In 2008 young Londoner Quinn is visiting his mom at the construction site where she is the foreman. The construction crew is several hundred feet underground digging when they run into a problem that requires some investigation. They convince little Quinn to go into the whole and check it out. While in there, Quinn sees what appears to be an odd looking set of intricate caves. There is also some liquid substance that catches fire. Before he can do anymore looking around, a small creature spits something in his eyes. He runs out and tells his mother that there is something down there. All she sees is what appears to be an explosion, so she hustles Quinn into the elevator to go back up on the surface. What beats them to the top is a gigantic dragon.
Within a few years time, the dragon and its offspring have managed to takeover the planet. They've burned and eaten everything in their path. By 2020, all the humans who are left are living a medieval existence in pockets around the world. Quinn (Christian Bale) is now a grown man running a small colony about 100 miles outside of London. They are barely surviving. They have plenty of water, but not enough food. They can't keep any crops because the dragons keep burning up everything. Quinn and his best friend Creedy (Gerard Butler) are running out of options when some gung-ho Americans, led by Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey) show up. These Americans claim to have killed over 200 dragons and propose to get rid of the ones who are menacing Quinn's people. All they want in exchange are a few supplies, men, and they directions to London so they can kill the dragons at their source.
Can this make shift army liberate the world? Or will they just end up becoming dragon dinner like everyone else who has tried before them.
Okay "folks" here's the deal - get everything that you need to get done by the year 2017. Why? Because "we" just don't exist after 2020. In Minority Report there appears to be only one black person in all of D.C. by 2054 and the only conclusion I can come to in Reign is that dragons like dark meat. There was maybe a light-skinned sistah and the brotha who they use as dragon bait. Ya'll we just don't stand a chance. I joke about this, but it still bothers me that Hollywood doesn't feel that we have a place in the future.
The above is not to say that I didn't like the movie because I did. I loved McConaughey as the "Ahab"-like Van Zan who is obsessed with and consumed by the dragon. Bale was wonderful as the reluctant hero, Quinn. He doesn't want the responsibility of all those people, but if he doesn't do it, who will? Creedy was a delight as the comic relief. My praise for the characters ends there. No one else really grabbed my attention. This movie was about the special effects. It had to be one of the most dangerous movies ever made with all the fires popping up everywhere. My biggest disappointment was the fact that we didn't see the dragons as much as I would have liked. Those dragons were phenomenal. Every time they were on the screen the audience was on the edge of their seats. The dragons are what really made the movie worth watching even if I did feel a little shortchanged by their lack of screen time (but the homage to The Empire Strikes Back almost made up for it).
This is a fun and exciting movie. It's got some plot holes you could drive a truck through (like the whole helicopter and arch-angel thingy) but well worth the price of a matinee admission.
Reign of Fire will likely reign over the box office.
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Copyright Kamal "The Diva" Larsuel-Ulbricht, 2002
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