This one features three former TV stars: Nicholas Brendan of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," Robert Beltran of "Star Trek: Voyager," and Randolph Mantooth from "Emergency!" All three are pretty much just sleepwalking through their roles, although I can't blame 'em - their roles are so undemanding that any effort just wouldn't be worth it.
The story (mysteriously credited as being "created by William Shatner," although he isn't listed as being involved in any other capacity, while the script itself comes from the writing team of Garfield and Judith Reeve-Stevens) involves solar flares that have come to life as fire-demon-thingies which sometimes materialize as sentient bits of flying ash (!) and other times turn into gigantic fire-dragon-whatevers (!!) that reach out and swallow people. Oh, and sometimes, instead of burning you, the fire will possess you, or something; your eyes turn all fire-y and you become what I suppose is a fire serpent zombie.
Beltran is the government stooge who thinks the solar flare monsters are Biblical beasts that can give him unlimited power; Mantooth is an ex-firefighter who's spent his life chasing the creatures; Brendan is the everyman firefighter caught up in the middle of the action. The script tosses us a nosy journalist (Lisa Langlois), although her storyline goes nowhere fast, and there's a cop (Sandrine Holt) whose job is to stand around and complain about the government cover-ups.
For such an undemanding premise, the screenplay goes out of its way to overly complicate everything. Instead of a simple fire monster yarn, we get a gnarled mess involving government cover-ups and Biblical prophecies. When Brendan's character is being chased by a sinister hitman, we have to wonder how, exactly, everything went so far off the track to lead us here.
Not that we'd be any happier soaking in the monster angle. "Fire Serpent" is a wretched sci-fi/horror mess, with laughable CGI effects, an empty plot, and zero suspense. (In other words, it's your run-of-the-mill Sci-Fi Channel production. Zing!) It's the kind of B picture that fails not because it's cheap, but because it's terminally dull.
Video & Audio
Presented in its original 1.78:1 widescreen format with anamorphic enhancement, "Fire Serpent" looks about as good as a modern Sci-Fi Channel movie can. The transfer is crisp and clean, so you can see every flaw in the crummy effects shots. The soundtrack is passable in both Dolby surround and stereo. Optional English and Spanish subtitles are provided.
Just a handful of trailers for other Lionsgate releases. The same batch of previews also plays as the disc loads; you can skip past them if you choose.
Some of you may have a fondness for these cheapjack Sci-Fi Channel disasters. But even you might find your genre loyalty pushed to its limits with this mess. Skip It.