I don’t know about you but I’m always in the mood for a good disaster movie! I love seeing property getting destroyed, cities in ruins, people fleeing for their lives and enjoying the distinct pleasure of seeing a certain character type (typically the idiot or cruel person) getting killed by said disaster. In short, I’m a glutton for these genre of movies and my hunger is never satisfied. The only exception are the movies that are made from The Asylum, those are just some sad examples. Skyfire is the newest line of disaster movies to hit the On Demand section of the countless apps we now explore on a daily basis and if you’re thinking that the title sounds a bit goofy, I can assure you that’s it’s for real. Being that this movie was originally released back in 2019 it’s just now hitting the American market and all I can say is that if you’re looking for a good popcorn movie about destruction then Skyfire is one to add to your watch-list.
Located in the heart of the “Ring of Fire” in the South Pacific is the island of Tianhuo. It’s a lush island that features the scenic views, the breathtaking beaches; a place to call paradise if you will. With all things that are beautiful there’s almost always a price to pay and that is the looming volcano that overshadows the resort that has just opened on the island! A large hotel resort has been built on this island in the hopes that tourists would venture here to experience the dark side of nature. Only this time, man has controlled nature because we understand it better.
With that kind of logic, you’d think the weather that’s produced by the Earth would bend to the will of the inhabitants of this planet but as we all know, that is something that is impossible. Jack Harris (Jason Isaacs) is the man who designed and built this island. On this specific day, he’s giving a tour of the island to a new group of investors to explore what Phase II will include on this island. With Phase I, the resort has been built and even a rail system has been established allowing the passengers and tourists to explore the island from up high while making a stop to venture into the depths of an active volcano!
While viewing the scenic views and amazing greenery during the tour I was amazed that even the first round of investors would even agree to an idea such as this one. Sure, the volcano is active but it isn’t going to blow anytime soon am I right? Wrong, the volcano is telling a story and a young volcanologist Meng Li (Hannah Quinlivan) is setting up equipment and field tests to better understand this looming beast. Her comrades are also on the case and discover the full potential of danger that this volcano poses to the resort and the entire island. After pleading with the arrogant and halfhearted Mr. Harris, all the warnings and urging to evacuate the island go unheard, and to everyone’s surprise the volcano has become angry and is making itself known that it means business and then we’re off to see who lives and who succumbs to the horrid death of a volcanic eruption.
This film was directed by Simon West (The Expendables 2 and Stolen) and while his career has been less than celebratory, he does a good job in crafting the story and delivering the thrills and excitement of trying to survive what can be best described as “Hell on Earth”. The special effects are spectacular even though there are a few moments that will leave baffled as to how they can look so poorly even for just a second. The supporting cast includes Meng Li’s estranged father Wentao (Xueqi Wang) who has a history with this volcano and a strained relationship with his daughter and the lover to be Zhengnan (Shawn Dou) who dares to propose to his girlfriend while chaos envelops the island! The result is a fun, entertaining disaster movie that has enough dramatic heft to keep us interested but in reality we just want to be enthralled by the volcano who is the true ruler of this island.
Score 3 out of 5
Skyfire is China’s first big-budget disaster film and in many ways, it feels relatively fresh despite the use of consistent disaster movie cliches. The actors were compelling, the destruction sequences are thrilling except for some poor CGI moments and I was entertained during the ninety minute runtime. It’s a fun movie that doesn’t require you to think about it too much although you may start to question how the characters are able to walk or run around freely without needed a face covering or mask to protect them from the volatile gases that are emitted from the volcano. Perhaps it wasn’t as dangerous as they thought! Still, Skyfire is a joyous movie that delivers the goods and for a disaster flick, it gets the job done and I enjoyed it. If not for anything else, the title alone is enough to make you stop and wonder to yourself, “Skyfire, what a weird title.”