Reign of Fire is a mainstream action-fantasy movie featuring a rather silly plot and great special effects. I would go so far as to call it the second-best dragon movie in the history of cinema. The first one is, of course, the 1996 classic Dragonheart starring Dennis Quaid and Sean Connery. You would think that there would more movies about these mythical beasts but you would be wrong. I guess Dungeons & Dragons is also watchable but that’s not a true dragon movie. I would also like to point out that Reign of Fire is technically not a movie about dragons but wyverns! While dragons walk on four legs, wyverns are bipedal, just like us, humans. The more you know…
Moving on, what I liked about this movie is the fact that it took itself extremely seriously contrasting the unbelievable plot. The atmosphere is at the same time immersive, entertaining and rather gloomy considering our downfall. A perfect little piece of cool fantasy escapism, if I might add. Reign of Fire is definitely a guilty pleasure, a movie that you watch with your brain turned off, looking for the next cool shot. And there are some glorious shots here. Since this is also a post-apocalyptic movie, we can enjoy it purely because of it.
Featuring destroyed English cities and villages with giant fire-breathing dragons controlling the skies, the scenes are truly breathtaking. The story is as simplistic as it gets, but that’s beside the point. If you want to watch some serious post-apocalyptic movies check out: The Road or Children of Men. If however, you want to watch Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey, and Gerard Butler fight dragons, check out Reign of Fire. I miss movies like this. They’re bold and audacious, willing to make these surreal stories come to life. Moreover, by the end of the movie, you’ll feel like something like this might actually happen.
It is the year of our lord Satan 2020 and the rulers of planet Earth have changed. During drilling for the London Underground, workers accidentally stumble upon a huge cave hiding a live dragon. They are soon burned to death as more and more dragons emerge from the cave. Soon, the real cause of the Dinosaur extinction is known and humans fear that they are the next species on the menu. They use all the weapons at their disposal, only hastening the decline of civilization. Now, small pockets of resistance fighters are still hoping for a better tomorrow.
As you probably noticed, the whole dino-dragon premise is not half-bad, but that’s as far as this movie is willing to go. The rest is pretty much standard commercial writing with cardboard cutouts for characters, a lot of cliches, and predictable twists. You forget all this when you see a huge dragon barreling down on you.
Great special effects along with some pretty bad-ass pieces of equipment for dragon killing really pumped up the atmosphere. Quinn (Bale) is sporting a Ulrik’s Mauser with Tyrannosaurus Rex .577 Nitro bullets. Oddly enough, both of them are real and used in big game hunting to stop the charge of wild animals. Hopefully, enough of those animals trampled to death assholes who are hunting big game, they fucking deserve it.
I would approve of big game hunting, but with a knife. Then you can show all your skill and masculinity, you fucking pussy. Anywhoo, casting was almost prophetic with three, now huge, action stars in one movie: Christian, Matthew, and Gerard.
At times Reign of Fire feels like a Mad Max movie with dragons, which is a plus, just to be clear. Poor Rob Bowman, this movie along with Elektra, released three years later, pushed him to the fringes of Hollywood. He worked on so many cult classics dealing with innovative and strange stories like Alien Nation, Probe, Star Trek, and The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. (a true blast from the past), but his greatest achievement is his work on The X-Files. I hope he’ll bounce back in the future.
Director: Rob Bowman
Writers: Gregg Chabot, Kevin Peterka, Matt Greenberg
Cast: Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey, Izabella Scorupco, Gerard Butler, Alexander Siddig
Fun Facts: Wicklow Mountains, Ireland were the filming location.