This unexceptional made-for-TV effort was clearly intended as a low-budget knockoff of the two spring 1997 releases, DANTE'S PEAK and VOLCANO, which were supposed to resurrect the late, unlamented disaster-movie genre.
The California ski resort of Angel Lakes is enjoying its best tourist season in years, making the mayor (Don Davis) and a businessman, Corbin (John Novak), eager to unleash development. The police chief (Brian Kerwin) and his sister, Kelly (Cynthia Gibb), of the Mountain Patrol are concerned about
dead animals felled by carbon dioxide leaks and two missing skiers, who've fallen into a fissure created by seismic activity on the mountain named Angel Peak.
State geologist Peter Slater (Dan Cortese) is monitoring the seismic situation from afar. After failing to convince his boss that an eruption is imminent, he returns to his native Angel Lakes in time to save his bitter ex-girlfriend, Kelly, from being asphyxiated by gas from the mountain. They
warn the mayor, who does nothing. Angel Peak erupts, trapping tourists and townspeople. This scuttles Corbin's attempt to land a big investor; in his home, Corbin's alienated wife is seriously injured and eventually rescued by Peter and Kelly. The police chief's pregnant wife, Beth (Kendall
Cross), caught in a rock slide, gives birth with the aid of Corbin's son, Jason (Micah Gardener), who has left his mother to find help. Everyone has taken shelter in the ski lodge when the major eruption occurs. With the lodge directly in the lava's path, the cowardly Corbin tries to escape and is
killed. Peter and Kelly must act fast: using dynamite, they set off an avalanche of snow that successfully blocks the lava. They ski to safety in front of the avalanche and their romance is rekindled.
The predictability of VOLCANO: FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN's story line is accentuated by gaping holes, such as the sudden birth of a healthy child (which happens off-screen, presumably during a commercial break) in a remote visitor's center. That said, the avalanche climax is a nifty solution and within
the realm of possibility. The script is no more or less pedestrian than is the standard for the disaster genre, with its share of clinkers. ("Angel's gonna blow," "Something bad is coming and God help us if we don't get out of its way!") The special effects are adequate, but the opening scene
registers as the low point, since tremors accompanying the volcanic activity clearly have been generated by shaking the camera. Most of the destruction is photographed using medium shots with a liberal use of models; what little lava is shown looks real enough. The direction by Graeme Campbell is
efficient, with the film containing the requisite number of fearful reaction-shots. (Violence.)
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- Released: 1997
- Rating: PG
- Review: This unexceptional made-for-TV effort was clearly intended as a low-budget knockoff of the two spring 1997 releases, DANTE'S PEAK and VOLCANO, which were supposed to resurrect the late, unlamented disaster-movie genre. The California ski resort of Angel L… (more)