Volcano

1997

Volcano

Critics Consensus

Volcano's prodigious pyrotechnics and Tommy Lee Jones' crotchety sneers at lava aren't quite enough to save this routine disaster film.

50%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 46

31%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 180,548
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Movie Info

Disaster visits jaded L.A. in the form of an underground volcano, not the big earthquake all the citizens expect. Shot on the largest set ever constructed in the U.S., in nearby Torrance, California, Volcano is a big-budget, special-effects-laden disaster movie with a standard plot. Tommy Lee Jones plays Mike Roark, a by-the-book emergency management director who is spending the weekend with his daughter, Kelly (Gaby Hoffmann), when the previously-unknown volcano blows. Sassy, brainy scientist Dr. Amy Barnes (Ann Heche) is the first to warn of the threat, which begins by sucking one of her co-workers into a steaming fissure. As the lava starts to spurt in red-hot fireballs, Kelly is injured, and Mike sends her to the hospital in order to attend to his duties, rescue citizens, and run the city's emergency response. Eventually, Roark and Barnes team up to battle the eruption while sparks of romantic attraction fly. ~ Michael Betzold, Rovi

Cast

Tommy Lee Jones
as Mike Roark
Anne Heche
as Dr. Amy Barnes
Don Cheadle
as Emmit Reese
Jacqueline Kim
as Dr. Jaye Calder
Keith David
as Lt. Ed Fox
John Corbett
as Norman Calder
Michael Rispoli
as Gator Harris
Bert Kramer
as Fire Chief
Bo Eason
as Bud McVie
James MacDonald
as Terry Jasper
Dayton Callie
as Roger Lapher
Gaby Hoffmann
as Kelly Roark
Michael Cutt
as Armstrong
Kevin Bourland
as Bob Davis
Valente Rodriguez
as Train Driver
Sheila Howard
as Panicked Woman/Nanny
Gerry Black
as Train Passenger
Lou Myers
as Pastor Lake
Angela Albarez
as Lydia Perez
Richard Penn
as Middle Aged Man
Jennifer Bill
as Nurse Fran
Mickey Cottrell
as Councilman Gates
M. Darnell Suttles
as Chief Sindelar
Ken Kerman
as Museum Guard
Brad Parker
as Ken Woods
Pete Kasper
as Kenny Lopez
Brian Markinson
as OEM Staffer No. 1
Robert Wisdom
as OEM Staffer No. 2
Katie Rich
as OEM Staffer No. 3
Ceal Coleman
as OEM Staffer No. 4
Phil Nee
as OEM Staffer No. 5
Carlos Cervantes
as OEM Staffer No. 6
George Zaver
as OEM Staffer No. 7
Marty Levy
as OEM Staffer No. 8
Wayne Grace
as OEM Staffer No. 9
Mother Love
as Traffic Cop
Kayli DeGregorio
as 5-Year-Old Chuckie
Kelsi DeGregorio
as 5-Year-Old Chuckie
Steven Mainz
as K-Rail Driver
Josie Dapar
as Survivor No. 1
Joy Baggish
as Survivor No. 2
Ron Perkins
as Fire Chief
Catherine Schreiber
as Displeased Protestor
David Pressman
as Second Protestor
Danny Comden
as Ascending Cop
Michael McGrady
as Policeman
Michole Briana White
as ER Nurse No. 1
Steve MacLaughlin
as Construction Supervisor
Howard DuVall
as Engineer No. 1
Sam Alejan
as Engineer No. 2
Gary Kent James
as Engineer No. 3
Robert Tittor
as Engineer No. 4
John Perry Edson Jr.
as Engineer No. 5
David T. Mabowe
as Engineer No. 6
Ken Thomas
as Engineer No. 7
Eddie J. Low
as Engineer No. 8
Georganna Barry
as Java Lady
Tom Crabson
as Passenger on Train
Rick Rogers
as Sgt. Riley
Terry Anzur
as Media Person
Kerry Kilbride
as Media Person
Harvey Levin
as Himself
Chris Myers
as Himself
Angie Crouch
as Herself
Sasha Foo
as Herself
Rick Garcia
as Himself
Peter Trunk
as Himself
Penny Griego
as Herself
Pat LaLama
as Media Person
Bruce Orchid
as Himself
Paula Bond
as Herself
Sandra Clark
as Herself
Rich Goldner
as Himself
Leo Quinones
as Himself
Luann Lee
as Herself
Al Naipo
as Himself
Warren Olney
as Himself
Andrea Wynn
as Herself
D. Lucey
as Herself - The Media
Richard Saxton
as Himself - The Media
Jane Wells
as Herself - The Media
Chris McWatt
as Himself - The Media
Jillian Warry
as Herself - The Media
Jean Martirez
as Herself - The Media
Jane Velez-Mitchell
as Herself - The Media
Jere Laird
as Himself - The Media
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Critic Reviews for Volcano

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (23)

  • Volcano, busily and cheerfully hysterical, always has some new fish to fry, new truck to melt, new skyscraper to tumble or new manhole to pop with a radiant gusher of movie magma.

    Feb 27, 2018 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Newsweek
    Top Critic
  • Never generates a head of true excitement, partly because the characters remain constructs designed to perform defined functions, and partly due to the time-worn hokiness of the whole disaster-film format.

    Mar 26, 2009

    Todd McCarthy

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Jones and Heche work hard to dig up an emotional rapport from next to nothing, while the slow but inexorable progress of the lava makes for more suspense than the usual slam bang firework display.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The coast may be toast, but it's the lava, covering everything like a malevolent tide of melted butter, that makes this a disaster picture that's tastier than usual.

    Feb 14, 2001 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Hundreds of screen technicians obviously slaved on the effects -- and for what? A dopey subplot about a bogus arrest. Soap opera involving Jones' injured daughter.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 1.5/4

    Mike Clark

    USA Today
    Top Critic
  • Like the substantially better Twister, this film insists on a thunderous, exhausting pace that inevitably becomes deflating.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/4

Audience Reviews for Volcano

  • Jun 10, 2015
    Exciting and action-packed, Volcano is an explosive disaster film. When the La Brea Tar Pits erupt into an active volcano, the police and fire departments fight a desperate battle to contain it before it destroys Los Angeles. Featuring Tommy Lee Jones, Anne Heche, Don Cheadle, and Gaby Hoffmann, the casting is pretty decent. Also, the special effects are quite impressive, and do an incredibly job at conveying the awesome power and destructive force of the volcano. But, the script is terrible; with poorly written dialog and some preposterous action scenes. Still, there's a lot of suspense and tension to the fire fighting and rescue efforts. Though Volcano is a little silly and melodramatic at times, overall it's entertaining and kind of fun.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 14, 2012
    The second volcano disaster film released in 97 and clearly a different tone, didn't do as well as 'Dante's Peak' and its easy to see why. First off the plot, like most all disaster films, is completely identical to that other volcano film. This film kicks off almost straight away with the action and pending volcano but overall its all the same. Simply replace Brosnan with Jones and the fact no one believes him until it just darn too late. From there on the film becomes a ludicrously silly action/thriller which really should be titled 'Lava' as that's all its about, you only see the small volcano for a few shots. You can look at this film as more of a blockbuster 'arcade' type as its not very realistic and overly flashy. Sure its got everything you would expect in a disaster film including the heroic sacrifice, obligatory dog, a few people being melted away in lava (had to have that!) but it also has so much cheese. The forced racism sub plot between a white cop and black youth who at the end make up and help each other seemingly vanquishing the hatred? OK its a good sentiment but holy crap its lame. The film progresses ever predictably towards its ever so obvious happy ending as downtown LA melts n bubbles away. You just move from one catastrophic setup to the next, some with your typical heroic bookend and some with your typical emotional bookend. The effects are pretty good in places yes, gotta give the film that, the lava does look pretty hot and you do get a good sense of sweltering sheer heat from the action. The final finale is an utter ridiculous joke that simply doesn't help the film a tall. The way they solve the problem in the time they have is just plain comicbook stuff, add to that the over the top end sequence for Jones which is laughable. Luckily the solid Tommy Lee saves the film from utter B-movie obscurity with his craggy features. Nowhere near as good as 'Dante's Peak' and nowhere near as accurate with the facts. Not a total problem as we know off the bat this ain't no serious flick. Unfortunately you can't help but compare it to the superior earlier volcano flick which ticks all the right boxes including realism and thrills. End of the day this just feels like some Hollywood suit thought how cool it would be to see how much destruction and mayhem there would be if you moved a volcano from way out in the wilderness to a major city. Yeah we can cause lots of shit to blow up and melt in a city!.
    Phil H Super Reviewer
  • Apr 01, 2012
    Volcano is a cheesy disaster movie with some decent acting from Tommy Lee Jones and some memorable moments, but is so filled with cliches that is just simply a bad film.
    Bradley W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 27, 2011
    Volcano is a decent disaster film with a good cast. Continuing the trend of epic disaster films, Volcano though engaging and somewhat entertaining and fun. However the film could have been much better than this and the film relies on clichés from the genre to establish its story. Volcano is entertaining, and is a decent disaster film; however it fails to do anything new or exciting with the genre. I mean the film is basically Dante's Peak in Los Angeles. There's a good cast here, and they manage to keep Volcano from being a total dud. I enjoyed the film, but the film could have been much better and the film does lack a bit, and leaves a lot to be improved on. Volcano can be viewed as a popcorn flick and nothing more. There's enough thrills here to be entertained, but the film could have been done much better. There are some cool special effects, but the film does lack in substance and effective story buildup. Some disaster films work well, but other scrape by, and this is one that almost becomes a dud. However there are enough good elements to make the film watchable and it's a decent action/disaster film for what it is. However if you want the better volcano disaster film, watch Dante's Peak instead. Volcano is a decent, entertaining film, but it could have been a much better film as well. I think that the plot was good, but needed to be a bit more developed; luckily the cast saves it from a total mess. A decent film to watch, but nothing ever great.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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