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Review: Computer game questions should never be asked

HAVE you ever been ensnared by a computer action game? Ever played Dungeons & Dragons and regretted you didn't have a record of the brave deeds you did to share with your friends afterwards?
Don't sweat it - it's just been done. Rob Bowman's film Reign of Fire is exactly what we're talking about - a fantastic action game that incorporates elements of Highlander and Mad Max to boot. And that's both the long and the short of it.
A brief orientation: Dragons have been awoken after millions of years in hibernation, and start eating every living thing while scorching the face of the planet.


FIGHTING dragons with axes.
photo: Courtesy of Buena Vista

2084: Reign of Fire

Running time: 1 hr. 48 min.
Starring: Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey, Izabella Scorupco, Gerard Butler, Alexander Siddig
Directed by: Rob Bowman
Rating: 6 out of 10
See page 11 for movie times in Slovakia

HAVE you ever been ensnared by a computer action game? Ever played Dungeons & Dragons and regretted you didn't have a record of the brave deeds you did to share with your friends afterwards?

Don't sweat it - it's just been done. Rob Bowman's film Reign of Fire is exactly what we're talking about - a fantastic action game that incorporates elements of Highlander and Mad Max to boot. And that's both the long and the short of it.

A brief orientation: Dragons have been awoken after millions of years in hibernation, and start eating every living thing while scorching the face of the planet.

Mankind has been reduced to a few hardy communities resisting the lethal assaults of the bloodthirsty ancient beasts. One such community is a tiny group of English 'partisans' who have founded their 21st century base at a medieval castle in the highlands of Ireland.

Audiences may find themselves, as so often when confronted by logic-defying science fiction plots, by the questions "why?" and "how?". They may also find themselves snorting with derision as yet another ridiculous sequence unfolds while, as yet another plot line is allowed to disintegrate.

But don't be dismayed. The directors clearly endorse the 'willing suspension of disbelief' approach, expecting one thing of their viewers: Don't think too much.

The creators of this movie apparently had one goal in mind: To re-enact the many forgotten dreams of childhood, when fantasy and special effects took massive precedence over rational scruples.

If you can put all of your adult skepticism aside, you will find a lot to enjoy in the heroic, post-apocalyptic, heretically colourful world that the film creates. Or, rather, re-creates (the deserted world's hero is a Mad Max rip-off, his machine gun a Terminator thrownack, the infuriated dragon a Dungeons & Dragons special, and the hero's horse a perfect double for the brute in the Highlander sequences.

Again, if you don't think too much, you'll be blown away by the brilliant computer animation, such as the set of a ruined post-war London encircled by a flock of dragons.

The movie culminates in typical action style, with the good guys prevailing. If you have set out to enjoy rather than think, that's both a satisfying and apt conclusion.

If, however, you're a thinking addict, you may find your brow vexed with questions. Where did the survivors driving the heavy military cars and helicopters get their supplies from when their civilisation was in ruins and everyone was hiding underground? How can a truck-sized dragon enfold an entire castle in his wings? What makes the dragons attack in the first place?

But if you're a fan of computer games, you'll probably have answered such questions long ago.

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