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Dragons bite the Dust
Reign Of Fire (DVD)
Member Name: dkaz
Reign Of Fire (DVD)
Date: 30/08/02, updated on 30/08/02 (26 review reads)
Advantages: Great Dragons, Great Effects, The American Geezer
Disadvantages: Not enough Dragons
As everybody should know, there are plenty of rats scuttling about on the London Underground. For many people this might be quite a fright, but be warned! Rats are the least of your worries.
Apparently there's a horde of aircraft-sized dragons lurking about down there too, hibernating for thousands of years at a time. And we're about to wake them up, according to this offbeat monster movie.
Beginning in the present, Quinn, the 12-year-old son of a project engineer, visits his mother's construction site. It's there that the first beastie is disturbed from his slumber, waking up none to pleased.
We then flash forward to the year 2020, and Quinn, now in the form of Christian Bale, is the leader of what may be the last human settlement in England. The dragons which apparently wiped out the dinosaurs millennia ago,
have again reduced the world to ashes and ruins, but now they're running out of food.
Quinn, taking refuge in a castle in Northumberland, is hoping that his group can just survive long enough for the dragons to return to hibernation, and then what's left of the world will be theirs to reclaim.
Unfortunately their crops are failing, and they are still under siege from the dragons. But then comes along Van Zan, an American soilder who claims to be a dragon slayer. He reskons he's discovered their weakness and, wanting a bit of payback, he has a plan to end the dragon's rule once and for all.
Obviously this is all very daft stuff indeed. It is, however, a refreshing change of pace from most of the other monster movies to have happened along for a while. Putting the mythical dragons into a post-apocalyptic, Mad Max style setting works suprisingly well, and there are some very nice touches. To keep the kids entertained, for instance, Quinn and his best pal Creedy perform plays, re-enacting scenes from the likes of Star Wars.
The nightly prayers that they
make the children recite have nothing to do with religion, but are instead a survival mantra, warning to keep an eye on the skies at all times.
Bale does well, convincing as both the leader, and the reluctant man of action. As the not-entirely-sane Van Zan, meanwhile, Matthew McConaughey has a brilliant time, going enjoyably over the top at every oppertunity, sitting astride his tank and chomping on his cigar like some mad general. Oh yes, this is the kind of world where tomatoes are scarce, but cigars and helicopter fuel are all over the place.
The dragons themselves are convincingly fearsome, hunting from the skies like airbourne sharks. In fact, it's a shame we don't see a bit more of them. If you've seen the movie poster, prepare for disappointment, as no moments resemble the spectable of helicopters dogfighting the monsters over London.
In fact, you get the sense that they ran out of money at some point, and had to reel in parts of the script that would have given things a bit more of a bang. It's an impressive and fairly original monster movie, but it doesn't quite catch fire enough to be as exciting as it should be.