Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Skyfire Movie Poster Image
Some peril, violence in volcano eruption disaster movie.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 93 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

No positive messages in bombastic disaster movie.

Positive Role Models

Strong female lead. Otherwise, characters are too much like stock characters seen in all blockbuster epic disaster movies.


An active volcano erupts, trapping 50,000 people, killing many. In the movie's prologue, a little girl watches in horror as a volcano erupts and takes the life of her mother. Characters killed by volcanic rock falling from the sky. Death by electrocution. Intense peril as a young girl cries for her mother, and a man rescues her while seeing that her mother has died. Car crashes and flips. Characters try to outdrive torrential lava rolling down a mountain. Helicopter crash. Near-death on a monorail.


Brief kissing.


"S--t" used once. Also: "damn."


Skechers logo painted on side of a building.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Champagne drinking. After witnessing his theme park and hotel get destroyed by a volcano, one of the lead characters pours himself a strong glass of whiskey on the rocks.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Skyfire is a 2019 Chinese action movie in which a volcano erupts and wreaks havoc on an island on the verge of becoming a luxury resort. Expect lots of disaster-movie violence as volcanic rock strikes and kills some of the people running for their lives, with ash and lava also a recurring threat. Some emotional peril -- in the movie's prologue, a young girl witnesses her mother getting struck by a volcanic rock during an eruption before she’s overtaken by a massive ash storm as her husband watches in horror. Later in the movie, a little girl cries for her missing mother after another eruption has rained down on the island; a man rescues her and sees her mother dead nearby. Besides the death by volcano, there's also electrocution death, a helicopter crash, and peril with trucks and monorails. After watching as his luxury resort and hotel burns from the volcano's wrath, the owner pours himself a strong drink of what looks like whiskey on the rocks. Champagne drinking. Infrequent profanity, including "s--t." In English, Chinese, and Mandarin, with English subtitles.

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What's the story?

In SKYFIRE, 20 years ago, Xiaomeng lost her mother to an eruption of the Tianhuo volcano as both her parents were there working as volcanologists. Now a volcanologist herself, Xiaomeng works on the island and helps to develop a computer system that can predict volcanic disturbances and therefore save lives by alerting people to danger before the eruption. They work for an international real estate tycoon named Jack Harris, who's turning the island into a luxury hotel and resort with high-end stores, monorails, and an enclosed viewing pad that can descend into the presumed dormant volcano. However, Xiaomeng's estranged father, Li, has returned to warn Xiaomeng and everyone else that a disaster is in the making. Soon, Li's warning proves true, and Tianhuo has erupted again, threatening the lives of the 50,000 people now stranded on the island. Now, Li and Xiaomeng must set aside the traumas and differences of the past and work together to ensure that those trying to escape the island will survive. 

Is it any good?

Once again, a disaster movie shows us the folly and vanity of mankind in the face of a cruel and indifferent planet. This time, it's Skyfire, and the natural disaster is a volcano. While there are some moments of unintentional amusement -- for instance, an underwater wedding proposal that doesn't exactly go as the aspiring groom had planned, a monorail rescue scene in which characters are literally thrown from one monorail to the next before one of the monorails crashes to the ashen earth -- this Chinese disaster movie adheres to the tried-and-true Michael Bay formula of bombastic everything and absurdly over-the-top dialogue from larger-than-life heroes. There are also too many stock character types and disaster movie tropes to catalog in this short space, but it's enough to know that this lengthy list goes far in making this movie almost impressive in how much they used from so many other movies.

It would all be fine if everything that has been seen in so many movies before was somehow converted into an original movie, but this isn't the case. One could say that it's a victory that the movie doesn't end with the military stopping the volcano by bombing it to death, but it doesn't really change how uninspired this tale of surviving CGI volcanic ash, lava, and rock really is. If you're a fan of disaster movies and want them to be just like all of the ones you have seen before, Skyfire should prove enjoyable. For anyone hoping for more, it's a disappointment. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Skyfire is a "disaster movie." What elements do all disaster movies share? How does this compare to other disaster movies you've seen?

  • Why do you think there's such an appeal to movies in which characters must survive natural disasters?

  • Did you learn anything new about volcanoes? How could you learn more?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action and thrills

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