2002 Certificate: 12


Matthew McConaughey goes all Mad Max while Christian Bale goes a bit, er, Frank Butcher as they battle with fire-breathing dragons in Northumberland. Surprisingly set a couple of decades in the future - where dragons have almost extinguished humanity - Quinn (Bale) is fighting to hold on to his legacy and the only solid reminder of his childhood, when a group of Americans, led by the cigar-chomping Van Zan (McConaughey) show up and claim to have discovered a way to kill the dragons. Former Bond girl Izabella Scorupco feels the heat.


  • Rob Bowman


  • Matthew McConaughey

  • Christian Bale

  • Izabella Scorupco

  • Gerard Butler


In one scene of this sci-fi fantasy, reptilian creatures from the dark ages mill around the Houses of Parliament. And it's not just the MPs.

In fact, the honourable members disappeared quite some time before and fire-breathing dragons now rule the roost over the Palace of Westminster.

Actually, they rule the roost pretty much everywhere after unwitting schoolkid Quinn woke up the father of the species 20 years before in a London Tube tunnel.

Now Quinn (Bale) is in charge of one of the only remaining settlements - a remote castle in the bleak and forebidding wastes of Northumberland (some things never change).

The dragon and its pernicious offspring have razed the earth for food and now they are going hungry and getting more vicious.

Suddenly, out of the mist, comes American hotshot Van Zan (McConaughey) at the head of a column of tanks and troop carriers.

While Quinn is content to grow apples and cauliflowers, Van Zan thinks he knows how to slay the monsters and is on the warpath.

Will they politely agree to differ and go their separate ways? Well, I think we all know the answer to that one.

While offering nothing new, director Bowman, who cut his teeth on The X-Files, has put together a highly effective adventure yarn.

The setpieces are well-handled - just clock the particularly gripping cat and mouse chase with a dragon, featuring a chopper and some lucky skydivers as bait.

Plaudits must go to visual effects supervisor Richard R Hoover, whose flying beasts winningly adhere to the 'less is more' concept which served Alien so well.

If you are prepared to overlook the gaping holes in the plot (how did the Yanks wind up on Tyneside?) then this one definitely has wings.

Tim Evans