This film is truly volcanic and keeps you going right till the end. The characters are believable as is the situation in that Los Angeles does indeed sit on an active fault line that could give at any moment. This is a film that you can watch again and again and be entertained by it ever single time. This is truly one of Tommy Lee Jones’ great films but doesn’t get enough credit or play time. If you are wanting hot action but not of the sexual kind then this film is going to be perfect for you. You even get to see Los Angeles almost burn to the ground and see a building blown up. No cheesy SyFy filmduggery is going on in this film, its raw action and destruction of epic proportions right in your face. It is a race against time to save millions of people and it all depends on just 2 people to see that it gets done and gets done before time runs out.
Mike Roark (Tommy Lee Jones) is supposed to be on a vacation with his daughter Kelly Roark (Gaby Hoffmann) who doesn’t even seem to want to be there. Just like every kid of the 90’s she is bored with everything and is damned well going to make sure that you know it. It is also true of almost every broken home that the child is going to be a class A brat. So here is Mike trying to fix breakfast and everything seems to go wrong, the eggs are runny, they fall on the floor, the kid could care less and says she doesn’t eat in the mornings. Just as he is about to say something about the sneer to the corn flakes he is interrupted by an earthquake. Its the perfect end to the perfect morning with his daughter. It also gives him an excuse to get away.
The tempo of the danger just keeps building in this film and it starts early on. At one point in the film Roark says, “…starting to miss the Mississippi” and his assistant Emmit Reese (Don Cheadle) replied with; “Muds, floods, bugs” right before Kelly’s mother calls to berate him. The point being that dealing with all those unpleasantries would have been easy to handle then what was facing him at the moment and that was even before the volcano erupted. Traffic accidents, ash, exploding public works tunnels and even a lake boiling over. It is all this and more that Mike and Dr. Amy Barnes (Anne Heche) a geologist from SIG have to deal with as they try to figure out what is going on under their feet.
On the other hand you have a very unlikely couple, a developer Norman Calder (John Corbett) that can’t see past his image and wallet who is married to a doctor, Jaye Calder (Jacqueline Kim) who is compassionate and cares for all her patients. You get to see just how unbalanced the relationship is as she tries to save lives and all the jerk of a developer can think of is that there are germs and undesirables all over. He feels that she shouldn’t be anywhere near them, even when there is a disaster. It is poetic justice that it is his building that is used to save the city from complete destruction. Too bad we don’t know if he was in the building or not when it fell because I don’t think his marriage was going to last much longer.
As I said, the characters and situations are believable, maybe except for the building coming down. It is very easy to be able to connect with each one of them and you root for them all the way through. No hidden love stories just live as it happens during a disaster. This is one film that you will want to keep on your shelf so that you can enjoy it for years to come. It is one of the better earth gone crazy films that are out there.
I give this film a Musing review of