Skyfire is a gloriously silly disaster movie with none of the knowing sense of the absurd that often bedevils modern entries into a genre popularised in the 1970s in classics such as The Poseidon Adventure, Earthquake, and The Towering Inferno. Already a huge hit at the Chinese Box Office (much of the film is subtitled), Skyfire is nothing more and nothing less than a shameless re-tread of all those joyously entertaining clichés – the dodgy businessman, the professionals warning of dire consequences, the loved-up young couple, the frightened orphaned girl and a father/daughter whose relationship has been fractured by a family tragedy from their past. It’s utterly nuts, wonderfully predictable and sometimes embarrassingly entertaining.
Twenty years after a devastating eruption on the beautiful island of Tianhuo, businessman Jack Harris (Jason Isaacs) is about to open a sprawling new holiday resort on the slopes of the volcano that dominates the island’s skyline. He’s short of funds and hopes that a presentation to a bunch of potential investors will secure not only the future of the rest of the resort but also ease his own financial difficulties. But the volcano is grumbling and Xiaomeng (Hannah Quinlivan) whose mother perished in the earlier eruption, now part of the scientific team monitoring the volcano, finds her warnings brushed aside by Harris whose has been assured that the volcano isn’t expected to spring to life again for at least 150 years. Suffice to say only one is them is right…
Skyfire explodes into life within minutes and if you can cope with the idiotic concept of someone building a leisure complex on the side of an active volcano you’ll find much to enjoy in the explosive special effects and dazzling pyrotechnics that ensue when the volcano blows its top. It’s all preposterous but delightfully thrilling, highlights including a heart-in-mouth monorail sequence and an eye-raisingly insane set piece in which a jeep races to outrun a steaming, raging wall of molten magma.
Skyfire, directed by Simon West, revels in its spectacle (although there are a few slightly dodgy blue screen shots) and its utter disinterest in doing anything other than ticking every box in the ‘disaster movie’ checklist. The film might lava lot to be desired in terms of subtlety, characterisation and plot nuance but it’s a red hot blast of super-heated adventure nonsense pretty much guaranteed to briefly chase away the winter blues.