REIGN OF FIRE. 2002. DIRECTED BY ROB BOWMAN. STARRING CHRISTIAN BALE, MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, GERALD BUTLER, ALICE KRIGE AND IZABELLA SCORUPCO. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
I’m not normally crazy about post-apocalyptic, dystopian-style movies set in the not-too-distant-future, but I have fond memories of watching this one in a nearly empty cinema after a slap-up lunch in one of my favourite restaurants back when it first came out.
In the slightly futuristic world in which we find ourselves in this film (it’s 2020, or thereabouts), dragons have laid waste to the earth and scorched it with their fiery breath. That’s right, dragons. Well. Whaddya know about that…?
Angry Scottish guy Quinn Abercromby, played by Christian Bale, is the leader of his own little community in Scotland. They all live together in an old castle and have to be constantly vigilant against attacks by dragons. It’s a bleak, depressing existence but they don’t have much choice other than to carry on as best they can in adverse circumstances.
It was Quinn’s mum, an engineer, who was kind of responsible for waking up the head male dragon in the first place with her underground railway tunnel project. Who knows, maybe Quinn feels kind of responsible too and whatnot and that’s why he devotes his life to protecting his wee clan…?
He’s also dealing with a lot of dragon-related trauma, in that he saw the dragon kill his mother, so naturally there’s not a lot of love in him for the fire-breathing scallywags who have devastated the earth. You can’t blame him, really.
After a particularly bad dragon attack, a group of Americans rock up to the castle gates out of the blue with their tanks and their choppers and their sophisticated artillery and more confidence than you can shake a stick at. The enormously egotistical, aggressively shaven-headed pain-in-the-ass Van Zan, played by Matthew McConaughey, is their leader. He claims to have killed dragons before. He promises he will again if Quinn’s men will join forces and help him.
The two alpha-males, Quinn and Van Zan, circle each other like vicious dogs who each fancy the same juicy cut of meat. They even come to blows at one point, tearing chunks out of each other like the aforementioned mutts. But when Van Zan tells Quinn that there’s a chance to take down his old enemy, the one existing male dragon who, by the way, is responsible for impregnating all the females, can Quinn in all conscience turn his back…?
They lost me completely during the boring, overly-technical chopper scenes, but the dragons are fantastic and the footage of a decimated Europe, for example a burning Eiffel Tower, are brilliant. Ditto, the issue of TIME magazine with a picture of the dragons attacking a city on the cover and, underneath, the chilling caption: IS THIS THE END? It’s impossible not to imagine (dragons) and worry about such end-of-the-world-style situations happening for realsies when you see stuff like this. Well, I worry about it anyway, even if you don’t…
The blossoming love affair between Quinn and beautiful blonde Alex, Van Zan’s right-hand-woman, alleviates the grimness somewhat, as does the obvious affection between Quinn and the orphaned boy he’s taken under his wing, Jared. The scenes of a dragon-ravaged London are simply awesome, as the Americans themselves might say, and the final showdown between man and dragon is hot stuff too. I may only watch this film every ten years or so, but when I do I enjoy it.
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.
She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:
1) ‘… BY A WOMAN WALKING HER DOG…’
2) A WRITER’S JOURNEY
3) ANNA MEETS COUNT DRACULA
4) ANOTHER FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
5) CANCER BALLS
6) CATCH OF THE DAY
7) FIFTY FILTHY-DIRTY SEX-POEMS YOU MUST READ BEFORE I DIE.
8) FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
9) THE DEVIANTS
10) VISITING DAY