Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

St. Petersburg Times Online

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This dragon's tale a fire-breathing flop

Billy photo
Read Billy's movie reviews on his special archive page.

© St. Petersburg Times
published July 22, 2002

Movie: Reign of Fire

  • Rating: PG-13 for intense-action violence.

Summary: In the not-too-distant future, a new species has begun to evolve. These fire-breathing dragons have obliterated most of the world, except for a few groups who have been able to evade the menacing monsters. Quinn Abercromby (Christian Bale), the leader of one of these colonies, and the rest of his people come in contact with a group of American military radicals captained by the hotshot bruiser Denton Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey). The Americans claim they have a method of killing the dragons, so the two groups merge with their hopes set on wiping out the beasts.

A dude, a woman and another dude, all looking rough and tough
[Spyglass Entertainment Group photo]
Matthew McConaughey, Izabella Scorupco, and Christian Bale in Reign of Fire.
My view: This film didn't impress me at all. The story might not have been so bad if it was played out better. Most of the acting was unconvincing and amateurish. The dragons, though detailed and kind of cool-looking, were just too fake. This is a dud.

Favorite part: The only thing that prevented this movie from being a total failure was McConaughey. He's extremely versatile and is able to cover a variety of roles very well. Kudos to him for trying to make the best out of a stinky film.

Least favorite part: The action sequences were horribly cluttered and confusing. They were obviously intended to be elaborate and exciting, but they ended up leaving me baffled and wondering what had just occurred.

Recommendations: Your money would be better spent on just about anything else.

Grade: D-

-- Billy Norris, 14, will be in the ninth grade at Seminole High School and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

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