In present-day London, twelve-year-old Quinn watches as his mother, a construction engineer inadvertently 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 is responsible for warding off the beasts and keeping a small community alive as they eke out a meager existence. Into their midst comes a hotshot American, Van Zan, who says he has a way to kill the beasts and save mankind--a way Quinn's never seen done.
The thought a picture like "Reign of Fire" provokes is that all of the wit the movie has may have been expended in its title. But for much of its running time, "Fire" is loads of fun. It has a jamming B-picture buzz — the kind of swift filmmaking and high spirits that have been missing from movies for a while. The picture starts in contemporary London, when a little boy crawls into an underground space that looks part catacomb and part bowel. Then he sees it: a dragon explodes from the depths, and the movie takes on a fairy-tale horror. Years later, in 2020, where the rest of the action takes place, dragons have taken over the world. — Elvis Mitchell
2002-07-12 | Elvis Mitchell | Read the New York Times Review of Reign of Fire