Skyfire

12 Blu-ray, DVD

There appears to be a growing popularity in participating in dangerous activities, such as being dunked into a sea in a cage surrounded by hungry sharks, or jumping off a bridge on a bit of elastic, or voting for a president who used to be a TV star. You know, dangerous stuff like that.

This latest disaster flick takes the concept a tad further, with the development of a theme park on an island. Now that in itself doesn’t sound terribly dangerous, but when you factor in that it’s a volcanic island, then things really start to heat up.

boom reviews Skyfire
Now hang on, did I turn the gas off?!

Preparing for the second phase of his unique resort is Jack Harris (Jason Isaacs). He has possible investors on the island, and he’s hoping to seal the deal with them asap. So he sends them on a tour with his wife, as they take in the incredible USP of the island – being able to travel into its bubbling lava centre.

It sounds crazy, but he has a team of scientists, including Meng Li (Hannah Quinlivan), monitoring all volcanic activity, and according to their data, it’s not expected to erupt for 150 years.

But another scientist, Professor Jiang (Liang Shi), is less convinced, and he has a vested interested in the island, as his daughter is Meng Li.

After looking at the data himself, he’s convinced that the volcano is going to erupt far sooner that in 150 years time – like a lot sooner.

So despite not being on the best talking terms with Meng Li, he decides that he will pay her a visit and tell her to leave with him immediately.

Jiang’s projection is more accurate than expected however, as the volcano erupts into life just as he reaches his daughter. And when a volcano stirs from its slumber on an unsuspecting population, including many tourists already enjoying the resort, everyone’s going to feel the heat.

boom reviews Skyfire
This spa day hasn't gone quite to plan.

It may well seem that we’re all living the worst kind of disaster flick – saved from actually being the worst until the zombies finally arrive – but there’s nothing really like a disaster film to take your mind off things. And British director Simon West’s film will certainly do that.

And although West is British, this is a Chinese film, with a mostly Chinese cast, and Chinese dialogue. Luckily for token Brit Isaacs, he gets to speak English throughout, possibly as China appreciates the British baddie.

But if there were any barriers where language is concerned, then they are burnt to a cinder by the flying fire missiles from the Earth’s crust that are soon whizzing all over the place.

West brings his enthusiasm for high octane action flicks to this feature too, with a number of impressive set pieces. They could almost help forgive the films lack of originality, as it often feels like a rip-off of another well known franchise featuring rampant dinosaurs.

As there is only so much you can do with an exploding island, West pushes the relationship dynamic of his characters to good effect, without feeling like it’s slowing the pace of the action.

It’s a silly premise, undoubtedly, but it’s thrilling set pieces and energetic demeanour make for what is a highly welcome distraction on the global disaster front.

we give this three out of five

***To read our interview with the film's director Simon West, click here***