Reign Of Fire
Now, this movie had one of the best posters in recent cinema history. A ravaged London skyline played host to an airborne battle between huge, fire breathing dragons and a small army of helicopters. Unfortunately, the spectacle doesn't quite live up to the promise of the poster or the trailer, thanks mainly to budgetary constraints, but we are still left with a hugely enjoyable adventure romp.
Christian Bale stars as Quinn, the leader of a small band of human survivors, living in fear of dragon attacks in the Northumberland countryside. Oh and it just happens that he was the child who, twenty years previously, discovered the dragon's lair deep in the London Underground system. Funny the way things work out, eh?
The group's existence is disturbed by the appearance of a team of American 'dragon slayers', led by Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey looking for all the world like a cross between a WWF superstar and Albert Steptoe). This leads to a whole set of stand-offs between Quinn and Van Zan as they compare muscle sizes and generally roll about on the floor in a manner that is in no homo-erotic, before deciding they have to work together if they're going to defeat the dragons.
It's a movie that at times can be very arresting at times, visually. Especially during the climax, set in a burnt out London that looks exactly as it did in the aftermath of the Poll Tax riots. It's quite something see hordes of dragons flying over a Palace of Westminster that has been reduced to nothing but a shell. At other times, however, the CGI effects do look remarkably cheap and cheerful.
The main performances are fine (aside from Bale's hilarious tough cockney accent, which really does have to be heard to be believed) and the leads are ably supported by Gerard Butler and Isabella Scorupco, who also provides some romantic interest from Quinn. Director Rob Bowman, a veteran of dozens of X Files shows, does his best to keep the pace from slacking but the lack of a truly huge budget does show and some set pieces that should be truly spectacular end up being rather too short and lacking the required killer punch.
All in all though, it's very likely to be the dragon film you'll see all summer.