Film Review: Skyfire

STUDIO: Screen Media | DIRECTOR: Simon West | CAST: Xueqi Wang, Hannah Quinivan, Shawn Dou, Jason Isaacs, Liang Shi
RELEASE DATE: Jan. 12, 2021
SPECS: R | 97 min. | Action

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  1/2

If Jurassic Park and Dante’s Peak had a baby it would be Skyfire. Billing itself as the first volcano action adventure-themed Chinese produced film for world audiences, it’s definitely a movie that doesn’t skimp on the action, beginning from its pulse pounding opening scene.

Young Meng (Hannah Quinlivan, Skyscraper) lives with her volcanologist parents in the beautiful paradise of Tianhuo Island in the Pacific Rim’s “Ring of Fire” volcanic belt. As the family is out conducting a routine scientific study, the volcano violently erupts and Meng’s mother dies tragically. Twenty years later, the island is now home to the world’s only volcano theme park and resort, the brainchild of its reckless luxury resort owner (Jason Isaacs, Harry Potter franchise) who uses the volcano as a gimmick to attract tourists looking for “safe danger.” Meng is now part of the resort’s scientific team and has created “Zhuque” a cutting-edge volcanic warning system in an effort to avoid further deaths. Her father Wentao (Xueqi Wang, Iron Man 3) senses danger and reluctantly returns to the island to try to convince Meng to leave. It is certainly no spoiler to say that despite having Zhuque in place, the volcano unexpectedly erupts, reigning fire and chaos across the island.

Skyfire contains many of the disaster film genre’s typical tropes – the evil businessman, the lost child in danger, the lone voice of reason being ignored – but they don’t hamper  veteran action director Simon West (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, The Mechanic), from delivering the goods. At 97 minutes, his pacing is tight and assured, moving from one crazy scene to the next with rollercoaster-like speed and precision. Aside from a few cheesy green screen moments, most of the special effects are extremely well-done and there are some cleverly unique sequences that provide the level of excitement one is looking for in this type of movie spectacle.

It’s also great to see an action pic that is headlined by Asian actors who are allowed to speak in their native tongue for much of the film. (Note to distributor: larger subtitles makes for easier viewing). Stars Quinlivan and Wang give it their all and Isaacs twirls his imaginary mustache just enough to get the point across.

To fully enjoy the thrill ride that is Skyfire, you’ll need to suspend your disbelief a bit. That means accepting a resort at the base of an active volcano that actually lowers guests inside it. And one that seemingly has no detailed evacuation plan in case it erupts. Who’s going to insure this place?

There is no rule saying an action film can’t also feature a smart, logical story and Skyfire certainly doesn’t. But, if you are looking for nothing more than a frothy, fun, run for your life entertainment, than Skyfire is for you.

Watch Skyfire

About Janine

Janine is a dedicated fan of the 1940 film Kitty Foyle, directed by Sam Wood, written by Dalton Trumbo and starring Ginger Rogers, who won an Oscar for her portrayal. And seeing that film is all it took to make her a lifelong movie lover. Janine is excited to add her insights to the great team at