Note: Available to view for residents in British Columbia
If anyone is wondering what Simon West of The Expendables 2 and Tomb Raider fame has been up to last year, prior to the pandemic, he was in China directing Skyfire.
His work is nowhere near the same level of 2012, a disaster flick of epic proportions. Instead, it’s toned down and borrows slightly from Dante’s Peak. The only difference is that this film features a very active volcano on the island of Tianhuo. Jack (Jason Isaacs) builds a resort here, and he believes he can profit from showing off how man has tamed Nature. Although this actor has done other films after Harry Potter, seeing him here is a treat.
Just like another certain film franchise, we have the warnings from Li Wentao (Wang Xueqi) about the futility of making such a wonderland work. The only difference is that he lost his wife to an eruption in the past. His daughter, Xiaomeng (Hannah Quinlivan) isn’t happy either, and the plot about them maybe reconciling (maybe) drives this movie more than watching an island blow-up like in the first act of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
It’s hilarious to see the futility of man versus nature in this film because unless there’s some future tech with an invention to calm Mother Nature down, she’ll burst a blood vessel (or zit) anytime she wants.
Ultimately, this film is another take on Jurassic Park. The only difference is that it’s filled with cameos from Chinese celebs, and not all of them have a lengthy story arc to fill. Also, this film isn’t afraid to show people dying–falling to their doom or smashed by a debris. It’s not gory, but driven with enough Hollywood-isms to make it a seminal popcorn movie Roland Emmerich is famous for. Essentially, it’s a what if scenario of realizing a modern day Pompeii being engulfed. No matter what, it’s impossible to escape Nature’s fury.
All I recommend is to see the original Mandarin language presentation. You hear the right passion behind the performances than the dub (to which this film is graded by).
3 Stars out of 5
(4 for the original language presentation)