Reviewed by Michael Rucki
Rating: 3.5 Beans
nne Heche and Tommy Lee Jones star in another of Hollywood's Mankind vs. Nature flicks. "Volcano" explodes onto the screen with impressive special effects. Then the storyline, much like the lava, fizzles out. Don't get me wrong, this movie is a sight to behold on a big enough screen, and the action is well-paced. Just don't expect more than that.
One of the problems with disaster flicks is that there's no antagonist, no one to root against. It's just Mother Nature doing what comes, well, naturally. The fact that Mankind will somehow triumph is never in doubt. And you know some of the characters will live and some will die... it's just a matter of waiting until the end to find out who. Unfortunately in "Volcano" the people aren't all that interesting, so you end up rooting FOR the lava.
"Volcano" is at its best when the effects are in full force. When it gets preachy, watch out -- there's a good chance that YOU may be the one spewing. There are some entertaining one-liners, courtesy of Anne Heche as the doom-predicting seismologist and Don Cheadle as the ambitious second-in-command at the city's Emergency Management command post. I'd guess that most of John Corbett's ("Northern Exposure") scenes have been cut, because his remaining screen time is irrelevant and annoying. Tommy Lee Jones plays exactly the same gruff, likeable guy he always does.
The action and effects are constantly in your face, and there's very little time to notice the film's shortcomings. But it's one of those movies that, once your heart rate settles down, you realize there's just not much to it.
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