Plot: Antoinette (Rachel Hunter) is an expert on all things volcanic, as she is a respected professor and her research has garnered her quite a reputation. She more or less helped map out all of the underground magma flows and pockets, which most of Miami’s locals are wholly unaware of. On a field trip with one of her classes, Antoinette notices some odd things happening and begins to think the magma flows have somehow changed, or been disrupted. As she looks for answers, the truth lies in a drilling operation that has set up illegal drill sites all across the area. Can Antoinette put the pieces together in time to prevent a volcanic disaster that could engulf Miami, or have the actions of the drilling company already sealed the city’s fate?
Entertainment Value: I had to see this one, a movie where Rachel Hunter battles an evil corporation and volcanic eruptions threaten Miami. The movie is of course SyFy Channel style cheese, with all the elements you’d expect from stunt casting to ridiculous CGI to wooden performances. So if you’re familiar with the genre, you likely know about what to expect, though to be honest, Miami Magma doesn’t go as bananas as some of its peers, which could be good or bad. As I’m sure frequent readers know all too well, I love a wild and outlandish approach with these kind of b movies, so the restraint isn’t an element I love in this case. If the narrative can support a toned down method, that’s fine, but I think Miami Magma could use a goose of chaos. When the movie lets loose, it has some fun moments however, such as Hunter’s humorous performance and a scene where hell seems to open up right in the middle of a tennis match. There is also the usual awkward dialogue and hilarious special effects, so the movie has some entertainment value, but could have been so much crazier.
One of the signature traits of these SyFy style b movies is interesting casting and in that regard, Miami Magma delivers. Rachel Hunter is an unexpected pick for a lead in a disaster movie in general, but seeing her battle the evil drilling companies and the power of volcanoes is next level. Her performance is one of the movie’s main draws and while she doesn’t go for broke in the role, she is fun to watch and sometimes embraces the silliness of the material. I think the turn works best when she dials it up, but just seeing Rachel Hunter in a movie about volcanic eruptions in Miami is wild, which I’m sure is part of why she’s here. Brad Dourif has a small role that is fun while it lasts, but I wish he had a more prominent presence. The cast also includes Bryan Massey, Miles Doleac, and Cleavant Derricks.
The Disc: Miami Magma hits DVD from Mill Creek Entertainment in a solid looking visual presentation, in widescreen with a clean, sharp look. I couldn’t find much to be worried about, as far as DVDs go, the movie looks quite good. This is part of Mill Creek’s Apocalypse: 4 in 1 Collection, which also houses three other disaster style b movies in the same vein.