Twitter Plot Summary: A vulcanologist tries to uncover an illegal oil drilling operation before it causes a volcanic explosion in Miami.
Five Point Summary:
1. Talking to his wife. He’s probably not going to make it.
2. Offered lots of money, his concerns are right out of the window.
3. That’s how you sack your tennis teacher.
4. CGI says he was shot 20 times, close-ups say once.
5. Terrible finale. Just terrible.
Also known as Miami Magma in some circles (which is a far more appropriate title seeing as it’s only Miami under threat), the opening minutes of World on Fire do not fill you with confidence. An opening montage of a peaceful looking Miami is overdubbed with some light hearted music sets its stall out from the start, making it abundantly clear that this is yet another of those films in the SyFy Channel’s pantheon of iffy direct to DVD quality TV movies. Those opening credits do however give you some hope about its final quality – Brad Dourif is the biggest name here by some distance, although he’s followed not too distantly by Cleavant Derricks, who I last saw rocking up the joint in Sliders in the 90s. The lead however seems to be Rachel Hunter, whose acting ability leaves a lot to be desired. Suffice to say, the majority of her credits are for straight to TV tosh, so that should be a clear indication as to her ability. Not that I’m really in a position to judge, but she should have stuck with modelling.
Dourif displays his typical level of excellence, although is horribly underused – when it comes to TV movies we should be used to this by now, the big name star shows up for a few days filming and then is heading off to make something with a budget and a purpose. Well, usually. Next up is Cleavant Derricks, who is reliable but hampered by a script that doesn’t so much as leave every character as wafer thin as an After Eight mint, but is woefully inadequate that literally any character could be replaced at any time and it wouldn’t make any difference to the quality of the film.
To say there isn’t much logic to the plot would be an understatement, where a vulcanologist and her sister try and uncover an illegal oil mining operation a sudden change of heart from one character comes from nowhere, and then apparently he was the big bad pulling all the strings from the start. Clearly this wasn’t the case in the opening act, so other than the fact there’s a massive amount of lava heading towards Miami, the rest of this part of the story makes little sense. Furthermore, the final act and their resolution to prevent Miami being destroyed is, quite frankly, ludicrous. The army have a presence but they’re as neutered as the rest of the characters, ineffectual and prone to making unrealistic decisions. At least in this respect they’re consistent with the rest of the film.
It wouldn’t be a TV movie without some equally bad situations to pad out the running time, and World on Fire delivers on that front. From random lava flows to cracks opening up on tennis courts, there are events that will make you laugh more than fear for the lives of the characters going through these events. If nothing else these moments do at least provide a modicum of entertainment, but overall it’s a confused and less than impressive mess.