By Scott Brown
Updated March 17, 2020 at 03:06 AM EDT
Reign of Fire: Jonathan Hession

Reign of Fire

  • Movie

There’s a mighty beast at the heart of Reign of Fire. It snorts and spits and sashays around pelvis first. It paws the air like a mad thing, as if groping for invisible bongos. It’s got fur where it shouldn’t. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Matthew McConaughey: Bald, tattooed, cocooned in sheer bearded weird, he bestrides the screen like a frowsy, freaky colossus.

He’s Denton Van Zan, dragon slayer. Also proud American, turgid rhetorician, and Patton to a ragtag band of postapocalyptic militiamen known as the Kentucky Irregulars. (That sound you hear is thousands of jug bands frantically renaming themselves.) ”Envy the country that has heroes!” Van Zan crows to the whinging Brits he’s come to liberate from a plague of globe-scorching basilisks (over the protests of their lachrymose, soft-on-lizards leader, played by Christian Bale). ”Pity the country that needs ’em.”

Episode Recaps

What exactly was going through McConaughey’s mind as he prowled around Rob Bowman’s rubble-strewn set? Did he presciently envision himself as a living, shvitzing, scenery-chewing embodiment of the Bush doctrine? Or was he merely seeking his inner Moreau? Be certain of this much: The guy’s committed. So is ”Reign of Fire.” It’s that rare battle-of-the-accents fantasy (think Highlander) in which post-D&D ludicrousness is matched only by its utter sincerity. So don’t even bother resisting. Or else the dragons have already won. ”Reign”: B McConaughey: A+

Reign of Fire

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 102 minutes