[box cover]

Reign of Fire

By the year 2020, fire breathing dragons have taken over the world. Only a handful of survivors remain, and since the world is covered in dragon ash, they're finding it harder and harder to obtain food. Quinn (Christian Bale) and his small group of survivors are confronted by Denton Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey) and his army, who fashion themselves dragon-killers. Working together, they successfully slay one of the beasts, which makes Quinn's town feel better, even if they remain outnumbered. But Van Zan has picked a target that might stop the dragons once and for all — he and his team have theorized that there is only one male that populates the species, and they figure he lives in the heart of London, a city overrun by the creatures. If the idea of a post-apocalyptic dragon movie sounds like your cup of tea, then it will be easy to forgive some of Reign of Fire's faults — the 2002 film is an 'A' movie done with a 'B' budget and cast. It's easy to tell that picture might have been a bit better if it weren't in such a rush to get through all of the plot set-ups. That said, it's an interesting story, even if the script has far too many scenes where a character refuses to reveal information until the last possible second. The effects-work on the monsters is impressive. And the film offers a good apocalyptic veneer by veteran mood-setters, director (and X-Files alum) Rob Bowman and director of photography Adrian Biddle (Aliens). But what gives the movie most interest is the performances: Christian Bale's character is a mix of matron and machismo — as a leader he acts like a mother hen and is always on the lookout for the young. It could be the oddest and most feminine male protagonist in an action film. He's complemented by McConaughey, who plays his role on the edge of sanity, chomping on every scene like it's a cigar continually held in the corner of his mouth. Meanwhile, Bale is supposed to feel some sort of attraction to helicopter pilot Izabella Scorpuco, but he's better paired with Gerald Butler, who plays his sidekick Creedy. Buena Vista presents Reign of Fire in anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) and both DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras include three featurettes: "Breathing Life into Terror," "If You Can't Stand the Heat," and "Conversations with Rob Bowman," along with the theatrical trailer and bonus trailers. Keep-case.

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