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Overall Rating

Awesome: 12.28%
Worth A Look32.46%
Average: 27.19%
Pretty Bad: 17.54%
Total Crap: 10.53%

7 reviews, 72 user ratings

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Reign of Fire
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by Scott Weinberg

"The coolest futuristic dragon adventure I ever did see."
4 stars

I love monster movies. There’s something about watching human beings get eaten by dragons, rats, bats, or cats that helps me to overlook a B-movie’s more obvious shortcomings. When I started seeing the early scoop on Reign of Fire, I was sure the film would be one of two things: either a really bad but FUN flick, or something on par with Battlefield Earth. Well, Reign of Fire effectively proved me wrong by ending up a pretty damn good movie! Well, whaddaya know? I love being proven wrong in a situation like this!

Best described as The Road Warrior meets Dragonslayer, Reign of Fire is an unapologetically kinetic b-movie that features a handful of staggeringly cool dragon sequences and performances from two leading men who know full well the potential silliness of the film they’re in - yet still manage to deliver characters that audiences can take seriously. (The main characters are the backbone of an FX-driven fantasy like this, because if they’re seen as ridiculous – the whole movie will be.) Simply put – if you’re willing to accept the outlandish concept of “futuristic battles between dragons and humans”, you’re halfway to enjoying this slick, dark adventure. And if you’re like me and you went “Oooooooh...” throughout the trailer, odds are you’ll have a real good time with Reign of Fire.

Thanks to the newly-awakened dragons and our politician’s ill-fated efforts at dispatching them through nuclear weapons, humans are nearly extinct. The year is 2020, and mankind has been diminished to the point where they’ve taken to hiding out in deserted old castles. It’s in one such fortress that Quinn (Christian Bale) protects one of the last remaining pockets of civilization in Northern England. As the accepted leader, Quinn espouses a lifestyle of simple survival; try to avoid the dragon’s attentions, while dutifully tending to the gardens and young children.

The community’s complacency is disrupted with the arrival of a kick-ass crew of crafty commandos, a devoted cadre of ‘dragon hunters’ under command of the violently obsessed Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey). Quinn initially welcomes Van Zan and his platoon into the shelter, but it’s not long before the marines attract some rather hot-tempered attention from a few of the local dragons. After a particularly brutal aerial attack on the castle, Van Zan and his remaining soldiers (along with a few of Quinn’s compatriots) head off to London in an effort to discover the source of the giant murderous lizards.

If you’re the sort of movie freak who, like myself, can’t help but nit-pick at various plot holes, Reign of Fire is absolutely rife with ‘em. Where do the marines find fuel for their helicopter? Why is the only female soldier made up in lipstick and eyeliner while every other human in the film is quite literally covered in filth? Why do the dragons only seem to attack in ‘solo’ missions, when a group attack would surely kill a lot more of those pesky humans? There are even more minor script hiccups like this to contend with, but let’s be frank: we’re not talking Hamlet here. Anyone ready to bash a ‘futuristic dragon’ movie for a bushel of minor plot holes probably wasn’t going to enjoy Reign of Fire anyway.

Fortunately, there’s more than enough ‘good stuff’ in Reign of Fire to make such unimportant contrivances seem nearly non-existent. If you’re too busy rolling your eyes at the sillier stuff, you’re bound to miss a few fantastic action sequences, a truly creepy and altogether impressive production design, and a lot of flashy CGI effects that actually manage to LOOK like ‘real’ dragons! Director Rob Bowman (The X-Files) obviously realizes that he’s working on a simple ‘popcorn flick’, yet still does everything he can to make Reign of Fire a quality popcorn flick. Bale and McConaughey both acquit themselves well, with Bale’s dedicated father figure a strong counter-point to McConaughey’s rabid commando, and (again) the actors are well aware of the comic-book nature of the film they’re in, and never try to stretch their roles beyond those constraints.

Reign of Fire may be dismissed by some as silly ‘high-concept’ demographic programming, but I think any film that offers a NEW concept is immediately worthy of some praise. ‘Futuristic dragons’ may not earn anyone an Oscar nomination, but in a genre littered with insipid sequels, moronic remakes, retarded video-game adaptations, and non-stop superhero revisits, it’s welcome to just see a fresh idea. Sure, it may be a silly idea, but Reign of Fire is, for the most part, a damn good monster movie/action flick that only occasionally delves into unintentional silliness. And even’ll be having such a good time that you’ll hardly even notice.

Reign of Fire is precisely the kind of flashy, boisterous adventure flick that turns hyperactive 12-year-olds into lifelong movie freaks. Trust me; I speak from experience.

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originally posted: 07/12/02 12:39:49
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User Comments

3/25/18 morris campbell not bad some good effects 4 stars
8/24/09 zenny suprisingly entertaining flick 4 stars
11/02/08 Samantha Pruitt great effects and great visuals, lots of fun action and cool dragons! 4 stars
10/22/08 dina This movie kicks major butt and bonus! Matthew Mcconaughey & Christian Bale are smokin'hot! 5 stars
8/13/08 Shaun Wallner I love Dragon movies!! 5 stars
10/09/07 emma the movies the best shows good acting and the prayer gets stuck in my head its easily 5 stars
5/08/07 Tracey Chambers christian bale, and matthew mcconaughey what more could you want 4 stars
1/11/07 Jake Dragons are really the only cool thing about it 3 stars
12/29/06 David Pollastrini great fx 3 stars
11/06/06 Bitchflaps The definition of a steaming pile.That is a pile that gets so septic, it begins to steam. 1 stars
8/05/06 David Cohen It's good as long as you don't think about it (Dragons eat ash? Sure, why not) 3 stars
3/10/06 Dk Underated, this is the best monster movie since Jurassic park and its sequel 5 stars
7/12/05 Mark Radburn This movie is totally awesome, stop slamming it you idiots 5 stars
4/25/05 Quigley Matthew McConaughey, please no! if this movie was a thermometer, it is below freezing. 1 stars
3/29/05 Tyrantis It sounded like Indepeddence Day with dragons. I was disappointed. 1 stars
3/24/05 Alice Colwell boring 2 stars
10/22/04 Matt Thiel Good opening, but the rest is a mess 2 stars
8/27/04 brendan glad i didnt pay to see it at a cinema. check your brain in at the door. 2 stars
7/09/04 Daveman One dreary cliche after another and not a shred of real fun. 1 stars
6/09/04 Nobody completely implausible and unconvincing, with occasional ok acting 2 stars
6/01/04 jack bell love the way they dargons look, but the plot could have been better. 5 stars
4/23/04 HorrorScribbler Nonsense, but it does have a lot of dragons. 2 stars
1/21/04 will the actors were so into it, it just made the movie 4 stars
1/16/04 Dean Um, I still dont get the dragon bit 4 stars
12/17/03 tatum Just plain cool 5 stars
10/02/03 y2mckay Cheap, sometimes plodding, and full of plot holes - but vaguely entertaining 3 stars
8/31/03 john radice What about a prequel about the dragons destruction of the world? 3 stars
8/28/03 baldor this movie has changed my life bought new tv to watch it 5 stars
7/18/03 I Would Neither film fans nor macho boneheads will like this, so what's the point of this movie? 1 stars
6/27/03 imbrium monster movie! 5 stars
6/13/03 Jerry Cool action. Better than dungeons and dragons!! 5 stars
5/06/03 Jareth Boring, braindead and offensive. I'd rather get vaporised by a fire breathing dragon. 1 stars
4/09/03 JL Movie was alright, but Christian Bale is delicious! 4 stars
4/06/03 Jason Banta Visual effects were very nice, the storyline needs work. 3 stars
2/01/03 Goofy Maxwell Dragon made a last stand 4 chivalry? *hee hee* So there WAS a method to this madness! 3 stars
1/31/03 Donn Kixote The Best Symbolistic, Metaphorycal, Intricated, PosModern, PreIIIWW XFCrap I´ve Never Seen! 5 stars
1/02/03 Vince Reed SUCKS THE TURD'S OUT OF A DEAD MAN'S ASS! 1 stars
12/15/02 Laurian Diaconescu Pretty cool,I enjpyed it.Could have been a bit more spectacular though. 3 stars
12/08/02 Monster W. Kung Really dull. 2 stars
12/06/02 Brandon Little The previews showed something exciting but mindless...OK. Instead, it was just dull. 2 stars
10/19/02 Darren Kennedy Where were the attack choppers? 2 stars
10/14/02 Jake lee crap movie, it ended b4 it even got started, lets bring and axe to kill a dragon..dumb ass 1 stars
9/27/02 John McNew Visually stirring, but awfully unintelligent. Dumb entertainment that just isn't fun. 2 stars
9/08/02 Roy Smith Their big solution makes no sense at all. Only one? Cheap. 4 stars
9/08/02 Valerie Jones (in 15 days I'll be 13 & can post in my name on amazon!) Fairly dumb and boring - could've skipped all but last 20 minutes. 2 stars
9/06/02 Priscilla Postlethwaite Fighting dragons in London in 2020? WHY?? 1 stars
8/30/02 Matt Stone OK 4 stars
8/18/02 Craig The dragons didn't kill McConaughey soon enough. 1 stars
8/18/02 Cibeus Matthew McConaughey as a tough? I didn't buy it going in, but was pleasantly surprised. 4 stars
8/03/02 Akira_773 Finally, post-apocalyptic women sans makeup! 4 stars
7/30/02 John P. May This may be good stuff for an action TV series. 4 stars
7/26/02 titaliwink Pretty fucking boring. But good acting and a hell of a concept. 3 stars
7/20/02 Peter Marshall 4 stars
7/19/02 Bleah Where did they get all chopper fuel from? 1 stars
7/19/02 Jeff I want to have sex with Mr. Bale - woof! 5 stars
7/18/02 ian great "promise" really flopped on the delivery. 3 stars
7/18/02 strider3700 not oscar worthy but a damn fine summer action movie 4 stars
7/17/02 John It had a number of action sequences, but was sort of short, and boring at times 3 stars
7/17/02 STEVE this movie rocks!!!!! 5 stars
7/16/02 Vera Sparks McConaughey is a radical mofo, and the death toll is surprisingly high. Coulda been better 4 stars
7/16/02 rgtp Pretty Crappy 2 stars
7/16/02 n6ko long, boring, and dumb. too much crap for me to enjoy myself 1 stars
7/15/02 Caiphn Slow at parts, evil dragons! 3 stars
7/15/02 ajay I liked it, but I wish they would've made up more technical junk about the dragons 4 stars
7/15/02 Obi Wan I wanted to love it, but I left with nothing . . .no wow, no aww, just nothing. 3 stars
7/15/02 Law better than half the other crap out there 4 stars
7/14/02 Danielle Ophelia almost wonder what they're trying to save. But not bad...not at all. 4 stars
7/13/02 David Its a dragon movie, keep that in mind when you buy your ticket and have some fun.... 4 stars
7/12/02 Nick2k my original post was 'deleted', so...this movie was hiding behind false advertising. eh! 2 stars
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  12-Jul-2002 (PG-13)



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