Time: 90 mins.
In the duel of volcano movies, VOLCANO wins by a slim margin. Mainly becuase it doesn't make its lead actors look completely silly and pathetic by putting horribly trite and stupid things to say in their mouths. However, it almost lost because it, yet again, destroys Los Angeles, which I know is the modern Sodom and Gomorra to many people, but as a resident of that city is getting a little tiresome. I don't have much to say to recommend or dissuade viewers from watching this film. It didn't really leave me with an opinion one way or the other. It wasn't so stupid as to make it unwatchable, but it wasn't all that exciting either. The effects were good (but not spectacular), if a little silly. Lava oozing down Wilshire Boulevard. An eruption under the Beverly Center. Please. It's very hard to take this kind of thing seriously (especially when you've been through real disasters), but the movie does and that at least keeps it from being completely campy.
Tommy Lee Jones plays the head of the Office of Emergency Management who's supposed to be taking a vacation to spend time with his visiting 13-year-old daughter, but gets pulled into the action after an accident in the sewers. He cares so much for the city and its residents he's going to do everything in his power to save it. Anne Heche plays the geologist who reaizes that this is no normal eartquake activity, but a major geological event. They team together to rescue the city from absolute destruction. Both intelligent and likeable they actually give some weight to this ridiculous story. Which is gravely needed since there really isn't much of a plot. City explodes, people are injured, heroes come to the rescue, father saves daughter, blacks and whites learn to get along, yada, yada, yada.
Since all of the action takes place within 48 hours there's really no time to get the know the characters or get involved in their lives. You're just supposed to care for them because of who they represent, which I guess you can get away with if the effects and dangers are real enough. VOLCANO just squeaks by but it's better than DANTE'S PEAK. If you have absolutely nothing else to do (are bedridden and just too tired to turn the channel) this isn't the worst thing to watch, but it should be the best option.