In the mid to late 1990’s, the thing to do in Hollywood was to bring back the lost art of Disaster Movies that people loved from the 70’s (Airport, The Towering Inferno, Poseidon Adventure, etc.). In 1997, 20TH Century Fox released the film Volcano which starred Tommy Lee Jones (No Country For Old Men) as Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management (LAC OEM) boss Mike Roark. Everything seems normal in Los Angeles except for the fact that people are outraged at a new subway line going in. That is until a couple of workers end up dying from severe burns. While Mike starts to investigate what happened, a volcano begins to erupt underneath Los Angeles and now Mike has to figure out how to save the city before it’s too late. The film also stars Anne Heche (Donnie Brasco) as Dr. Amy Barnes, Gaby Hoffmann (Uncle Buck) as Kelly Roark, Don Cheadle (Iron Man 2) as Emmit Reese, Jacqueline Kim (Brokedown Palace) as Dr. Jaye Calder, Keith David (Men At Work) as Police LT. Ed Fox, John Corbett (My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2) as Norman Calder, Michael Rispoli (Pain & Gain) as Gator Harris, John Carroll Lynch (Ted 2) as Stan Olber, and the film was directed by Mick Jackson (The Bodyguard).
First of all, I want to start off by saying that Tommy Lee Jones is an amazing actor who commands the screen no matter what role he is playing. Second of all, this is a disaster film after all which means that the special effects are going to be off the chains for these kinds of films and it was. The explosions were cool and the lava running through the city was cool. How far fetched or possible is a volcano under Los Angeles, I am not 100% sure as to how accurate that would be. With the fault lines and all the subway systems they have, it would be a scary notion if it could happen. To spice things up for the film, they trow in some racial tension because we know that was running rampant in LA at the time. You have a guy looking out for his section of town, gets the handcuffs put on him until the cop decides not to be racist anymore. Then you have a little kid who is being carried by a black police officer who looks out and says, “look at their faces, they all look the same.” A nice gesture saying that we are all human and that we should all help each other, but a sentimental part I seriously could have done without. The movie is about Volcano’s, not Rodney King or Rampart. Nevertheless, you know exactly what you are getting with these films and it’s enjoyable enough to watch. That is why I am going to give the film an B for a final grade.