MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3 1/2

Content: -2

Los Angeles has had its share of disasters over the years mudslides, brush fires and especially earthquakes. But as the title of this disaster flick makes abundantly clear, another powerful force of nature never before seen in the City of Angels is about to be unleashed. The problems begin innocently enough, at least by L.A. standards, with another earthquake. But then six city workers are burned to death by a mysterious heat source while working underground. Mike Roark (Tommy Lee Jones), head of the Office of Emergency Management and a divorced father, is supposed to be vacationing with teenage daughter Kelly (Gaby Hoffman). He can't resist investigating this incident, however, and calls in seismologist Amy Barnes (Anne Heche) to try and explain this heat source. It isn't long before they get some disastrous answers, as a volcanic eruption appears out of the La Brea Tar Pits, spewing out lava and ash. The special effects are very convincing, as viewers will believe that a river of molten rock is flowing down Wilshire Boulevard, consuming everything in its path. The script offers enough human drama without being too emotionally overwrought, concentrating mostly on efforts to control the volcano's effects. Although it finished second in the race to get into the theaters behind Dante's Peak, this film is the more accomplished and entertaining of the pair. When this Volcano blows its top, it triggers a thrilling adventure.

The intrusion of a volcano in America's second largest city causes considerable devastation. The initial eruption spews out "lava bombs" chunks of heated rock that fall on buildings and cars. Lava then flows out of the volcano, touching off destructive fires. Many people are killed during this disaster, and although most deaths are only suggested there are severe incidents. A female scientist is killed by an unexpected venting of superheated air, and a man is unable to escape flowing lava and is consumed, but these scene are not unnecessarily gory or gratuitous. Unfortunately, this dangerous event inspires a considerable amount of offensive language. The s-word is used 23 times, along with over two dozen crudities and 10 regular profanities. Although most viewers will be expecting the destructive violence, the eruption of foul language is Volcano's true disaster.

Preview Reviewer: Mark Perry
20th Century Fox Film Corp., 10201 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (27) times Mild 21, Moderate 6

Obscene Language: Many (23) times (s-word 23)

Profanity: Profanity: Many (25) times Regular 10 (G-d 3, J 3, G 2, JC 1, for C sake 1)

Violence: Violence: Many times Moderate and Severe (people consumed by fiery eruptions and lava flows, falling 'lava bombs' strike vehicles, buildings and people, man's face severely burned, car accidents, multiple explosions and fires, people in flames)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Few times (smoking)

Other: Character sincerely prays 'Hail Mary' during dangerous situation

Running Time: 102 minutes
Intended Audience: Age 12 and above

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