A review of ďReign of FireĒ by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: **

Rating: PG-13 for dragonlike intensity

Run Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

 

London, 2020 A.D.A massive swarm of vigorous, fire-breathing dragons has taken over the planet, living on ash and feeding on death. Quinn (Christian Bale), the sole survivor of the initial London attack over twenty years previously, heads a struggling community of Road Warrior-esque nomads who fight fire with fire, determined to stay alive.

Enter a hotshot American rebel simply known as Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey), a cocky, one-man wrecking crew with a motley team of marauders in tow.With a refurbished chopper outfitted with a 3-D mapping device, and a pair of large cajones, Van Zan appears at the English outpost and offers to manhandle a few dragons.

Itís not everyday that a post-apocalyptic dragonslayer comes to town.Hell, itís not everyday that winged, inferno-spewing creatures inhabit the Cineplex.But here they are, for better or for worse; in this case the muddled grey area in between.

The dragons themselves are impressive.Intelligent, highly evolved, and visually a cut above their 1950s, B-movie counterparts.They donít like sharing the planet, and prove it by reproducing a hundred for every one thatís eradicated. What say we destroy the suckers and rescue mankind?

Bale is the heart of this almost-but-not-quite guilty pleasure.He manages to command respect up against both blue screen and his fellow tribesmen.His authority is pure and resolute, his testosterone level mercifully in check.The same canít be said for McConaughey, who tries (and fails) to control the screen with swaggering machismo and over-the-top lunacy (think a boisterous Mel Gibson in ďMad MaxĒ) while spewing out putrid dialogue like ďWe can do this easy, or we can do this real easyĒ. Heís buff, heís armed, and heís pissed off at the world.

Cherubic, monochromatic-fashioned tribe children recite their evening dragon prayers en masse. The skeletal skyline of post-dragon-devastated London looms in the background. Production is hip, futuristic cool, the model playground for a classic man vs. beast conflict.

Dignity and instinct are all these people have left to transform this tyrannical species to dust, and itís going to take every last bit of both.Plus your hard-earned $9.00.