatures then fly to the surface and attack.
These suckers are tough, so even when one is killed, countless more take its place. This sounded like an interesting angle, but I don’t believe the movie ever offered an explanation for this. Anyways, the beasts wreak havoc, and in not time at all civilization has been all but wiped out.
When all hope seems lost, Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey), the Dragon Slayer arrives on the scene. Thanks to his bald and bearded look, Van Zan looks an awful lot like TNU’s Laneit, and Van zan is just as crazy! Even though Zan is supposed to be a good guy, he often clashes with Quinn (Christian Bale), the leader of a group of survivors. I am not sure why they don’t like each other, since their goal is the same.
The female lead is named Alex, and she was played Izabella Scorupco (“GoldenEye”). She’s Van zan’s number one helicopter pilot, and is supposed to be good in a fight. But she spends most of the time just standing between the two guys and trying to get them to stop shouting at each other long enough so they can kill some dragons.
I remember Laneit and I were really excited when we saw the first trailer for “Reign of Fire.” We liked the cast, and it had been some time since anything featuring dragons had come out. But most of all, we were excited because this movie looked like mindless fun.
Oh, “Reign of Fire” was mindless all right, but not in a good way. Our main issue was the lack of what do you call em? Oh right…. dragons. There’s a dragon cameo at the beginning of the movie when the cavern is discovered. But after that, there’s only small glimpses of the damn things until the third act of the movie!
I lost count of how many times we had to watch America’s favorite bongo player and the future Batman argue with each other. If those two weren’t fighting, then Christian Bale was being overprotective of some kid in his group of survivors. If he wasn’t busy with that, then Bale would be acting all sorts of weird around Izabella Scorupco, because he apparently didn’t know how to act around girls.
It got so bad, that about halfway through the movie, Laneit turned to me and said: “There are dragons in this here dragon movie right?”
There were some dragons in “Reign of Fire,” just not enough I’m afraid. Ah well, I guess if nothing else “Reign of Fire” showed Matthew McConaughey could play more than just a stoner. And I suppose that this movie also gave Christian Bale a chance to work on his soon to be famous Batman voice.