Comfortable and Furious

Reign of Fire (2002)

This is a post-apocalyptic movie about guys in helicopters fighting dragons. From where I stand, that premise is nearly fool-proof. Post apocalyptic movies are cool, dragons are cool and large-scale carnage is what expensive movies are all about.

So what went wrong? It’s a bit hard to say. I mean, I really don’t mind the inconsistencies and holes. Like how the dragons are supposed to eat ash but only eat living humans on screen or the fact that there isn’t much of a story. No, the problem with this film is not that it’s a bad movie, but that it isn’t a good, bad movie. Here are four key errors made by the producers of Reign of Fire that contributed to the film’s inadequacy.

(1) The Slayer song, “Raining Blood” is not used even once during the entire film. This is a flaw shared by most films, but here the sin is unforgivable. Reign of Fire and “I shall reign in blood,” Slayer, and a movie about dragons, it’s a perfect match. Imagine the first hints of an impending dragon attack as we hear the beginning of main part of “Raining Blood,” the part where the drums go, “bu – bu – bum. Bu – bu – bum.” Then as the dragon comes over the hill, we hear that wicked fill and opening riff. As the tempo picks up, the dragon unleashes a stream of fire incinerating a church full of people. Talk about a missed opportunity – this could have been one of the golden moments in the history of cinema. No shit.

(2) This movie should have been directed by John Carpenter. Sure, the man is a bit past his prime, but certain jobs require certain men. No actor in history other than Bruce Campbell should or could have played the role of Ash in the Evil Dead flicks. Rock n Roll High School would have been a lesser film had it starred any band other than The Ramones. When you make a movie about Dragons and men fighting it out in a post-apocalyptic future, you get John Carpenter to direct.

(3) The total absence of sexy wenches. You have dragons, you need sexy wenches. Doesn’t matter if it’s the future, a parallel universe or an animated kid’s film. This isn’t really rocket science. Dragons go with heavy metal and sexy, submissive wenches. Nothing against Izabella Scorupco. She had a relatively cool character, but where was the revealing chain mail?

(4) Not enough Gore. The film makers should have taken a queue from Starship Troopers.

In fact, if John Carpenter was busy for some reason, Paul Verhoven would have done a fine job with this film. The Dragons should have been biting people in half and spraying blood all over the place. Limbs should have been flying left and right. Intestines should have spilled. Splatter me! Even the clean violence was rather infrequent.

I still enjoyed myself at times, but only because the premise of this film is so cool that nothing could really ruin it for me. If I’m a big shot in twenty years, I’ll have Carpenter or Verhoven do a remake.

Ruthless Ratings

  • Number of times someone’s head was bitten or knocked off by a dragon – 0
  • Number of times a woman was seen wearing tattered, post-apocalyptic clothes that cover two inches of her thighs – 0
  • Number of times two dragons grabbed someone at the same time and tore him in half – 0
  • Number of scenes in which skydivers plummet fearlessly toward
    the ground while being chased by dragons and one guy can’t open his
    shoot because the dragon is too close – 1
  • Number of times someone is distracted by a sexy wench in
    chain-mail as a dragon stealthily swoops down and chomps him, spraying
    blood all over the girl – 0
  • Number of times the soundtrack made you reach for your broadsword – 0 (that is bad)
  • Number of times the movie was paused to do something else – 0
  • Number of times something else was done without pausing the movie – 1
  • Number of minutes it took you the next day to remember how the
    film ended and whether or not you had even watched the ending – 45