VOD REVIEW: China’s Skyfire a formulaic disaster flick

China’s attempt to make a foreign-language disaster film for the masses isn’t a total misfire, but it never distinguishes itself enough to be much different from any other genre film before it.

Skyfire is a well-shot movie about a volcano that erupts on Tianhuo Island, leaving those unfortunate enough to live around the Pacific Rim in a fight against nature.

It’s great-looking and the actors, including Bee Rogers, Xueqi Wang, Liang Shi and British Jason Isaacs in a hero role for a change. They’re all interesting and serviceable, which is surprising, given the cardboard cut-out writing.

Director Simon West can direct a fun action flick, but he’s well past his expiry date. His last marquee movie was Stallone-starrer Expendables 2, which wasn’t particularly memorable.

West’s days of glory, during which he directed guilty pleasures Con Air and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, are done, and though Skyfire is in his wheelhouse, he doesn’t do anything close to innovative with the concept.

I’m a huge fan of foreign-language cinema, and it was really nice to see China go a bit more mainstream with their fare here. But sadly, a bit more effort needed to go into the substance, not the special effects.

2/5 Stars

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