When it comes to the movies of 2020, of the many, many things I have missed throughout the year, watching big budget blockbusters is at the top of my list. Those daft, over-the-top, effects-driven movies are a staple of every summer season, and over the years they have provided me with endless entertainment, regardless of whether they were any good or not.
This year, due to the global pandemic, blockbusters have all but disappeared. With cinema attendance low (or in many cases, non-existent) the big movie studios have chosen not to release their most high-profile movies through a fear of losing out on their investment.
While I don’t blame the studios for their decision to hang fire on the release of Black Widow, Godzilla vs. Kong, and Fast & Furious 9 amongst others, my craving for high-action drama is reaching a fever pitch. Thank heavens then for the release of Skyfire, a movie you probably haven’t heard of, but really should pay attention to – especially if you are missing blockbusters.
Directed by Simon West, Skyfire is a Chinese disaster movie about a theme park built around a volcano. The movie stars Wang Xueqi, Hannah Quinlivan, Shawn Dou, and British actor, Jason Isaacs.
In the movie, a rich businessman – played by Isaacs – builds a theme park next to an active volcano. He uses this element of danger to lure in tourists, claiming his park is the perfect “destination for the selfie generation.”
But of course, with this being a disaster movie, and the concept of building a theme park around a volcano being A REALLY STUPID IDEA, it’s not long before the volcano erupts and everyone is in danger. Cue various scenes of tourists running away from lava, as the once tranquil island turns into hell on Earth.
Skyfire was released in China back in December 2019, however, it is only now making its way over to the UK. It is currently available to rent through all the major streaming platforms, including iTunes and Amazon, and is certificate 12, so is suitable for most of the family.
Now I know what you are thinking, Skyfire sounds completely bonkers. Well, yes, of course it does, but this is one of the many reasons you should watch it.
First and foremost, Skyfire’s director Simon West has experience at bringing explosive fun to the big screen. He previously helmed Con Air (1997), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), and The Expendables 2 (2012), and he was also the director on a number of pop videos, including Mel & Kim’s ‘Respectable’, and Rick Astley’s legendary ‘80s track, ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’.
The second reason you should watch Skyfire is because it can be best described as Jurassic Park (1993) meets Dante’s Peak (1997). In short, it takes the fun of Jurassic Park, and simply replaces the dinosaurs with all the volcanic action from Dante’s Peak.
You want to see scenes of tourists being shown a bunch of dinosaurs, like what happens in Jurassic Park? Well, you can’t have that – but how about a scene where tourists get shown a volcano instead?
You want to relive the pulse-pounding chase sequence from Jurassic Park, where the T-Rex almost eats some of the movie’s biggest stars? Well, you can’t have that either – but you can have a scene in which some of Skyfire’s top actors are in a jeep and being chased by lava!
You can also have lots of explosions, a few deaths, some drama, a deadly monorail sequence, some moments which completely defy logic, an emotive musical score, and Jason Isaacs popping up every once in a while, to put on a South African accent!
Why is Jason Isaacs doing a South African accent in a movie which largely features people speaking in Chinese? I HAVE NO IDEA – but I love it!
And if all that wasn’t enough, the end credits of the movie feature a pop ballad! A bloody pop ballad – just like all the big blockbusters of yesteryear.
Skyfire is essentially a ‘90s disaster movie which has arrived 30 years late. It has zero originality, and yes, it is complete nonsense, but boy, oh boy, the film is a heck of a lot of fun. Once the action gets going it never lets up, moving from one set piece to the next, and this makes for an entertaining 90-minutes.
If you have kids who don’t mind reading subtitles, and you’re mindful of the 12-certificate, then this really is the movie you need in 2020. Grab the biggest bag of popcorn, stock up on the soft drinks, switch off your brain, and simply enjoy the spectacle and complete absurdity of this bizarre action movie.