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Reign of Fire

Reign of Fire (2002)

tomatometer

40

Average Rating: 5.2/10
Reviews Counted: 154
Fresh: 62 | Rotten: 92

An enjoyable B-movie if you don't use your brain.

39

Average Rating: 4.7/10
Critic Reviews: 33
Fresh: 13 | Rotten: 20

An enjoyable B-movie if you don't use your brain.

audience

49

liked it
Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 131,332

My Rating

Movie Info

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

Nov 19, 2002

$42.9M

Buena Vista Distribution Compa - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (169) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (62) | Rotten (92) | DVD (37)

Despite a few epic revelations, we never get a real sense of living, breathing dragons.

November 18, 2002 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Somebody get a hose and put this Fire out.

July 25, 2002
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Peaks early with a vertiginous dogfight; thereafter, spotty CGI and a bamboozling plot conspire toward a colossal anticlimax.

July 16, 2002 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I'm not going to argue that Reign of Fire is a good movie, but it's terribly entertaining it's kind of a classic camp film, so I'm giving it thumbs up.

July 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ultimately fails to come through in the fire-breathing clutch.

July 14, 2002
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The season could do with more grinning, spinning, un-self-important, happy-to-be-B throwback movies like this one.

July 13, 2002 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Reign of Fire is one of the most intense and enjoyable monster flicks I've ever seen.

February 8, 2014 Full Review Source: Georgia Straight

Dragons, man. That's all we're really here to see, and they do not disappoint in the slightest.

December 21, 2012 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

Plodding sci-fi dragon disaster tale is OK for older kids.

September 14, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Garners so much potential for a large exciting universe, but is just a waste of acting talent, special effects and money

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

While the dragons come out blazing, the rest of the movie is blowing smoke.

December 6, 2004
Looking Closer

good entertainment

January 7, 2004 Full Review Source: sbs.is

... Reign of Fire is somehow greater than the sum of its parts.

January 7, 2004 Full Review Source: Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)
Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)

Click to read review

January 7, 2004 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

It's painful to watch actors like McConaughey and Bale, who showed so much potential at one time in their careers, shamelessly overact and spout inane dialogue.

September 6, 2003
Las Vegas Weekly

...McConaughey goes for broke and turns this guy into an amalgam of every hard-nosed soldier previously committed to celluloid.

August 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Roteiro absurdo, história frágil, personagens pouco agradáveis e ação nada empolgante.

July 25, 2003
Cinema em Cena

If London in cinders and medium rare sky-diving soldiers can't get you into the cinema, you're probably one of those people who were never fascinated by matches as a child.

April 8, 2003 Full Review Source: RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)

Reign Of Fire should at least be a marvel of special effects, but alas, even the dragon's not very much fun.

February 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Quips Online
Film Quips Online

Reign of Fire is the schoolyard bully who used to beat the crap out of you during breaks: it is big, loud, dumb and never explains itself.

January 20, 2003 Full Review Source: Sci-Fi Movie Page
Sci-Fi Movie Page

Wouldn't you have thought that a studio about to spend over $90,000,000 on a movie would have begun with a script instead of a few special effects?

November 12, 2002 | Comments (2)
Movie Metropolis

Delivers a fresh, rousing take on the venerable traditions of the monster movie.

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Enquirer

If "Reign of Fire" could have spared a few more bucks to pump up the thrills and spent a little longer working out the story's ending, it might have become one of the highest grossing films of the summer.

October 2, 2002 Full Review Source: MovieCrypt.com
MovieCrypt.com

Reign of Fire contains several scenes in which the screen is filled with immense fire-breathing dragons, but you don't feel the slightest twinge of awe or fear for the size of these creatures or their incredible destructive powers.

October 1, 2002
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

Far too dark and menacing for kids, this fire-dragons story is far too silly for adults. With its M rating, maybe it's intended audience is exactly 15 year old boys.

September 26, 2002 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Audience Reviews for Reign of Fire

[img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]

An excellent set up with a completely satisfying if slightly inadeqaute payoff. The post apocalyptic B movie epic Reign of Fire maintains a sense of genuine danger, anguish and dread. Even whilst assuring the audience not to take any of it too seriously, I found myself thinking that it really was the end of everything. That's an achievement for a film with this many logical flaws and laughable ideas. But essentially what's really needed to make a film about doomsday survivors slaying dragons work is decent CGI creatures. The visuals are in fact stunningly eye popping and look like the real deal. There's also some great cinematography and a handful of strong performances not normally found in an action film. Matthew McConaughey in particular is energetic, believeable and engaging as the bizzare and irrational antihero. So much that Christian Bale is almost overlooked. But not quite, his acting and his believeable Scottish accent is a surprise. As is the script which is a lot less cringe-worthy than I was first expecting. But I can't say the same about the odd lack of dragons shown on screen. There's only ever one dragon on screen with the exception of a single long shot with a whole wing of them. As for the expected explosive ending. It's a lot less fiery than it needs to be and therefore gives us a fairly dissapointing finale. Nevertheless you can't really hate the film unless you're totally immune to any form of cinematic charm, or the spectacle of watching great flying beasts breathing fire and destroying massive landscapes. Overall, the film doesn't explore the potential of it's jaw droppingly exciting premise. Still, it really engrossed me, and I enjoyed the experience of watching it.
December 14, 2012
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Anyone for dragons? a scorched earth where humanity is almost extinct and small bands of survivors scrape along day by day eeking out some form of life in a desolate barren world. The only leaders left to keep the pitiful human morsels alive are 'Batman', 'King Leonidas' and a bald tattooed Texan.

And thus the premise for 'Reign of Fire' is born, like a phoenix from the flames, like the one true ring from the searing heat of Mount Doom, like...I'm going overboard aren't I?. So yeah, totally cool movie title and a wicked idea no doubt, the problem being the final execution of the entire film.

An apocalyptic 'Mad Max' type future with a pocket of human wastrels holed up in an old castle in the north of England. An American ego joins the team (love how the yanks always butt in on a war hehe even in the future!) and together they all fight dragons, only problem is we don't see much of the dragons!. Of course there is dragon action but its few and far between and even then you don't see the dragons too much.
On one hand hiding the beasts does add more mystery and suspense, I can see that notion. But on the other hand we all know what dragons look like and what they do, there's really no need to hide them in the shadows ala Ridley Scott's 'Alien'. End of the day a dragon is a dragon and to be completely honest they aren't that scary, more mythical and fun really, like unicorns.

Other issues with the film is how utterly grey and dull it all looks, so very unexciting. Sure its an apocalyptic world set up north in a sea of ash but lets try make it somewhat visually thrilling for the viewer. The characters are all rather generic and somewhat annoying also, you kinda want to see them get eaten half the time. Bale has his stupid mockney accent again and just shouts all the time, Butler's character just seems pointless and you just know he's gonna end up crispy dragon meat, but McConaughey is more intriguing as the obvious 'Captain Ahab' with muscles and tattoo's.

Other than those three everyone else is unimportant and you couldn't care a less whether they live or die. Although seeing more folk getting baked or eaten by dragons is sorely missing here.

I also recall when this film came out that everyone was half expecting to see epic battles between helicopter gunships and dragons over the skies of London. Why you ask? because the films poster had that rather neat design advertising the fact. So it was disappointing not to see any of that, also disappointing not to see any real epic dragon fights a tall, just lots of flying dragons at a distance, roars, silhouettes and shadows. We finally get to see the big male properly at the end but only seconds before it gets killed, what's the point of that!?.

The whole concept is good and there are some nice moments in the film. The whole team effort of trying to kill a dragon by the Americans is quite fun to watch if somewhat ridiculous. Would you really do all that just to try and kill a dragon if you had a helicopter, lots of guns and a tank? surely you just blast it when its close by, its a pretty big target. Is the skydiving with nets really necessary? I still fail to see how that would even work, which it doesn't in the film haha. Also are dragons immune to bullets or something?? again surely a few good shots in the head, eye, legs or leg joints would at some point bring it down?, meh what do I know eh.

This film is a semi decent fantasy flick and it is fun but its just not as good as it can be. You get the impression there is an epic visual treat lurking which hasn't been fully realised. You can't even say its a good B-movie as the film had a big budget and was suppose to be a blockbuster, it did OK though.

Not bad but really lacking some punch. All I can think of whilst watching is how I could of done things differently to make the film more thrilling and in your face exciting. It just feels like such a wasted chance for a truly rip roaring fantasy, McConaughey's character just about saves the film really, without him it would of been totally dry. He goes down in epic glory too which was cool.

Final heat/fire pun...this film was definitely not as hot as it could have been, zing!.
November 26, 2012
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

In a world razed to the ground by a plague of dragon like creatures, a motley crew of survivors decide to strike back and hunt the sole male of the species. I'd love to have sat in on the pitch to the studio for this movie! "Well, you see, they're digging a tunnel for the London underground, and they, like, unearth these dragons that have been living there since the dawn of time..." The whole premise is of course absolutely ridiculous, but this B-movie creature feature was given the A-list treatment and what emerges is a reasonably entertaining monster mash. Some great effects and a good eye from Rob Bowman who uses the dark, flames and cinders to great atmospheric effect make for a very nice looking film, all set in some nice gothic landscapes of desolate wastelands, castles and destroyed cities. A quality cast also certainly helps, with a typically intense Christian Bale aided by the usually hateful Matthew McConaughey who is actually pretty amusing as the shaven headed, bare chested ball of testosterone who rides into town straddled across his enormous phallus ("There's only one thing worse than dragons. Americans."!) It also has a couple of really well handled action sequences, but at the same time it never quite recovers from the fact that the idea it's all built upon is so damn silly. It really could have done with a sense of humour, but as a whole it's a Road Warrior/Jaws hybrid that's pretty entertaining if you can make it past the whole dragons vs, helicopters concept.
August 18, 2011
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

    1. Denton Van Zan: Don't be a fool. We do this easy or we can do this real easy.
    – Submitted by Tarek T (17 months ago)
View all quotes (1)

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