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Reign of Fire (2002)

Reign of Fire always intrigued me as it always seems to be recommended for me on Netflix. And I’ve always passed it by, never really gambling on it. What really intrigued me about it was the casting of Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey and of course the film being primarily about dragons. And of course, Dragons are awesome.

Okay, it begins with a young Quinn, visiting his mother whilst she works on a new instalment in the underground. One of her workers finds a void, leading into a dragons lair in which the young Quinn is spat at by, when searching the void.  Quinn’s mother is killed in a subsequent attempt at escaping from the dragon, who gets all angry and starts setting fire to everything. Christian Bale’s voice then fills us in with what happened, stating the dragons came and burned everything to ashes, as dragons as a species feed on ash.  Newspaper clippings and articles are seen of Paris in flames with dragons circulating the Eiffel Tower and dragons doing similar acts of destruction all over the world.

Of course, the two alpha-males fight for dominance

Of course, the two alpha-males fight for dominance

Fast forward to the year 2020, there is desolation everywhere and Quinn is leading a civilisation inside a castle in hope of outlasting the dragon species and surviving once again. However, with films like this, in a post-apocalyptic world the leaders are always faced with adversity, this one being presented by Eddie wanting to harvest the crops now, instead of waiting for them to germinate and save seeds for the next harvest. Eddie is confronted by Quinn and Creedy (Gerard Butler) and they disagree with Eddie’s idea and threaten him to not harvest the crops.

Lo and behold, the keys are stolen back and Eddie drives down the harvest area and begins to harvest the food. Yes, you guessed it. A dragon shows up and destroys the harvest, along with one of Eddie’s children in the blaze. They are saved by Quinn and Creedy, and leave the dragon to feast on the ashes left behind. Shortly after this, Denton Van Zan (McConaughey) shows up with his US crew and looking for shelter to halt his march on London temporarily.

What's cooler than a dragon slayer sitting atop a tank?

What’s cooler than a dragon slayer sitting atop a tank?

Really, the rest of the film is set up as you’d expect it to be. Learning that Van Zan is a dragon slayer, and he is going to kill the male dragon (after they discover they are similar to the fish species that has a male fertilising all the eggs). That being said, the big reveal is pretty much where you’d expect it to take place, but the events leading up to it are not so. I was pleasantly surprised I must admit.

Considering that this film was made in 2002, the CGI wasn’t too bad but they made sure the dragons weren’t given a significant amount of screen time, which isn’t too surprising. But the honours would have to go to McConaughey with his performance as it’s something I’ve never witnessed from him before. His bald-headed, full-bearded Denton Van Zan was insane, to a strange degree and you could see the madness in his eyes. Christian Bale’s performance is standard of him, but the acting would be the best part about this film, carrying the film over the less-interesting parts.

The film stands at a solid hour and forty, however, as I stated, everything is fairly guessable. The film isn’t massively groundbreaking, however the storyline is rather compelling with the dragons being a species much like fish, with one male. One thing that bugged me constantly about the film was the helicopter. One, would the dragons not hear this helicopter when it is first unveiled and two, how does a chopper keep fuel to take down a dragon and then fly to London along the coast. It’s very odd.

All in all the film is fairly enjoyable but not something in which you must drop everything and watch. If you’re struggling from something to watch on Netflix, or if you like Dragons and crazy men played by Matthew McConaughey, then Reign of Fire would be right for you.

3/5