Directed by: Simon West
Written by: Wei Bu & Sidney King
Starring: Xueqi Wang, Hannah Quinlivan, Shawn Dou, An Bai, Jason Isaacs
BBFC Classification: 12
It’s disaster movie a-go-go as Skyfire leaves no trope untouched in its quest to bombard the viewer with as much fire and fury as it can in 90 minutes. And on those terms, Skyfire succeeds. Jack Harris (Isaacs) has built a state-of-the-art hotel and theme park at the base of an active volcano (silly man!) hoping to give adventure seekers the ultimate thrill, all the while being pampered in luxury. But no sooner have the first guests arrived and Harris’s fortune looks set than (wouldn’t you know it!) the volcano erupts sending the island into chaos. It’s then up to the team of volcanologists’ based on the island and led by the plucky Meng LI (Quinlivan) to save the day and get as many people off the island as possible.
Once the volcano erupts, it’s pretty much disaster movie set-pieces and clichés from there on out. And for a movie about a volcano erupting and destroying a multi-million-dollar theme park, that’s exactly what we want. Sure, there is some back story to go along with all the volcanic chaos as Meng Li’s mother was killed by said erupting volcano many years previous and she still holds a grudge against her volcanologist father (Xueqi Wang), who has shown up on the island to tell everyone how stupid they all are. However, Skyfire lives up to its title and delivers oodles of fire reigning from the sky chaos and destruction. Which, if you’re watching this type of film is exactly what you (should) want.
As is the norm these days, the disaster action is rendered via a ton of CGI and that is certainly the case here. However, the makers do find a good balance between practical and CGI action often combining the two to thrilling effect. The CGI is for the most part of a high standard (despite a few ropey sequences) and is certainly needed to create all the lava-based danger seen. Hollywood director Simon West (Con Air, The Expendables 2), making his Chinese blockbuster debut, brings his considerable action skill to proceedings and delivers satisfying set-pieces and ample amounts of hot magma destruction. There’s a creative and thrilling set-piece involving the island’s monorail and plenty of out-running rampaging lava that should satisfy most disaster movie fans.
The volcano-based destruction and island setting give the film an impressive visual style and while it perhaps all takes itself a little too seriously, if you can go with the (lava) flow, Skyfire is a lot of disaster movie fun.
Skyfire will be released on DVD & Digital 23rd November 2020 from Patriot Films. No special features available at time of review.