The setting is Tianhuo, a volcanic island off the Chinese coast. In a prologue that takes place 20 years ago, we see an unexpected and incredibly rapid eruption wreaking havoc on the place. Among those in danger is volcanologist Li Wentao (Wang Xueqi), who can only helplessly watch his wife become one of the victims, a loss that creates a wedge between Wentao and his young daughter Xiaomeng (Hannah Quinlivan). Nowadays, now an adult Xiaomeng herself works as a vulcanologist, leading a volcano watch team for Jack Harris (Jason Issacs), a brash Australian tycoon who turned the island into a luxury resort. and a theme park designed to give them the full volcanic experience. Now you might think building an extremely expensive station at the site where a volcano went extinct the same year “Gladiator” came out – damn it, I got trapped in a faulty ride at Six Flags Great. America over 40 years ago and I haven’t been there since – but he assures visiting potential investors that there is no chance it will become active again for at least 150 years. (“We conquered it for our own entertainment!”)
Of course, when Xiaomeng comes to Jack with his concerns that the volcano is about to erupt, he ignores his warnings – he’s currently strapped for cash and doesn’t want to scare off investors. Xiaomeng, along with supervisor Jiang (Shi Liang) and Wentao, who also knows what’s going to happen and has come to get her daughter to safety, goes to the field for more data and this is when things go wrong. . As the fireballs begin to cascade through the air, instantly wiping out anyone who didn’t make it to the opening credits (those who tend to have a last moment of activity before they disappear), Xiaomeng, Wentao and investors are trying to get to safety. while Jack watches all his dreams literally go up in smoke. And if you thought Taylor Swift’s “Champagne Problems” was the last word on elaborate marriage proposals gone awry, consider Zhengman (Dou Xiao), who arranges an underwater proposal to his girlfriend (An Bai ) to what turns out to be both in the wrong place and at the wrong time.
At this point some of you may have already dismissed “Skyfire” as a clone of “Dante’s Peak” and “Volcano” (both in 1997) with a strand of the “Jurassic Park” movies thrown in to good extent. . Those with longer memories and a taste for disaster movies, on the other hand, will dismiss it as an imitation of the long-forgotten Maven Irwin Allen’s swan song, which also featured a station under attack by an active volcano. This particular film was terrible – one of the worst of a genre not exactly on par with high water – but the sheer desperation it displayed in its attempts to thrill tired moviegoers (if I remember correctly, it’s the exact moment that embarrassed co-stars Paul Newman and Jacqueline Bisset (kissing each other for the first time when the volcano goes out) gives it a certain wacky charm.