19th Nov2020

‘Skyfire’ Blu-ray Review

by Dom Hastings

Stars: Xueqi Wang, Hannah Quinlivan, Shawn Dou, Jason Isaacs, An Bai, Lingchen Ji, Liang Shi | Written by Wei Bu, Sidney King | Directed by Simon West

“Don’t worry. I am quite hard to kill.”

Simon West – the visionary director behind one of the greatest films of all-time: Con Air – is back with more explosive action on screen in Skyfire … This time it’s volcanic action as an active volcano erupts way ahead of schedule, forcing the rapid evacuation of a theme park built around the exquisitely beautiful Tianhuo Island.

At a young age, Xiao Meng (Hannah Quinlivan) witnessed tragedy when Tianhuo erupted during a science mission led by her family. In the years since, Xiao Meng has grown up and pursued her own journey as a volcanologist, continuing the work started by her parents. With advancements in both technology and the understanding of volcanoes, Xiao Meng and her team are able to monitor volcanic activity to great lengths using their “Zhuque System”. The prestige of their technology and work has landed them the job of green-lighting the safety aspect of the latest attraction within Jack Harris’ (Jason Isaacs) volcanic theme park: a vertical drop, like an elevator, into the volcano itself. Yes, you read that correctly. However, Xiao Meng’s father Wentao (Wang Xueqi) – scarred for life from a volcanic eruption – warns of the dangers (and damn stupidity) of both the new attraction and the theme park in general, but of course, nobody listens to him…until it erupts.

Skyfire views like a spicy buffet of Jurassic Park, the Jurassic World films, Dante’s Peak, Volcano, and even Skyscraper at times. Realistically, next to nothing in this film is at all realistic, however, in the context given, all of the absurd action sequences and moments that occur throughout work …even if something looks batsh*t ridiculous. Notably, director Simon West is rather successful in producing this acceptance and admiration of absurdity, as exemplified with Con Air – an excessive action film, ridiculously over-the-top, but contextually, everything works. Almost 25 years on and Simon West can still pull-off a mind-blowing action film.

Away from the spectacle of Skyfire is a touching story of honour and family. The relationship between daughter and father, Xiao Meng and Wentao, is the central notion that dictates the flow of the film. Everything that occurs is really based around their relationship. If anything, as they have grown apart over the years – mostly down to Wentao’s negligence – the relationship between Xiao Meng and her father is almost like a volcano. Years of nothing and then – bang – everything.

Like the 1997 classics, Dante’s Peak and Volcano, Skyfire too presents a heroic father figure central to the action. Now 74, Wang Xueqi dominates the screen with relentless heroics from start to finish – a monster of a performance. However, the real star is Hannah Quinlivan. Not only is the portrayal ambitious and action oriented, Xiao Meng is a strong and independent character too. Physically powerful and mentally powerful, Hannah Quinlivan’s character of Xiao Meng is undoubtedly at the pinnacle of female representation in the disaster movie and one of the best in contemporary action cinema.

Ultimately, Skyfire is a disaster movie on steroids. Equipped with a mix of decent CGI, awesome practical effects, and ridiculously insane action, Skyfire has to be seen to be believed.

Absolutely WILD.

***** 5/5

Skyfire is released on DVD, Digital and Blu-ray on Novermber 23rd, courtesy of Patriot Films.

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