Set on an island in the Pacific Rim, smack dab in the middle of the Ring of Fire, an area known for volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, the story begins with vulcanologist Meng Li (Hannah Quinlivan) building an early warning system. Her boss, entrepreneur Jack Harris (Jason Isaacs), is a mirror image of Hammond from “Jurassic Park.” Hammond built a theme park where cloned dinosaurs ran amok. Harris’s vision is for an opulent resort at the base of an active volcano.
What could possibly go wrong?
When Harris and his wife JiaHui-Dong (An Bai) invite influencers and investors to luxuriate in the amenities offered in this tropical paradise, Mother Nature kicks up a fuss, spewing red hot lava over Harris’s best laid plans. On top of that, Meng Li’s estranged father shows up just in time to dodge the fireballs falling from the sky.
“Skyfire” is unapologetically cheesy. In best queso scenario (OK, I know these puns are not so grate so I’ll stop now) it should be watched with no expectation except the promise of good, mindless fun. It’s loud and proud, a movie that fills the screen with implausible action and character reactions. By the time it gets to the underwater marriage proposal it’s a contender for the 2021 Special Achievement in Silliness award.
And that’s OK. Veteran action director Simon West, he of “Con Air,” “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” and “The Expendables 2” among others, keeps things lively as giant Styrofoam boulders fly through the air and lava carpets the earth.
Imagine the rumble of 70s disaster flicks like “Earthquake” with the nature-gone-wild plot of “Jurassic Park” and you’ll get the idea.
“Skyfire,” China’s first big-budget disaster movie, is by no means a disaster. It’s an unabashed popcorn flick that revels in its melting pot of clichés, a fondu of clichés if you will, as much as it does its preposterous storytelling.