Starring: Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey, Izabella Scorupco, Gerard Butler, Scott Moutter, David Kennedy, Alexander Siddig, Ned Dennehy
Review: In present-day London, 12-year-old Quinn watches as his mother wakes an enormous fire-breathing beast from its centuries-long slumber. Twenty years later, much of the world has been scarred by the beast and its offspring. As a fire chief, Quinn (Christian Bale) is responsible for warding off the beasts and keeping a community alive as they eke out a meager existence. Into their midst comes a hotshot American, Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey), who says he has a way to kill the beasts.
Reign of Fire is neither terrible or very good. It's just like any other post-apocalyptic, end-of-the-world film you may have ever seen. Living conditions are rough, everyone is dirty, and there is some kind of threat to humanity. In this case, that threat is a horde dragons and the only person alive who seemingly knows how to kill them is a bald, bearded, combative Matthew McConaughey. This film benefits from a lot of starpower as Christian Bale, McConaughey, and Gerard Butler all contribute to a pretty heralded cast. Bale and McConaughey are our hero and anti-hero here. Bale is trying to do right by his colony that looks to him as a leader, all while continuously butting heads with the more radical McConaughey. There are plenty of good action sequences and the dragons look great given the 2002 release year. For me, this movie didn't really do anything to re-invent the wheel, but it was a mostly entertaining film. It's a movie that I'd certainly watch if it were on TV, but probably not seek out on my own. If you like dragons or want to see McConaughey doing McConaughey things as an abrasive psychopath, then this movie may just be right up your alley!
Fun Fact: Reign of Fire was filmed in Ireland in the Wicklow Mountains. They were allowed to film there under the condition that they clean up entirely after themselves, without damaging the landscape.