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File:Reign of fire 9813.png

 Quinn: Anything happens, you know what to do.

Creedy: Eh, no, I have no idea.

Quinn: Me neither.


In 2008, 12 year old Quinn Abercromby, stumbles upon a sleeping dragon recently unearthed at a construction site in London. Said dragon then awakens, and proceeds to decimate the construction site and kill everyone present, except for young Quinn. Before long more dragons hatch and proceed to multiply across the face of the Earth at an exponential rate, burning human civilization as they go. Paris is burnt to the ground, attacks in Kenya kill dozens of people, until the humans just decide to nuke the dragons out of existence. Unfortunately, this backfires, and rather than killing the dragons it ends up wiping out human civilization as we know it.

Years later, Quinn (Christian Bale) is the leader of a small band of surviving humans living in an English castle. The people hope to survive by keeping their heads down until the dragons run out of food, and starve themselves to death, as fossil evidence in Antarctica suggests they had before. Unfortunately a dragon follows some of the people back to the village and burns their crops. Days later, a band of professional dragon hunters, led by Denton Van Zan and Alex Jensen, come to the village. After killing the dragon that burned the crops, Van Zan reveals that all of the dragons seen in the world are female, and there is only one male, who fertilizes the females' eggs like a salmon. If this dragon can be slain, the dragons will be unable to reproduce.

Tropes used in Reign of Fire include:

  • Action Duo: Quinn is the Action Survivor, Van Zan the Action Hero. This puts them at loggerheads for much of the film.
  • Action Girl: She's not that over the top an example, but in the final confrontation Alex is no less competent than Van Zan or Quinn.
  • After the End
  • All There in the Manual: Quinn's last name.
  • An Axe to Grind: Van Zan's hideous looking axe that he uses to finish off the dragons they shoot down.
  • Anti-Hero: Van Zan. Depending on how you look at it Quinn might count as a Type 1 for much of the film.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 2 (fall of civilization) with the possibility of it growing into a Class 3 apocalypse (human extinction) if the dragons outlast the humans. The survivors begin to rebuild after the dragons are defeated, bringing it closer to a Class 1 event. Shades of Class 4, due to the humans' and dragons' mutual success in devastating the biosphere.
  • Apocalyptic Log: As the introducing voice over explains what happened after the first dragon awakens, we see a newspaper montage covering different stages of the dragon apocalypse, from the first scientific articles to the war itself. A nib pen, presumably Quinn's, scratches out a message to his adopted son.
  • Awesome but Impractical: The entire "skydiving with a metal net to make a dragon fall to its death" tactic the Americans use. Talk about going around the world to get across the street.
    • The Chieftain tank — its BFG is good for intimidating settlements, not so for blowing up flying creatures.
  • Badass: Van Zan.
    • Badass Boast: "There's nothing magical about them; they're flesh and blood. You remove the heart, you bring down the beast!"
  • Bald of Awesome: Van Zan and Gideon.
  • Bald Black Leader Guy: Gideon, the lead Archangel. Unusually for this trope, he has a sense of humour.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. Alex and the other girls get every bit as beaten up as the boys.
  • Big Bad: The Male Dragon.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Being The Hero sucks. Just ask Quinn about it. He's responsible for an entire community, has to make hugely unpopular decisions for the good of everyone, and honestly has no real clue what he's doing. The reason he's in charge? Because someone has to be and everyone agrees he is. No wonder he's training Jared to take over.
  • Converging Stream Weapon: The dragons shoot two streams of chemicals which collide in mid-air and ignite.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: The male dragon wipes out Van Zan's convoy in a single pass.
  • Death From Above: Dragons to people, Archangels to dragons.
  • Defiant to the End: Van Zan. "Come on big boy!"
  • Doing in the Wizard: How the dragons make fire, via a reaction of two chemicals similar to a bombardier beetle.
  • Dug Too Deep: How the Dragons were awakened.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: He may not inflict any damage, but the way Van Zan goes out is still awesomely Badass.
  • Elemental Baggage: Averted. The film explains how the dragons create the fire: two glands produce "natural napalm," which ignites upon contact with the air.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Christian Bale, Gerard Butler, Matthew McConaughey...they could've called this "Hunks vs Dragons: The Movie", with emphasis more on the hunks than the dragons.
  • Eye Scream: A mild case - Quinn gets a faceful of the dragon's fire fuel when he first discovers them, which makes his eyes turn blood red.
  • Expanded Universe: The video game of the movie shows juvenile dragons, who are ground-dwelling creatures looking rather like dinosaurs.
  • Feed It a Bomb: How the male dragon is killed: shooting explosive-wrapped crossbow bolt into its wide open mouth.
  • Final Boss: The male dragon, whose defeat spells the end of the entire species.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Van Zan. Quinn can look this way to certain members of his community. As Creedy puts it "I'm your best friend. And some days, even I don't like you."
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: According to Alexander Siddig, his more famous co-actors where rather miffed that the Irish children on the set recognised him as Julian Bashir from Deep Space Nine and not them.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Van Zan is heading there at a rapid pace. To quote Alex after his fight with Quinn: "He would have killed you. He doesn't feel things. It's the only way he can do what he does."
  • The Hero: Quinn to the castle community and the film.
  • Hero-Killer: The big male, who is the original dragon and responsible for the death of Quinn's mother. When Van Zan tells Quinn about him, Quinn is visibly scared, and even Van Zan (the man who will take on a dragon with a chopper and a harpoon gun) wants a small army with him when he goes hunting for it. It even has the reputation you'd expect: Quinn relates an incident wherein a group from Pembery went to London and disturbed him, resulting in 90 deaths and the destruction of the castle. The male subsequently goes on to wipe out Van Zan's army, burn the castle down, killing AJ and Creedy in the process, cannibalise several of his own and kill Van Zan. On top of all that, his vast size makes him the only dragon that's easily distinguishable and recognisable.
  • Keystone Army: There is only one male dragon. Kill him and the entire species dies out.
  • Killed Off for Real: Eddie, Barlow, AJ, Creedy, Van Zan
  • The Lancer: Creedy to Quinn.
  • Large and In Charge: The big male is at least three or four times the size of the females, possibly far more.
  • Love Interest: Alex is very quietly the Love Interest to Quinn.
  • Meaningful Echo: Early on Van Zan demands to speak to the person in charge. Everyone turns to Quinn. "Well, that'd be you then." The line isn't said again, but a constant theme of the movie is the community's dependence on Quinn as the leader. At the end, Jared rides up to inform Quinn that they have a message from France, and that "They want to speak to the person in charge." Quinn by this point can safely look at his protege and say, "Well, that'd be you then."
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The poster showed dragons attacking London, and coming in contact with the human military, implying that it's an Independence Day-style invasion movie. The movie's actually set After the End.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Van Zan starts to administer one to Quinn, but they are dragged apart.
  • Not So Stoic: Van Zan is in visible pain when his comrades are killed.
  • Quick Nip: Subverted

 Quinn: Hey! This is water!

  • Our Dragons Are Different: Oh, so different. They have only four limbs, connected by a bat-like membrane of skin like a Wyvern.; they breathe fire through a chemical reaction; and there is only one male who fertilizes all the eggs of the females like a male salmon.
    • The first point was likely a Shout-Out to Dragonslayer and its villain, Vermithrax Pejorative. Also for a more realistic look for the dragons (considering that there are no and have never been vertebrates with more than four limbs), along with the napalm-like fire.
  • Parental Abandonment: Quinn, Jared, and likely most of the kids in the community have lost their parents.
  • Parental Substitute: Quinn to Jared, a boy he rescued from a destroyed town.
  • Passing the Torch: Quinn's objective with Jared, who he is training as his replacement.
  • Perma Stubble: Van Zan
  • Phlebotinum Killed the Dinosaurs: It was the dragons who killed the dinosaurs.
  • Properly Paranoid: Quinn and Creedy's concerns about Van Zan aren't too far off.
  • Reality Ensues: Yeah, Van Zan is a badass and all that, but come on people, no-one is going to survive leaping through the air from the top of a high tower, at an 80ft dragon, with nothing but an axe, when it's heading right for you.
  • Red Shirt: The skydivers know they've got a limited life expectancy.
  • Shout-Out: The re-enactment of the Star Wars scene. In the post-apocalyptic future, Star Wars has apparently become legend (and one of the few entertaining memories/stories available to members of the camp).
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Van Zan.
  • Tank Goodness: The tank Van Zan's crew has with them causes noticeable concern among Quinn and his community.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: Matthew McConaughey plays his character this way. Trivia has it, that McConaughey WRESTLED COWS to get his build for the movie.
    • Trivia also has it that, after several failed attempts at a scripted fight between Van Zan and Quinn, the two actors decided to simply beat the snot out of each other for real.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Eddie, a member of Quinn's community. First he tries to pick the crop out of season (admittedly it's because he has starving kids, but still...) attracting a dragon in the process and costing them half their crop. Later on, he joins up with Van Zan's doomed raid on London.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Van Zan.
  • Watching Troy Burn: Quinn gets to do this to the castle after the big male arrives.
  • You Will Know What to Do: Quinn to Jared.