This movie is spectacular… spectacularly bad that is. The year is twenty years from today. Fire-breathing dragons have taken over the world, destroying everything in their wake, leaving just a few iron-willed survivors who live a primitive lifestyle, have become very muscular and apparently like to take off their shirts when they work. Their leader, Quinn (Christian Bale) is a moral, principled man who just wants to protect his extended family from the dragons and lead a decent life inside his castle. This utopian dream is upset one day when Denton Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey) shows up at his front gate. Van Zan is a buff American Dragon Slayer who says things like “Let’s rock and roll!” when going into battle with the fire-breathing demons; the kind of guy who pours testosterone on his Wheaties in the morning. With veins popping and eyes bulging McConaughey chews every bit of scenery in sight, sometimes threatening to bite clean through the screen and assail the audience. Bale struggles to turn Quinn into ssomething more than a cardboard character, and as a result never achieves the over-the-top quality of McConaughey. Reign of Fire was directed by Rob Bowman, best known for helming The X-Files on television. He knows a thing or two about how to create a foreboding atmosphere, but his action sequences fall flat. The battle scenes are over-edited to the point where the viewer can’t tell who is who and what they are doing. It dulls impact of the scene when you can’t really tell what is happening on the screen. If you find pumped-up and shirtless heroes entertaining you might like Reign of Fire. If not, stay home and rent Dragonslayer instead.
Posts Tagged ‘Reign of Fire’
Are there five more terrifying words in the English language than, “New Gerard Butler Romantic Comedy”? Butler is a good actor who makes lots of bad movies but his track record in the rom com department is particularly dire.
Critics hate these movies, calling the handsome Scottish actor’s attempts at mixing love and comedy, “instantly grating,” and “embarrassingly limited.” Only Katherine Heigl (Butler’s co-star in The Ugly Truth, called “ugly-ass crap” by Rolling Stone) has a worse track record.
This weekend he stars in Playing for Keeps the true story of a former sports star who pulls his life together through romance and, let’s hope, comedy.
The reviews have yet to come in for Playing for Keeps, but let’s hope it breaks his rom com track record and delivers some mushy, funny fun.
Rather than dwell on the bad stuff, in this column I’ll look at his more interesting performances—and no, that Jennifer Aniston movie won’t be included!
2002 was the year Butler became famous with big roles in Reign of Fire and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, opposite Angelina Jolie. Then he developed into a crossover star, taking roles in everything from sci fi flicks (Timeline), to musicals (The Phantom of the Opera) and even a rendering of the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf (Beowulf & Grendel).
The film that turned him into a heartthrob, but one with serious dramatic chops, was Dear Frankie, a four hankie tearjerker about a single mother who resorts to trickery to keep the memory of her late husband alive in her son’s mind.
It was his next movie, however, that made him (and his meticulously crafted six-pack) a superstar. In 300 he’s King Leonidas, a Spartan who led three hundred soldiers against the might of the Persian army. It’s the film equivalent of a heavy metal concert—loud, brutal and completely uncompromising—and it made him an action hero.
A few years ago the website Gawker placed Butler on movie star probation, calling him a “professional bad decision maker” alongside Cuba Gooding Jr and John Travolta but Hollywood hasn’t been all bad for Butler.
Post 300 highlights include playing a charming mobster in the violent Guy Ritchie flick RocknRolla, voicing Stoick the Vast, the chieftain of a Viking tribe in the animated How to Train Your Dragon and Coriolanus, a modern dress version of a 1608 play by William Shakespeare.